B2B Sales Management & Blockchain

A couple of days back I shared a post with the title “How Companies Can Take Advantage Of The BlockchainTrend?” and I got lots of DM in regards to this subject and had very interesting conversations!

For me, the sales process makes the world of a difference between stabbing in the dark versus making concerted, strategic decisions. Most of my time has to be spent wisely instead of re-allocating allocated budget or rolling out new methods to a potentially resistant team (the if it ain’t broke, why are we rocking the boat mentality?).

Blockchain has caught my attention long time ago. More and more, the technology has begun to attract interest from other sectors outside the usual finance, insurance and IT solutions.

However in order to find out what works, let’s take a couple of steps back to look at the problems that organisations face with regards to sales management:

Time consuming Workflow

Tasks like manual data entry into CRM systems, setting reminders, assigning accounts, and monitoring opportunities, following up and liaising between multiple parties get in the way of being out there and developing relationships and actually closing business. Unfortunately these are recurring processes that come with the job scope and that will need to be documented. This statistic from Docurated is absolutely startling:

Reps spend only 32% of their time selling, with the remainder spent on admin tasks.

Inconsistent data, lack of transparency between multiple participants

B2B sales processes are based on relationships and responsibility.

B2B sales relationships also require more outfield, on the ground work, beating down doors and they also have a longer sales cycle than B2C sales.

Having said that, Digital Sales and Marketing activities will definitely change this characteristics in the future – I’m pretty sure about this (…but let me elaborate on this in another article…)

The responsibility is on the reps to ensure the correct data is given to the client pre & post sales. Sales reps need to know (in most B2B cases) equipment manufacturing date, potential ship and installation date, service entitlement – key data points that must be tracked, certified and accessed in order to provide seamless pre & post sales delivery.

A single instrument to rule them all?

In a sales cycle, closing the sale is like conducting an orchestra that involves multiple participants, who all have their own business processes.

These individual processes interact with one another through various software platforms (CRM, ERP, etc.) that adhere to their own SOP.

However, if the business network uses a distributed ledger that maintains a single, accessible version of the truth, the ledger provides the interface for all concerned as a transparent platform.

Blockchain offers a single, shared ledger showing all transactions, approvals and certifications to all parties, in real time, and therefore enable more efficient and faster service delivery – access to a shared audit trail that will make billing and account receivable processes more accurate and transparent, meaning there should be fewer disputed invoices.

With a focus on client satisfaction and cost management, blockchain can hold complete provenance details of each – in our case – valve part: country of origin, production date, heat codes, batch, manufacturing plant, etc. Even operating data of the plant could be stored on the blockchain to potentially identify failures and hep to investigate warranty claims. Smart Valves could record operation cycles, open and close positions and so on.

At its core, blockchain is a distributed ledger of asset and transaction records. Smart contracts control the execution of transactions between untrusted parties and ensure that contractual conditions are met, and obligations are enforced. Permissioned blockchains ensure that all information and transactions on the blockchain are available only to network members with the right permission.

As explained, all stakeholders can update information on the ledger, and react to events when information is updated by others. By using a distributed ledger as the underlying system of records, all participants can achieve significant business process improvements.

If this sounds very complicated and you are new to Blockchain, watch this video here.

Scaling and expansion

Blockchain is still a nascent technology in need of scalability and interoperability platforms. Furthermore with legacy software and processes to contend with, organizations may not be keen on changing processes.

It isn’t just the cost savings promised by blockchain that indicates well for the sales management future – speedier transactions, increased efficiencies in facilitation and distribution and logistics down the line along with potentially reduced cost of service will make it a solution to be reckoned with.

 

Initially posted on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/b2b-sales-management-blockchain-tim-frederik-kohler/

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