Installed sales is an increasingly important area for dealers. It’s a way to set your business apart from competitors and provide additional value to your customers.
At DMSi, we wanted to help our customers succeed in this new area. We developed an installed sales module in our Agility ERP software that gives our customers end-to-end visibility into their installed sales jobs. Project managers can view everything from sales orders and job details to contractor schedules and payment histories in one place.
The basis of our module is solving specific issues our customers were facing with installed sales.
GOAL 1: SIMPLIFY MAINTENANCE
Spreadsheets and notebooks are clunky tools for managing an installed sales operation. Manually entering project details and constantly updating records with every schedule change is time-consuming and frustrating.
We eliminated a lot of data entry because our installed sales module is part of Agility’s order management system. For example, when a sales rep adds an installation package to an order, Agility automatically generates the job and related tasks in the installed sales module. The job details, customer information, and related transactions are all there – no data entry required. The project manager just needs to assign installers to each task from a list of available employees and contractors.
GOAL 2: IMPROVE COMMUNICATION
Communication is a frequent issue in installed sales because so many people are involved in every job. A sales rep or purchasing agent may make a decision that affects a project, but the installed sales team doesn’t find out until a problem arises.
We delivered some immediate communication wins because Agility manages every part of our customers’ businesses. Changes made in one place are reflected throughout the entire system, so the installed sales data is always current. For example, if products for one job go on backorder, Agility’s backorder alert gives the installed sales manager advanced notice so they can reassign the installers to other projects. And if a customer asks their sales rep about the status of a job, the rep can check the job’s open and completed tasks in Agility. There’s end-to-end visibility into the project and information is always current.
GOAL 3: TRACK WHAT MATTERS
There’s a lot of activity in an installed sales department. It’s easy for projects to slide off track before anyone notices. We wanted to help our customers cut through the noise and focus on the items that matter.
The installed sales dashboards are designed to guide action. For instance, it alerts managers if any tasks are off track or overdue so they can take steps to get them back on schedule. Each project has a dashboard summarizing the job’s status such as phases completed, number of scheduled days remaining, and even revenue and costs. Users can even do a quick comparison of quoted, projected, and actual GM for the project so managers can quickly see if they are losing money on a job.
GOAL 4: EMPLOYEES SHOULD WANT TO USE IT
Many employees are reluctant to change their established processes. Spreadsheets and notebooks may be inefficient, but they are also familiar tools. That’s why we made usability a priority for our installed sales module. We wanted the module to be inviting and intuitive.
Our design team created a look and feel similar to other web-based applications. For example, the schedule section uses simple drag-and-drop actions similar to Outlook and Google calendars. The screens are clean and simple, making it easy for users to find the information and functions they need. By designing for usability and an intuitive interface, this module feels less overwhelming to users. A new employee could start using the module with minimal training. Also, the installed sales module in Agility is hosted on the web, which means people can access it anywhere from any device.
By working with our customers and designing a product specific to their issues around installed sales, we built a product that will be an effective tool for their businesses. It’s now in BETA testing with several of our customers, and we look forward to its general release in the near future.