Buying enterprise software without also addressing underlying business processes tends to cause more problems than it solves. An issue in any software initiative, it can be especially problematic with CRM since customer-facing roles tend to lack the kind of well-defined processes found in other areas of the business such as finance.
Bpm’online, a European company founded in 2002 that opened an office in the U.S. last year, makes sure process is well addressed by selling cloud CRM applications for marketing, sales and service automation that are built on top of a business process management (BPM) engine.
"We believe this allows us to offer more tools and business value to our clients, and being process-oriented makes CRM more actionable because we make sure there are no gaps in the process that could lead to inefficiency," said Michael Rooney, bpm'online's SVP and general manager. "In addition, being process-based allows us to cover the entire customer journey."
The company today rolled out a major platform update, with new tools for field sales, digital marketing and customer communications.
Expanded field force management and order management workflows are among the new features in version 7.6 of the bpm'online platform. Sales tools available in a mobile app can guide sales reps through the steps they need to accomplish during sales calls. Supervisors plan visits for each sales rep, down to such details as viewing maps to choose the most convenient route. In addition, they can monitor visits using geo-tags from field sales representatives’ check-ins on customer calls.
"Sales managers need to make sure their revenue pipelines reflect reality – and that they’re comparing apples to apples in what a sales rep considers a likely deal. That’s hard to do as teams grow larger and each sales rep applies different parameters to why they estimate a deal has a given percentage likelihood of closing," Rooney said. "Bpm’online’s new guided field selling tools provide that consistency across all sales reps on a team to assure that they address the critical steps they need to accomplish during the visit -- consistency that helps to increase productivity. In effect it gathers data on each sale and helps managers to better monitor team results, while supplying them with the intelligence needed to make better planning in the future."
New communication tools include extended Facebook integration capabilities and full support of the new Facebook API. Free video calls between bpm’online users add interactivity to daily communications. In addition, users can also employ extended filtering and tagging capabilities and new dashboard widgets to find and visually represent data.
New marketing tools help users integrate management of landing pages, tracking lead sources and channels. A built-in content designer makes it easy to create email templates for mass mail campaigns, and features for running email split (A/B) testing help marketers identify the most effective templates and subject lines by sending different email versions to a target audience. Trigger emails allows for the automation of the lead nurturing process, from lead capture to sales-ready opportunities.
Bpm’online service users can take advantage of an updated self-service customer portal with a revamped home page that offers instant access to all necessary information. Static and blind queues in bpm’online service 7.6 will help both service agents and supervisors work more efficiently with request queues, the company promises.
To help bring users up to speed on the platform's features, an educational initiative called bpm’online academy provides an online resource for educational videos, instructor-guided training sessions, and user and customization guides.
The update's aim is "making it even easier for companies to deploy consistent marketing, sales and service automation tools to seamlessly manage the complete customer journey," Rooney said, adding that all of the company's products include out-of-the-box best practice processes that can jumpstart use of bpm’online applications.
"The pre-built processes give companies of any size the ability to quickly start using bpm’online applications. There is no need to create processes from scratch," he said. "However, if customers need to tailor the process to specific business requirements, the solution provides a visual process designer or user wizard for quick process modeling."
Rooney said bpm'online's products can be purchased separately, or "packaged in the bundle with bells and whistles needed to cover specific needs of the client."
The company serves 6,000 customers worldwide, including Century 21, Heinz and Heineken. Rooney said it plans to double its U.S. staff by the end of 2015.