Working from Home Might Be Nothing New but Companies That Embrace It Profit
In the light of the current global health crisis, big tech companies like Facebook, Google, Twitter, and Amazon have asked their employees to work from home (as have Ford, General Motors, and Unilever).
According to the Financial Times, some companies are testing their ability to go fully remote – KPMG have had all 8,000 London staff working from home since Friday last week.
Classes and lectures are being delivered via the Internet, online shopping and food delivery are booming, even religious services are happening via a live feed.
And as companies of all sizes try to prevent spreading the virus among employees and those they come into face-to-face contact with, their “working from home” policies are becoming standard.
Some businesses, of course, can’t be run remotely, and we’re seeing what potentially devastating effect that could now have on the retail, hospitality and manufacturing sectors.
Those who can enable remote working but haven’t implemented the technology yet are rushing to get ready because it’s the only way to get through this difficult economic period. But having virtual working environments set up isn’t something new. Nor was it in response to (or preparation for) a crisis like the one we’re facing today.
It has been a trend for many years now, and flexible working arrangements are quickly becoming the new norm. Working remotely has grown 173% since 2005 worldwide, 11x faster than the rest of the workforce.
Not only does offering remote working seem to create happier employees (77% saying working from home has improved their overall health and wellbeing), but 85% of global businesses find it leads to an increase in productivity. In fact, an estimated $4.5 trillion per year is expected to be saved in the US alone by 2030 thanks to the improved productivity, reduced fixed overheads, and increased agility it brings.
No Replacement for Face to Face…?
All digital business can be handled remotely these days and it will become even more important in the future as its popularity amongst workers soars.
There are, however, some important things to consider before transforming completely into a virtual environment. Firstly, any form of written digital communication, no matter how fast, is not in real-time, which isn’t ideal when closing a large deal for a lot of money.
But perhaps more importantly, there’s no face–to–face communication, which is essential in some activities (like making sales and agreeing on deals) so that each party is able to read the reaction of the other and offer explanations or make adjustments.
Video conferencing is an obvious aid in this and is an easy technology to implement. In fact, rather than spending time traveling to meetings, sales reps are three times more likely to meet virtually with customers and prospects via video chat than in-person, a 60% increase since 2015.
But a less obvious aid to non-face-to-face sales discussions is transparency.
Sales teams should have the tools and data available to explain clearly to customers why they have been given a specific quote, why a specific discount was or wasn’t applied, and why another customer was quoted differently.
Pricing has to be simple and logical to the customer. If a customer has a quote question or query, we should be able to explain it clearly, without any side calculations, why the price is what it is. Thanks to Pricefx, pricing can be very transparent and all quotes are calculated based on rules that are, in turn, based, for example, on historical data. Even complicated pricing using our optimization methodology should be comprehensible. Pricing transparency can help to make the transition to a virtual business environment much smoother.
Benefits of Digitalizing Sales Processes
Companies adopting a digital approach to delivering quotes and services over the Internet are moving faster than their less-digital counterparts. The company that has to print and post paperwork and then wait to get that essential signature via the same print and post system, or in person, are at a distinct disadvantage to the company that got the signature yesterday at the click of a few buttons.
Pricefx recently integrated the widely used DocuSign technology into its QuoteConfigurator, so all necessary tools for closing a deal are in one handy and super-efficient tool.
After your sales rep has taken the customer through products, proposed prices, and built a portfolio, they click one button inside the system to automatically generate a PDF file of the quote (in your own branded templated design) and can email it directly to the customer from there without the need to leave Pricefx for any other software.
Once the customer agrees to the price, one more click will send the final quote to them for a digital signature using DocuSign. The sales rep is notified when the customer signs and the sales order can be drawn up.
According to DocuSign, using eSignature reduces hard costs and improves employee productivity. So, for businesses where hundreds of quotes are being created daily, this can mean significant savings. In our portfolio, we have many companies generating thousands of quotes per month.
Using the strongest data encryption technologies available, DocuSign meets some of the most stringent US, EU, and global security standards, while also complying with the U.S. ESIGN Act and UETA, as well as the EU eIDAS Regulation, and automatically generating and storing a robust audit trail for every agreement.
So, the result is approved by the right person and legally verifiable, meaning you can move on to your next step with confidence.
Besides which, you can do business much faster, with up to 82% of agreements completed in less than a day, and 49% in under 15 minutes!
Setting Up for Signature Success
To get up and running with eSignature, there are no downloading quotes, logging into DocuSign, uploading documents, etc. Everything can be done in three easy steps.
- Subscribe to DocuSign
- Get one of your techy people to put the DocuSign API key into the configuration of the Pricefx system
- Get one of your artsy people to design your template for upload to the configuration admin area of Pricefx. This template only needs to have a special keyword indicating where the customer should sign and it can then be populated with data and products from your quote.
That’s it! A quick and painless setup. From that point onwards, anyone using QuoteConfigurator will be able to send documents for eSignature directly from within the platform. And it’s so intuitive that if you were to receive something from DocuSign and had no idea what DocuSign was, you’d work it out almost immediately.
You Can’t Be Sure Before You’ve Tried It
As with all technological advancement, there will inevitably be digital companies and sales reps who prefer the face-to-face sales approach.
Have you tried it?
Have you tested selling to customers armed with a clear description of prices and how they are constructed, being able to discuss prices in detail with customers without having to find face-to-face time, automatically sending quotes for a super-fast signature turnaround before confidently moving on to your next step?
Try it. We’ve got all the tools available nowadays. Sure, there’s a bit of set up as, of course, you’ll need a sophisticated and capable system like Pricefx, but the benefits are measurable and irrefutable.
A Big Change in The Future of How We Work
Our current global situation means face-to-face meetings are not advisable (in some cases, even illegal) for health reasons and it is making companies think about how they can carry out their business remotely without taking a hit to sales.
I expect that by pushing their teams towards a virtual business environment in an attempt to protect their businesses through this crisis, companies will learn just how beneficial digital transformation of all business processes can be to employee productivity and revenues. I suspect it will change how companies work in the future.
Want to get some thoughts on how to deal with the drastic changes? Join my colleague, Robert Smith, Industry Advisor, he discusses the impact of COVID-19 on the chemical and process industries.