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Diary of a Mad Sales Manager: I Need Integrated ERP and CRM!

Topics: CRM, ERP, Business Activity Monitoring, Business Process Management

Posted on Jul 23, 2014 9:00:00 AM by Russ Lesko, Sr. Business Consultant

Does this Mad Sales Manager sound like you? 


8:00am – You arrive at work. You look for that sales pipeline report that should be on your desk. You call Sales Administration and they say they did not get the spreadsheets faxed in from the western regions. You ask, “Why?” Crickets.

8:15am – You check your email. Right on schedule, you get two emails – one from the Mad Materials Manager and one from the Mad Financial Manager. (Remember them?) They both want to meet with you this morning.

8:30am – The Materials Manager comes in. He talks about his goals (remember those?) and says he needs you to start forecasting sales by product so he can plan his material purchases. You say, “Huh?” He’s never forecasted product before and you have enough trouble forecasting sales by revenue.

9:00am – The Financial Manager comes in, wanting the sales forecast by revenue. He is still trying to put that darn CEO flash report together since his analyst has been out sick. You tell him you are still waiting for West Coast numbers. What was that he called you when he walked out the door?

9:15am – You realize you forgot to ask the Financial Manager about some sales guy’s expense and commission checks.

10:00am – You call the Sales Administration team (both of them) in to work on the pipeline report.

11:00am – You see that Bob in Chicago is forecasting $100K for the month, but he has never done better than $20K in any month for the last 5 years. You get Bob on the phone.

Noon – As you try to eat a sandwich, you ask Bob about his forecast. He says, “Yep, I ran into the purchasing agent from one of our customers at a big-box home-improvement retailer over the weekend and he said that he heard rumors about their company getting a big contract.”

12:15pm – You stop eating your sandwich.

12:30pm – You tell Bob to get over there and talk to other people about this so-called contract rumor.

1:00pm – You have a list of questions for most of the salespeople about their forecast and you still wonder what happened to the West Coast.

2:00pm – You ask about the number of outstanding quotes that are out there. You are told it will take a while to run the report. While you wait, you continue calling the sales people.

2:15pm – The Financial Manager asks how you are doing with the sales forecast, and while you're at it, he wants the sales pipeline report also.

3:00pm – You get the outstanding quote report. Good to see a lot of quotes out there. Then you notice the list starts with quotes going back to 2002. You wonder if anyone ever checked on these quotes.

4:30pm – You are able to put the pipeline together with whatever you got from the regions and your best guess for the West. You figure you will not be able to break your streak of missing sales goals every month for the last 18 months. You will just have to figure out how you can reduce the forecast.

5:30pm – The Mad Financial Manager and Mad Materials Manager invite you out for a drink. You take them up on the offer.

6:00pm – You are not really paying attention to those guys. Instead you’re thinking…


Wouldn’t it be nice if:

  1. You could simplify the sales process and make it easier for prospects and customers to do business with you.
  2. You had a system where sales opportunities can be tracked online and from a mobile device when you’re not in the office.
  3. You could develop accurate sales forecasts based on that tracking system.
  4. You had a business process workflow solution that can define the collaborative steps that need to occur to complete a business process with structure and accountability.
  5. You had an automated means to track quotes and alerts to inform you of quotes that have been outstanding for period of time.
  6. You could have one place to go to measure the effectiveness of the sales team and sales processes, and have real-time statistics and scorecards available at any moment, anywhere.
  7. You could use a Business Activity Monitoring automation tool to provide a leading indicator of potential variance issues that could eventually become major financial issues.
  8. You could leverage the above technology to provide accurate and reliable sales forecasts.
  9. You could enable your sales team to utilize mobile technology to access the key information that they need to be successful.

…and the list goes on.

A complete technology-enabled enterprise-wide software business solution is what this Mad Sales Manager needs, as it combines all essential Enterprise Resource Planning elements with business process management and automated alerts, allowing you to have a better day by leveraging technology to:

  • Provide maximum visibility into all sales related and supporting matters.
  • Establish best practices so that sales and operations planning can align all resources around sales, inventory and financial goals.
  • Structure workflows to move approval processes most efficiently through the online system, making the sales process simpler for all parties.
  • Gain online and immediate access to real-time financial and sales transaction details, enterprise-wide.
  • Rely on automation that ensures management receives key sales performance indicators on a minute-by-minute basis.
  • Manage exceptions versus exceptions managing you, by utilizing business activity automated alerts.
  • Identify and assist in the avoidance of excess and obsolete inventory through automated alerts.
  • Utilize workspaces to accurately monitor leading indicators that measure the effectiveness of all sales activities.
  • Rely on a fully integrated Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system including Opportunity Management with a built-in sales pipeline chart.
  • Automate key sales related functions through Business Activity Monitoring for scheduled tasks to follow-up reminders.
  • Access enterprise-wide information around the clock and through mobile technology to support the sales process.


There are many ERP software packages out there, but it is important to perform a thorough evaluation to ensure you gain the features and functions necessary to integrate all aspects of your business.

The ERP Blog covers the impact of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), business software and accounting solutions on organizations in the manufacturing and distribution industries.

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