How Configuration Tools Build Sales

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Consider taking orders with more than 2 million parts to choose from and with innumerable possible configurations. That's what Rockwell Automation Inc., a $4.3 billion industrial automation company and provider of power, control and information solutions, faces every day with its Dodge motor products alone. After paring its scope, selling its aerospace and defense operations to Boeing, and spinning off its automotive, semiconductor, large-power transformer operations, and avionics and communications units, Rockwell Automation is still considered one of the largest industrial automation companies in the world. Rockwell's automation unit makes products like worker-machine interface devices and industrial motors. With so many specifications required to build a single Dodge motor, the risk of mistake and the cost of making a mistake are both high. "We were looking for ways to improve our customer service and improve the accuracy with which we met customer needs. We also wanted to improve our competitive posture by taking less time to convert customer needs to product specifications," says Jim Sneed, vice president of information technology at Rockwell Automation. Rockwell Automation employees responsible for building custom-made Dodge motors face the threat of configuring then reconfiguring the same product, due to a misstep along the way. "An item can be ordered with incomplete information and then the standard offering is assumed. It's manufactured. Then we call to confirm with the customer what is being done and the customer responds saying, 'That's not what I want.' The communication time can take longer than the building time. Then we have to start all over," says Chris Blalock, a project manager at Rockwell Automation. Although Selectica Inc. was "far and away not the cheapest," Blalock admits, "its product was the most in tune with where our strategy was heading. Selectica offered the most dynamic product and was the most scalable." So after an exhaustive evaluation process that began in November 1999, Rockwell selected Selectica in March 2000 and implemented Selectica's Interactive Selling System (ISS) in August of the same year. This was mainly used for entering orders over the phone. "We implemented Selectica for the Dodge product line, which takes the ability to quote while the customer is on the phone to a whole new level. That has led to a significant improvement in our hit rate--how many times you have to quote before you get an order. That used to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 2.5:1. It's now down in the neighborhood of 1.2:1," Sneed says. "It's so fast that the customer say, 'OK, I'll take one.' It's been great." In February of this year Rockwell moved the same capabilities to the Web, enabling customers to configure and order products directly from a shared company Web site. -- David Myron CRM in Action: Wireless SFA
The Challenge: Build stronger relationships with doctors The Solution: Selling pharmaceuticals is complex due to regulatory restrictions, updated clinical studies, and increased competition. Also, pharmaceutical representatives are never really selling drugs, but instead trying to influence physicians to write prescriptions by gaining brand awareness. That makes it difficult and costly to communicate consistent and compelling marketing messages. The average pharmaceutical representative interaction with a physician for just 90 seconds costs $175. So, to help get the most bang for its buck, Wallace Pharmaceuticals, equipped its 304 sales representatives with Proscape's MSE solution running on Fujitsu pen-tablet computers. This allows Wallace's sales reps to present information to physicians while standing or even walking down a hallway in between patient appointments. "This technology solution provides value for physicians by enabling our representatives to deliver information specifically targeted to the physician's practice or interests and to immediately access the clinical reference information required to answer questions," says Gary Lee Evans, vice president, field sales for Wallace Pharmaceuticals. "We expect this to have an immediate impact on our top-line performance." The system complements the entire sales process, from selecting targeted product messages to seamlessly integrating with Dendrite International Inc.'s WebForce software for documenting sample disbursements and capturing physician signatures. The MSE solution also assembles data related to each interaction, including length of call, topics discussed, and collateral utilized and puts this information into a comprehensive database. The Payoff: Two-fold increase in average time spent with physicians, increased brand awareness, and increased prescribing behavior. -- Lisa Picarille
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