Your research and development department is highly innovative, your products are state of the art, your production processes are lean… but does all that apply to your sales processes? Are they really adapted efficiently to your customers and their increasingly digital and individual needs?
We at rpc apply our consulting expertise to assist you in the fields of CRM and marketing, sales, and service – helping you to surmount your current sales and customer requirements as well as your future ones such as digitalization and omnichannel management.
In order to increase the overall performance of your sales we combine hard operative aims and procedures (operational effectiveness) with soft, people-based approaches – customer experience. As strategists and doers we don’t just produce concepts, we also put them into practice together with you and your staff – at your headquarters and at retail outlets. The many projects we’ve performed successfully at multinational corporations, big businesses, and smaller companies are testimony to our experience.
Structures that had evolved over many years in this company’s German retail organization, consisting of several hundred retailers, had ended up in a vast jumble of sales processes, IT systems, interfaces, data sets, and methods of approaching customers. Unfortunately this lead to a lack in efficiency. Neither a centralized, clear-cut management nor an uniform brand experience existed. The result was rising costs, complexity, media disruption, a decline in customer satisfaction and a subsequent loss of profitability.
The objective was to define a consistent target image for every target group, from B2B wholesale customers all the way to individual end-consumers, with the aim of introducing standardized sales processes and supporting IT systems in German retail.
rpc supervised the harmonization of processes and IT from the strategy stage all the way to implementation. After analyzing all existing processes as well as associated systems and interfaces among every customer group, we model the processes "live" in an multidisciplinary workshop. This modulation was based on the software Signavio. This enabled us to identify potential synergies and harmonization. As a result, we were able to reduce the number of different processes and systems dramatically. We had a target picture of processes, roles, and systems to guide us. The overall result was a set of uniform processes which were more customer oriented.
Processing every single customer enquiry systematically and successfully in a lead process is difficult, especially in very busy sales environments. In case of a national retail sales organization, our task was to manage a large number of customer contacts coming every day from different sources and to forward them on to local retail organizations. The problem was that the contacts were not being rigorously captured and qualified or consistently followed up.This lead to low conversion rates and a high workload on sales consultants in the retail organization. Customer satisfaction was below average and sales targets were not being achieved.
The objective was to establish a systematic follow-up process for customer contacts, integrating every channel in one European pilot market. By this means we aimed to improve the quality of leads (in other words, customers who contacted the headquarters should be passed on to local retailers) with the aim of significantly increasing conversion rates.
The existing lead process was analyzed by rpc in terms of factors like quantities, quality and processing times. This enabled us to evaluate and group customer enquiries sent from headquarters to local retailers. On that basis we then defined criteria and process stages in which to forward leads. Standards such as follow-ups within 24 hours were then laid down in a set of guidelines for the central customer contact center. Sales staff on location were systematically included through the customer contact center.
Independent retail operations belonging to an international, multi-stage sales organization had previously been managed on the basis of sales and turnover targets. Profitability targets were set out locally according to different stipulations, processes and requirements. This way of doing things was hindering the organization of stable, long-term sales achievements, which required centralized profitability management using a predefined set of tools.
The aim was to increase profitability at several thousand retail locations. Also, they wanted to recognize risks in the sales network at an early stage. By doing this rpc aimed to make the retail organization strong and profitable in the long term. Steering this process was to be done at an international level using financial and profitability-based targets which would be achieved by means of a defined set of improvements.
After defining a systematic financial analysis we developed a consistent universal set of standards for KPI-based financial reporting between headquarters and the retail operations. Thus includes reporting structures as well as processes. Linked to that a set-up of structures in sales companies and retail organizations in order to manage them more effectively was important. Financial and profitability targets were used and rpc develops a Business Management Toolbox which helped the retail operations to tackle weak points that had been identified as well as financial risks. After successfully launching this in Asian pilot markets, rpc supervised a roll-out in other global markets.
Consistently growing in volatile markets requires a stable, capable and future-proof retail organization which is profitable. That in turn requires a transparent, uniform financial risk management system which facilitates comparison processes. This company, however, had only ever registered its retail risks partially, locally, and without much standardization. This resulted in isolated insolvencies and sales risks to which they were unable to respond in time.
The aim was to steer risk management more centrally in order to identify risks earlier while thus strengthen sales permanently.
The risk management system set up and implemented by rpc enables the retail organization to be prepared for imminent risks at an early stage, controls them and to produce reports. This was based upon comprehensive analysis and a report on the entre risk structure in the global sales network. Furthermore, we defined central management KPIs and criteria for a risk evaluation system. All that led to a regular reporting and escalation cycle in an executive board level.
Sales channels had proliferated over the years and business areas were acting autonomously. This had given rise to a multitude of isolated customer databases, processes and activities. Rigid IT systems prevented sales channels from interacting. Whenever a customer switched between online and offline channels at the customer contact center, his or her details had to again be recorded multiply and their needs and wishes were not being passed on. The result: dissatisfied customers, declining loyalty and a loss of potential sales and profits. A lack of transparency also hindered the effective management of leads and delayed the reporting process.
The aim was to make coordination and exchange between customer touchpoints and business areas more transparent to control it centrally in order to ensure a uniform premium brand experience. Furthermore, achieving greater customer orientation by seeing the customer in a more holistic way.
rpc analyzed the potential for improvement in the processes employed in every sales channel and business area. Some new processes were defined, based on lean management principles. At the end a blueprint for the networking of every business area and channel through various sales stages was produced. Virtual interfaces such as the website were integrated. As were physical sales channels such as retail stores and sales representatives. This required a definition of the requirements that were to be met by the IT system, and the networking of customer data and contact processes. All of that then had to be introduced at customer touchpoints, leading to a central activity management system which enabled sales campaigns to be coordinated and managed using a KPI-based reporting system. This prevented system inconsistencies and redundancies. There was a reduction in complexity, error-susceptibility, and sales expenditure.
A typical breakdown by product line (such as new cars, used cars, spare parts or service) was making it difficult to align organization and processes in stationary B2C-business towards the needs of customers. It had become impossible to meet customers’ expectations of what physical customer touchpoints should look like, especially within the premium area. Potential therefore remained unutilized.
The aim was to employ a range of measures to create a customer experience that fulfilled the expectations of a premium brand, thereby bringing together online and offline sales so as to create a uniform brand experience for customers.
A mystery shopping concept generated much franker feedback about the purchasing and brand experience than key business figures and conventional customer satisfaction surveys had ever allowed. This revealed weak-points in organization, processes and behavior. At the same time a new role was defined by means of the Customer Journey Manager, which improves customer-relevant processes to achieve a consistently premium customer experience. An online sales channel was also launched on several European markets. The aim was to bring online and offline sales closer together and to give the brand a much stronger profile. rpc prepared dealers for their role by means of on-site consulting and training. From now on, retailers are to pick up potential customers at certain points in the online sales funnel and lead them to the end of the sales process.
Access to customers has changed. Digital points of contact and the rise of ‘digital disruptors’ such as apps and communication platforms are threatening sales via conventional analog channels. Direct interaction with end-customers is gaining ground at the expense of multi-stage sales. At the same time, interfaces with (potential) customers are proliferating, and analog and digital channels are having to be networked. Carefully coordinated activity is for those wishing to bring premium standards into the digital world. This means changing customer communication and being permanently available, responding quickly and keeping things simple. This in turn requires the adaptation of sales structures.
Increase the value of the company by creating an uniform premium image, coordinated across every analog and digital communication channel.
rpc has designed and held a number of experts’ workshops in order to define the ‘customer journey’. To help achieve this we modeled customer-relevant processes in cross-function flow charts and using modeling software (Magic Draw, Signavio, ARIS). We used fit gap analyses to examine current and target processes thus identifying success factors and areas of action – always with an aim to achieve the business model which had been defined as the target. This process necessitated changes in the organization of structures and procedures, including digital transformation processes to integrate the workforce.
Carsten Haverich, BMW Group
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