Improve Your Sales Management Process with B2B Commerce Technology

Sarah Leung
September 29, 2015

Founded in 1964, Silhouette International is an eyeglass manufacturer and distributor based in Linz, Austria that focuses on quality materials and distinctive, minimalist design. The company sells to independent opticians, optometrists, and ophthalmologists around the world, offering both Silhouette and Adidas eyewear. With over 60 sales reps and 25 trade shows to attend each year, the company has a large sales operation to manage. When Regional Sales Manager DezaRae Hedrick was a sales rep herself, she was on the road every day with over 100 accounts. In the past, Hedrick and her fellow sales reps wrote sales orders on paper, requiring them to do up to three hours data entry after a long day on the road. So when Silhouette invested in Handshake’s sales order management software––a solution that allowed reps to write orders on an iPad without any need to re-enter them into a separate system––Hedrick quickly saw the benefits as both a sales rep and, eventually, as a manager. In fact, for Hedrick and Silhouette’s other sales managers, one of the greatest opportunities order management software has presented to them is the ability to improve their sales management process and more effectively coach their sales teams. Here are a few ways they do just that.

A Better Sales Management Process with Digital Technology

Giving Reps What They Need to Succeed

An enormous factor in a sales rep’s success is the information they have access to during a typical sales appointment. The more data your sales rep has on hand, the more likely they’ll have a successful meeting. When Hedrick was a sales rep herself, she would do much of this preparation work manually in advance. “I would...look at my handwritten notes from previous visits, remember everyone’s names, and try to see if there was a specific collection that I was supposed to be showing them.” She would also manually pull and print reports to see a customer’s order history, while also lugging in printed product catalogs, samples, and new release pages in a rolling suitcase. Today, customer order history, product catalogs, and customer-specific pricing are all accessible on sales reps’ iPads, drastically cutting down the amount of manual prep work they need to do before an appointment. By giving sales reps everything they need on a mobile device, sales managers know that they can concentrate on what they do best: selling.

Tracking Incoming Orders and Providing Effective Coaching

Hedrick also uses Handshake to manage her sales team by tracking sales activity in real time. “I can actually look at orders as they’re coming through, and if we have a new process, a new special way to order something, or a new set code and they’re not using it, I can catch that mistake right away before it’s even sent and well before it’s even shipped,” she says. This kind of tracking also helps her better coach sales reps. “I’m constantly looking at who’s ordering and what they’re ordering,” says Hedrick. “I can call a rep and say, ‘Hey, tell me how you’re presenting this product.’ It’s a great tool to help troubleshoot and even enlighten my other sales reps to encourage them on sales with similar products.”

Emphasizing Strategic Partnerships

For Hedrick, being a Silhouette sales rep goes beyond simply making sales. “I want my sales reps to be perceived as professional trusted advisors that are there for each and every opportunity to assist in growing their accounts’ business. For anything that account needs, they’re going to call my sales rep up and say, ‘You’re a great source of information, and I’m reaching out to you to help me out.’” Ultimately, the way digital technology has helped these reps become business partners to their customers (as opposed to just order takers), is time––time to concentrate on strategic discussions, rather than the minutiae of writing an order. “The extra time Handshake gives sales reps enables them to expand on any training opportunities, merchandising opportunities, any additional collections being sold in, and evaluations of existing collections,” says Hedrick. Indeed, for Silhouette, investing in Handshake has been about how the technology can improve not only sales, but also the overall customer experience.