How would your company perform if your salespeople could focus on their core competency: selling?
The reality today in most enterprise organizations is that there are quite a few tasks salespeople need to allocate time to that are not related to selling but instead focus on data entry, data governance, cleaning up customer relationship management (CRM) systems, and sometimes correcting errors in orders or deliveries that have been made along the way due to human mistakes.
Software robots can take over the tedious and repetitive data entry and data hygiene tasks so that your salespeople can focus on what they do best: connecting with the customer, creating value for customers, and—as a result—increasing revenue for your company.
In my previous post, I discussed what Robotic Process Automation (RPA) can do for SAP customers, how that differs from traditional back-end automations, and some example use cases.
In today's post, I'll explain in more detail some sales back-office use cases for RPA in SAP environments. Let's look at some of the time-consuming tasks your sales team is currently handling and how those tasks directly relate to the handling of your SAP enterprise resource planning (ERP) and your CRM systems, such as Salesforce.
Sales order processing
When you are not an eCommerce-only company, then reading, digesting, verifying, and booking sales orders in SAP takes up a significant amount of time. It is time every company should strive to reduce in order to serve your customers faster and better.
Typically, in the manufacturing or processing industry, a variety of validation checks are involved to get a certain configuration or packing for a customer order confirmed and ready for fulfillment.
If data is taken from the order document and transferred manually to the SAP ERP system, it’s virtually impossible to completely eliminate errors, no matter how thorough your employees are. Depending on the type of products you are dealing with, employee errors could result in shipping the wrong material across the continent and having to deal with expensive complaints.
How can software robots help here?
With the help of robots and integrated optical character recognition (OCR) software, you can automate everything from receiving the order and reading the order data via OCR to entering the data automatically into your SAP ERP system and booking that data to create the new sales order in SAP. You can also include verification and validation checks to make sure that the ordered products are in stock.
Robots are very flexible here, so you can handle various inbound channels at the same time, such as orders on paper, via email, or Excel spreadsheets in email attachments. Using chatbots for direct contact with the customers is an additional potential channel.
Using robots not only makes your sales order process faster, but also helps reduce errors from manual entries and frees up your staff to spend more time with the customer.
Automated proposal generation and digital signatures
Often, proposals are created based on product details and SKUs that are stored in the SAP ERP. It is very easy to leverage robots to auto-generate both simple and complex proposals that pull product and pricing data automatically from SAP along with data from your CRM solution, such as Salesforce.
In addition, this can be taken all the way to close by incorporating digital signatures and then integrating the signed document and details back into the SAP ERP system. These are all very repetitive tasks that can be automated to help your sales be far more productive. RPA in this use case also helps companies achieve better data management and, ultimately, an improved customer experience.
Sales data hygiene
When reading customer data from sales orders or inquiries are already part of your automated process, you can use the data being processed to further validate the master data in your SAP ERP system as well as your CRM system, such as like for Salesforce.
The simplest way of handling this is to check the data on incoming orders or inquiries against your master data in SAP and in Salesforce. If there is a deviation from one of those systems, the robot can send an alert to have the master data checked and updated. In a more sophisticated version, your robots can also act according to certain rules or certification steps to determine the correct data and update it automatically.
These automations are simple to set up, non-invasive, and do not require extensive programming skills in system integration.
RPA for data validation and reconciliation between SAP and Salesforce
One of the main interests in running a CRM system like Salesforce is having a 360-degree view of your customer. However, some parts of customer-related processes are reflected in Salesforce and some (like the sales order booking, order fulfillment, or invoicing) are happening in SAP. If you regularly need data available in additional systems and want to keep your systems up to date, you can validate data between two systems, and have it updated through UiPath Robots.
This automation can happen through standard APIs with our unattended Robots. The advantage is that Robots can be implemented quickly and in a non-invasive way.
Did you miss my presentation "How to Improve Customer/Employee Experience Across the Enterprise with RPA" with UiPath Product and Technology Alliance Management Vice President David Marcus at SAPPHIRE NOW 2019?
Tanja Breitling-Zboril heads Global SAP Product Alliance at UiPath.