A Sales Mindset + Automation = Greater Enterprise Capacity
GE's Chris Bevacqua joins us on the AIIA Podcast
Everyone loves a good sales guy. And a good sales guy understands his value to the organization. But sometimes, when the focus is 100% on the sale, that same sales guy loses focus on how hard it is to operate the enterprise.
Chris Bevacqua went from a sales position to the front lines of intelligent automation. “I'm not a shared service guy. I'm a sales guy. What I realized unfortunately is I was a loud sales guy that complained a lot and I said, "This is wrong. We could do this better. Why aren't we doing this?" I think they just got tired of listening to me so they said, "Okay, well why don't you just go ahead and build it there and fix it."
How does a good sales guy close business? Ask questions:
“I just asked the stupid questions. Because I didn't know how to set anything up but I also knew what didn't work for me as a sales rep. I also knew what was very, very painful. And so from that, that was a good jumping off point. We picked a couple of things that are pretty common, things like customer onboarding, credit, very, very basic, not very sexy stuff actually and we started there and we said, "Can we build a better mousetrap? Can we go outside and see what technologies are emerging? Can we integrate them and can we take over a better service delivery?" And we got a couple successes very early on and that built credibility with our business partners.”
So he’d ‘closed the deal.’ And it was on to applying waterfall methodology to intelligent automation:
“I always came with the philosophy of a person should be the last thing on the waterfall you decide. The first thing is why am I doing this? Do I need to do this? A lot of times we do things for just the sake of doing it. Then it goes through what are the technologies there? How can I automate a lot of this stuff? And then really, it's that last point says, where do I need a human being with an intelligent brain on it?”
And he picked a process that was near and dear to his heart as a salesman, onboarding customers...
“We decided we gotta do something different and set a goal of having 80% of the process be automated right off the bat. We set a goal of never asking customers for information unless we absolutely had to. We set a goal for no sales reps to ever have to do this process themselves. We're gonna take that work off of them. And we set a goal of seamlessly integrating this into the contracting process.”
With 80% automation as the goal they then discovered that certain customers had been onboarded 400 times. They looked at the data, fixed the process and voila- goal achieved. But that’s not the best part of this sales guy’s story. That would be granting the opportunity to up-skill key talent and expand enterprise capacity through automation.
“The other thing we're doing is as that team work gets automated more we're moving from just what we call a customer onboarding team to a part onboarding team. We're starting to take on the supplier onboarding work. And some of the other onboarding work that we do around the company for different party. That's another way you utilize those same people just for an expanded capacity.”
Not bad for a sales guy.