Transformative Expert Sales System
September 26, 2017 Amit Bhadakal, Senior Business Analyst
Our client is a world leader in equipment insulation. They had an extensive Excel workbook that had several sheets of complex information, which was used to arrive at the strengths and weaknesses of sales proposals for any given opportunity. They wanted everyone in their global sales team to have easy access to this information.
Extentia transformed this process and built a responsive web portal that could access all the complex information and be made available to any salesperson anywhere in the world, to help them make a better sales proposal.
This case study is a good example of Extentia’s skills in:
(a) Understanding a complex business domain,
(b) Reverse engineering the MS Excel Expert System and
© Designing an easy-to-use contemporary web portal to serve the business need.
The client’s Expert System was a set of several algorithms based on data collected from several scientific trials and years of field experience. When the sales support team in the HQ entered the basic data of a given sales opportunity, the Expert System indicated the key differentiators of success, ranked by priority, that should be highlighted as well as weaknesses in the solution that needed to be compensated for. Further, depending on the role of the person in the customer organization, to whom the pitch was being made, the key differentiators were ranked differently. Finally, as more details about the opportunity became available, the recommendations of the key differentiators got further refined.
The entire Expert System resided in a complex Excel workbook. Only a few people knew how to manipulate the data in this Excel file. This was proving to be a bottleneck as every sales opportunity had to be referred to HQ to get this analysis. The company needed a way to make the system accessible to the salesperson in the field, anywhere in the world, at any time of the day and yet protect the information from unnecessary modification or deletion.
Additionally, some (but not all) of the client’s salespersons used Salesforce as their CRM. For them, the client wanted a way to integrate or inter-connect the two systems.
Extentia transformed the Expert System into a responsive web portal that enables salespersons around the world, to access it on their mobiles and desktops.
The big challenge was extracting the Excel algorithms and connections in the complex Excel workbook. As there was no single person in the client company who had a complete understanding of what was in the Excel workbook, the Extentia team had to determine all the connections and the algorithms of the existing Expert System and then migrate all the data from Excel to Mongo DB.
Extentia’s Experience Studio designed a user experience that is contemporary, easy-to-learn and easy-to-use. The responsive web portal was implemented using Angular JS, HTML5, CSS3.
Figure 1: Entering initial data for the sales opportunity
By implementing a Single Sign-On, the salespersons using Salesforce can access the portal without having to sign-in again.
The portal is multi-lingual as the client has sales teams all over the globe. The Admin can add a new language, when required.
Through an Admin portal, the Admin can track the usage of the system, modify or add to the data or the algorithms.
Figure 2: Modifying the Decision Criteria in the Admin Portal
Advantages of the new system:
Salespersons around the world now have easy and instant access to the Expert System, on their mobile phones and desktops so they can deal with every client meeting. Using the portal, they now have accurate and data-backed arguments, which are appropriate to the person they are addressing. They use the portal in a language of their choice. The portal requires little or no training to use. Those that use Salesforce enjoy the convenience of a Single Sign-On.
The Admin can centrally track the use of the Expert System and measure its success in converting deals. Given additional information, the Expert System can be modified and the changes can be made instantly available to all users around the world. The Admin can be assured that the master data and algorithms that make up the Expert System are safe in a central location and not on every salespersons laptop.
This transformational system allowed salespeople on the field to complete and present proposals to customers in 1/3rd the time without assistance from the HQ.
The accelerated process of creating a proposal increased customer acceptance by 20%, increasing revenue without a corresponding increase administrative/recruitment costs.