Siemens

SalesHelper Proposal Generation System (2004)

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Background

The Automation and Drives Division of Siemens Canada is dedicated to providing complete electrical, engineering and automation solutions, along with the right products, software, and services to their clients nationwide. Their customers include some of the world’s largest and most respected companies in the industrial, manufacturing and construction industries, retailers, and leaders in the e-business sector. Backed by Siemens Energy & Automation and with research & development expenditures in excess of $32 million per year, the professionals in the Automation and Drives division are uniquely positioned to help organizations accomplish their goals faster, smarter and cheaper than ever imagined possible.

Problem overview

Although well positioned from a technical standpoint, Siemens Canada A&D find themselves in a highly competitive marketplace and require a sales force that can quickly capture a client and deliver concise professional, competitive quotations. A large percentage of Siemens’ business relies on solutions that are “out-of-the-box.” For a salesperson who does not have a vast amount of engineering experience, however, determining how to configure an “out-of-the-box” solution can be a time consuming process.

Issues facing the client

  • Slow quotation turn-around times
  • Inefficient means of configuring a “Drive-In-A-Box”
  • No sales statistics and accountability for regional managers
  • No follow-up process to complete the sales process
  • Lack of consistency in quotations made throughout the nation
  • Lack of control on profit margins for individual quotations
  • Lack of interconnectivity between salespeople
  • Lack of pertinent information in the sales quotation
  • Inability to quickly create a quotation based on previous quotations
  • Fluctuations in quotation prices due to a non-standardized process

Solution

After performing an analysis of the A&D sales force work domain, Inovex was able to identify the issues listed above. The next step involved devising a tailor-made solution that would solve each of these issues. Inovex developed the Siemens A&D SalesHelper – a web-based tool that resides on the Siemens corporate Intranet, providing a simple gateway to create and access quotations throughout the country in minutes. This solution involved three of our core competencies:

Software components

Drive Configuration Utility

This utility presents the salesperson with specific options for creating a Siemens Masterdrive. Based on the options chosen, the application will automatically determine which components can be added and at what rating. Relying on the program to make these decisions, prevents costly mistakes such as producing a quotation with components that will not fit inside a given enclosure.

Quotation Manager

This portion of the system allows any salesperson access to all past quotations, but restricts editing access to either the creator of the quotation or the quotation’s account manager. Within the manager, the salesperson can follow-up on quotations, specifying whether or not they were awarded or lost due to technical, pricing, or delivery problems.

Quotation Pricing Utility

Once the desired drives have been specified, the salesperson can specify quantity and profit margin in order to bring the total cost to a price that meets both the needs of Siemens and the client. As a security feature, the salesperson cannot reduce the profit margin under a certain threshold without permission from the administrator.

PDF Package Generation

After entering all quotation information, a proposal package is automatically generated in PDF format for print or e-mail to the client. The package is a standard format for salespeople across the country and delivers:

  • Technical Specifications
  • Detailed Quotation Numbers
  • Additional salesperson comments
  • A&D Promotional Material
  • Cabinet Outline and Dimensions
  • Terms and Conditions

Client Management

Client information can be entered into the client database and managed from the SalesHelper tool. To protect regional sales, clients specific to a certain salesperson are only visible to them, and not to other salespeople within the A&D group. The administrator, however, can view and edit all client information.

Administrative Control

The Administrator of the SalesHelper Tool has the power to easily change profit margins for salespeople on a quotation by quotation basis. Also included in the administrative console are the following features:

  • The ability to update the pricing data base based on new yearly figures
  • The ability to add/remove/edit salespeople in the database and control default profit margins
  • The ability to view overall sales statistics and on individual members of the sales team

Benefits

Using SalesHelper Siemens Canada now enjoy the following benefits:

  • Easy deployment and updates via the Intranet
  • Current cost information through one-time cost loading by the administrator
  • Easy searching through past quotations using a number of search criteria
  • Ability to continuously improve and tailor the sales process to the client based on the feedback received during the follow-up process
  • Standardized pricing across the nation
  • Standardized proposal documents generated in PDF
  • Ability to automatically send proposals to the client via e-mail

Inovex’s solution was able to cater to each issue facing Siemens, creating a highly beneficial tool that has ultimately increased the productivity of the A&D sales force.

Problems solved