It’s been 16 years since an American woman won a speed skating medal at the Winter Olympics, but last week, Team USA brought home the Bronze in the Long Track Relay. Bronze is no laughing matter, with the American women beating Canada by a mere .45 seconds. An intensive and sometimes dangerous event, American team member Brittany Bowe summed it up like this: “Our strategy was to get out there, get a jumpstart, and hang on for dear life at the end.”
Long Track Speed Skating is a complicated sport. Strategies and tactics are key, where races are often won by the smartest vs. the fastest skaters. Relay races typically involve four teams of four skaters per race, but instead of passing a baton, the skater on the track must simply “tag” the incoming skater to complete an exchange. Passing requires quick acceleration, agility, good balance, and gritty determination.
That’s a little what selling IT solutions to the corporate market is like. Keeping up with technology shifts, following up on leads, and assembling the right solution for companies looking to shave costs can be exhausting, not to mention complying with a growing number of laws and regulations. Managing those deals used to mean logging into SharePoint repositories or exchanging outdated Excel spreadsheets, but these static, unintegrated documents rely on manual reporting, resulting in version control issues in larger organizations. That’s no way to win a race.
Sungard Availability Services (Sungard AS) found a better strategy for landing an account. The company was using several different manual systems to track deals, with no quick way to cross-reference data. So it developed a Deal Management System (DMS) in-house to address inefficiencies. DMS is a logging, status-tracking and informational tool that improves complex deal velocity through automation, eliminating manual reporting processes. It’s like a complete workout for athletes focused on improving their timing through a comprehensive approach.
Here’s how it works:
To date, DMS has helped Sungard AS improve deal execution times by around 40 percent.
How Customers Benefit
Before DMS, Sungard AS sales teams struggled to meet customer turn-around requirements and aggressive decision timelines. Now, if a customer has a compelling event on a tight timeline, Sungard AS teams can respond faster, or even anticipate their customers’ needs and drive those timelines.
Not only does DMS improve efficiency in the short term, it has the capability to generate a live impact report. Sales teams can track overall efficiency, and how DMS is helping them progress, allowing them to drive workload productivity and improvement.
Team members all have their own real-time dashboard that allows them to cross-reference data points for better insight into trends and opportunities. Email alerts keep employees on task and up-to-date on the evolution of each deal.
Each deal has its own dashboard, breaking down data and syncing from different sources to ensure consistency. DMS retains life cycle, status and logging activities for each deal, so all users know the history of the deal at a glance. A “Deal Update Blog” allows employees to add notes and questions to reduce email communication.
The Operations Log provides a view of a deal’s life cycle through internal reviews, decision analysis and approval of technical solutions. DMS manages and records financials associated with a deal, and manages changes during the life cycle as well as major risk areas.
DMS speeds information input as well, by auto-populating deal information in the database. Integrated technical requirements entry and management also provide a 25 percent keystroke reduction. These features alone cut internal processes by up to two days.
A Medal-Worthy Cause
At Sungard AS, we now continually refresh our processes across business units as a result of mining DMS information. And this proved worthy of a Bronze Medal in the Stevie Awards competition for Sales & Customer Service.
“We were able to streamline our sales process by applying the same focus on problem solving and continuous improvement that we use every day to build more resilient businesses,” said Haim Glickman, Senior Vice President for Global Solutions Engineering, Sungard AS, at the Stevie Awards presentation. “The result was the same: We’re better able to help our customers achieve their business objectives.”
Gold, Silver, Bronze – it’s all about doing your best and improving every day in order to help your team. Sungard AS couldn’t agree more.