Field Representatives each had their own system for quoting work. Quoting was a manual process and terribly inefficient. Each branch of the Company had their own quotation forms. Approved quotes were manually entered into the Company's ERP software when received by corporate.
Utilize and extend the Microsoft CRM quotation system. Create a wizard-like interface that condenses the quotation process into 6 steps. Standardize products and services within CRM. Standardize quotation forms using SQL Reporting Services. Develop a workflow to support a quote approval process. Integrate approved quotes automatically within the Company's ERP system for billing.
Red Hawk conducted several discovery meetings with the client to define all of the available products and services. We also investigated the skill level of the personnel that would be using the system. Skill levels ranged from "Power-User" to "Novice." Ease of use was paramount. We chose to develop the custom quoting module in CRM with the novice user in mind. We developed a wizard interface that condensed the process into 6 steps. These steps are consistent across all products and services. During the development of the wizard, the client added new products and services. The wizard was developed to handle modifications to product and service offerings, minimizing the impact of these types of changes.
The wizard process contains 6 steps:
After the review step, a request to create a printable quote is sent to the SQL Reporting Services server and those documents are attached to the quote itself within CRM. The Field Representative can then email or fax the documents to the appropriate parties for approval. Upon approval, the Field Representative navigates to the Review screen in the wizard and uploads the signed approval documents. This step triggers a workflow for the corporate office to review the quote and create an active contract within CRM and the ERP system. The ERP system triggers billing on the schedule set forth in the proposal.
The custom quoting module uses the built-in quote entity in CRM. As a result, the wizard automatically handles revisions. This provides visibility into all levels of the process, enabling our client to view the process from quote to cash.
The quotation process takes 5 to 10 minutes for most users, and less for more experienced users. The module includes a "copy" function to speed the process of producing similar quotes. Of course, the data this produces could be entered using CRM's built-in forms, but the process would take 20 to 30 minutes on average, and would require extensive training for the field personnel.
Effectively, the custom quoting module resulted in 85% time savings and provides a means to measure the effectiveness of the process from quote to cash.