“We need something like Facebook’s the Wall”, one of our Field Sales Managers told me. It was interesting to see that a popular external tool was triggering people to think about a similar solution in the company. They could not use Facebook because their information is confidential, but by describing it in that way, it visualized their needs very clearly.
What was the problem?
It turned out that 16 Sales Managers, all working outside the office, had a habit of sending a daily report of their store visits, including pictures, to all 15 colleagues + Manager + 10 back-office employees, by email.
You can guess the situation: everyone stored lots of emails, with the information hidden in documents, not tagged or categorized, and their email boxes were all too large because of all the pictures. So, what they needed was one central place where they could upload their Sales Memo’s and pictures, and where the back-office could find all reports per customer, or on a certain category.
What is the solution?
Well, we did not have Facebook, but we could do that in a Team Site. I used an Announcement list for the Sales Memo’s, adding mandatory customer and category dropdown fields, and a Picture Library was added for the pictures (also with customer dropdown).
I added a search function and told everyone how to set a Daily Summary Alert, to enable everyone to know if something had happened.
The last 5 Sales Memo’s were shown on the Homepage, with the name of the creator, which triggered all Sales Managers into adding all their Sales Memo’s immediately. This little vanity trick helped speed up adoption!
What are the benefits?
- Less emails sent & stored
- A central transparant database is created
- Information is easily searchable due to the customer and category metadata
- Less time and irritation while searching
And when it was properly implemented, the Field Sales Manager asked me another question…but that will be another Blog item. 😉
Do you have an example where a popular tool shows people the way to working more efficiently? Please share it!