As a leader of your sales organization, your people and their performance are what drive progress. You work hard to inspire, motivate, and engage your sales teams to be as productive as possible, but is the technology they use every day for administrative processes, such as expense reports, taking too long? And, is it giving you full visibility and reporting into your travel and expense (T&E) budget and cost of sale?
Enterprise organizations that adopt and take full advantage of mobile and digital technologies, instead of sticking with the status quo, can accelerate the most growth potential and productivity. Consumers have driven a sort of sales revolution since individuals can search and find anything they want, whenever and wherever they want, and for the best price possible.
Your employees are no different when it comes to making purchases for their professional lives. Whether for booking travel, transportation, or work-related expenses, your sales teams want the same convenient, consumer-like experience to be as productive as possible. And if you are lagging behind in adopting the technologies that will help your sales teams be as efficient as possible, with the ability to capture the way employees spend today for accurate budget or cost of sale data, then you are leaving your organization vulnerable to stunted growth.
Sales leaders need to ask their teams: “How can we leverage technology to improve productivity and manage budgets more accurately?” and, “What is the cost of doing nothing?”
Driving business value through better T&E technology
Spend that was once under an organization’s control has now shifted to employee control. We call this shift “employee-initiated spend,” and companies need to start thinking differently about the way they are capturing and managing their spending. According to an IDC Analyst Report on T&E management maturity, “Having a partner that is driving innovation in the TEM space enables organizations to focus on what matters most – their own revenue-generating business initiatives.”
Your sales road warriors are spending more money across more spend categories, and using more payment methods than ever before, including credit cards, ghost cards, P-cards, cash, and checks. And if payment methods are managed across disconnected systems, you can’t accurately budget or report spend data across your organization.
Additionally, if your sales teams lack mobile tools and are instead forced to book travel, request approvals, and submit expenses through an archaic system, they are not able to be as productive as possible or focus on what matters: generating revenue.
Before sales leaders can mobilize support from decision makers at their organizations for a new approach to managing travel and expenses, it would be beneficial to ask their teams the following questions:
1. Are we making it easy for employees to book travel and report spend with digital tools, enhancing productivity and compliance, or is it a time-consuming, administrative nightmare?
No matter where, how, or when your employees make purchases on behalf of your organization, you need a solution uniquely equipped to capture employee spend with mobile capabilities for compliance and productivity while on the go. A Forrester report found that, “Employees are embracing new digital capabilities in their personal lives to make purchases, and they now expect their employers to support those same capabilities as they relate to employee generated spend.”
Suppliers are marketing directly to employees to incent them to buy directly, and your busy sales team expects a consumer-like experience to meet their professional needs, anytime and anywhere. By adopting technology to provide a mobile and simple experience for your employees, they’ll be able to focus on driving revenue instead of being burdened with administrative duties around their travel and expenses.
2. Are we connecting our travel management data and expense data together for an accurate view of spend for budgeting and cost of sale reporting?
The way organizations manage spend is struggling to keep up in the digital economy without the right solution infrastructure in place. A lack of visibility into accurate spend data hampers efficiency around managing, budgeting, and forecasting spend. And with the way employees are generating spend today, there’s a real disruption to how finance teams are able to share spend data across the organization.
Automating your travel and expense processes is just the first step. The next step is to connect those processes and all sources of spending to avoid exceeding budgets or forecasting inaccurately. Also, integrating your travel and expense solution with a deep integration into your CRM can help the business analyze the cost of acquiring and maintaining a customer.
3. What channels do employees use to spend company dollars, and which systems are tracking this spend?
With all the payment options available to employees as a result of the digital economy, it’s important for your organization to conduct an assessment to identify which payment channels employees are currently using and how you are tracking each one. Automation is a great first step; however, you must adopt technologies that will connect all sources of spend, from travel to non-PO spend to invoices. Additionally, connected technologies will aid in capturing employee purchases made outside of managed T&E programs for an accurate picture of spending at your organization.
By automating key parts of the spending process in one system, you’ll make the process simpler for your employees, and as a result, you’ll better capture and manage what they are actually spending.
Today’s workforce has changing expectations for how work gets done and the tools businesses need to use. You need a solution designed to create easy-to-use experiences for your employees, and connects you to all your employee-initiated spending data so you can see it and proactively manage it.
If your organization is lagging behind on travel and expense technology that will help drive your revenue-generating teams towards increased productivity and provide you with accurate spend data for reporting to leadership, then it’s time to rethink your T&E solution so you can run and grow your business more effectively. Learn how SAP Concur technologies can help.