Salesmen Crack Credit Control With BI
To most professional salesmen, the bottom line is winning the order from a customer. And yes, of course it’s true: no order, no business!
But clinching the deal certainly isn’t the end of the matter since it’s also true to say that you don’t really win until the customer pays the bill for your goods or services.
In former times, the salesman might be told to chase up the late bill-payers, armed with no more than a sternly worded memo from the Accounts Department. But more recently, things are rather different, especially with the advent of good Business Intelligence (BI) systems like Phocas BI.
Leaner, fitter companies today need their sales people to be all-rounders, capable of more than just deal-winning but also able to handle other aspects: not least credit-account management. So what tools can the Sales Director add to his salespeople’s armoury? Here are a few that a well-designed BI dashboard can provide:-
1. The Salesman’s Slice
It’s important to give the salesman the fullest picture, without splurging the whole company’s accounts data across the entire salesforce. So a good BI system, such as Phocas BI will allow each salesperson access to just his or her own slice of accounts data. Company-wide or divisional data can be retained just for those that need it, such as the Sales & Finance Directors. Security of data is retained whilst required access is granted.
2. How old are the debts?
Breaking down the whole of a sales territory’s debts by age, either with a numerical grid or by a pie-chart gives a quick summary of the overall health of that area’s debt situation. If an unacceptably high proportion of the overall debt is in the older-age category rather than more recent debt (say 120+ days rather than under 30 days), then it’s easy to see that there’s work to be done to redress the balance.
3. Who are those debtors?
Drilling down into the aging date categories will highlight the debtors represented and these can be easily ranked by size of debt to prioritise the most urgent cases involved. In this way, the most rapid and dramatic effect can be had on the overall debt age balance!
4. What’s the payment history like?
It’s important before we go any further to establish what sort of payment history a customer has with our company. A good BI tool like Phocas BI will enable the sales person at this stage to see a customer’s list of payments over time. A customer who is a frequent, regular payer over the months and who may simply have overlooked an old invoice, or who may be disputing an invoice for whatever reason, will need to be handled in a subtly different way to one who has paid little or who has regularly defaulted on their bills.
5. Getting to the bill in question.
The final item in the salesman’s credit-control toolkit is the actual invoice. A good dashboard will allow the salesperson to see a list of recent invoices and more particularly the invoice that’s unpaid, including its reference number and date. By being able to single-out the bill in question and by drawing the specific bill to the customer’s attention, the salesman can quickly get the matter sorted and result in the required “Bill Paid”.
Even though the salesperson is the closest contact to the customer, for many salespeople, asking for payment can be a touchy matter. But having access to a credit-control dashboard lends a professional edge to a good working relationship. Just remember that no matter how old that newly-settled invoice is, always sign off with a “thanks for your business!”.
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