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The 10 critical things a CRM should do for you when you create an order

At this time of the year, every self-respecting Sales Manager is pushing their team to the limit to close those sales that can be “brought home” before the end of the calendar year.  I love the real “Old-Guard” ones that won’t even allow a single Xmas decoration to appear in the office until all the old prospects are closed.  December 1st might be the time to celebrate Christmas if you are a nine-year-old, but for us hard-nosed sales people, we have come to our toughest part of the year. What we want most is a present in the form of a decent CRM system.  But if you don’t have Trivaeo Crossroads CRM by now, it’s too late for this year I’m afraid.  Anyway, as it's order closing time I thought I'd spend a minute reflecting on what the CRM must do for you when you actually get that order from your opportunity?

It all happens when Santa gives us the order.  But did someone buy me a dog?

It’s now that we really need all the help we can get from the systems available to us.  It really should not take a long time to put in a sale and get it delivered and invoiced.  Collecting the cash is another thing, but right now, I just want to get the orders recognised and billed, so that I can collect my commission!

When Trivaeo makes products for so many different companies it is a big task to consider all the different ways that different industries and different service organisations will work.  In most CRM products I have seen, the “Order” is just a tick box on a spreadsheet that might (or might not) be able to recognise the revenue in a different column.  Don’t get me wrong… I want to recognise my sales, so I do need that… But there are one or two other things that need to happen as well.

Can you think what those things might be?    Well in the theme of the yuletide I have decided that there are just ten, I did this cynically, in order to match the ten days of Christmas, in truth there are quiet a few more.  But ten is enough for now.

  1. The Company becomes a “Customer”
    1. Trigger – When a Sale is made to a company record for the first time.
    2. Event – The CRM Contact and Company record has a box ticked that says “is customer”
    3. Detail – This doesn’t preclude them from also being a supplier any other relationship to us as well, but if they were just a “Prospect” before and now they have placed an order, then it’s logical to start to treat them like a Customer - Non?
  1. The Contact at the Company becomes a “Customer”
    1. Trigger – If a Contact is the main contact marked on an opportunity that becomes a sale because we have won the order and where that contact is in this position for the first time.
    2. Event – The Contact’s CRM record will show that they are a customer of our company
    3. Detail – Contacts move companies … FACT. Most CRM’s forget this.  Just because they move to another company doesn’t mean we must forget their history of already being a customer, does it?
  1. The Contact and Company now appear in “Clients” list
    1. Trigger – When a Contact or a Company has placed an order or where an opportunity has progressed to a point where an order is reached, then we create a new entry on a list that we call “Clients”
    2. Event – Add the Contact or company (or both) to the “Clients” list
    3. Detail – The difference between a “Customer” and a “Client” is quite subtle. However, in general terms, we call customers that would want to deal with us often (or at least repeatedly) “Clients”.  The Crossroads CRM by Trivaeo helps to manage customers to ensure they become Clients and therefore a whole new world of account management and information gathering starts to become available to “Clients” stored in this list. 
    4. More detail – It is important to realise that just because we are recognising a new status such as “client”, the original contact or company record does not disappear! A single point of truth is always maintained and these extra records are completely bonded, so that if you make changes to one place, you don’t have to worry… Everything else will automatically follow.
  1. The “Order“ transaction now shows inside the “Accounts Information” tab
    1. Trigger – When an Opportunity entry is progressed to a stage where the order is won, or where an order is created for a contact or a company in the CRM
    2. Event – This order is now a whole new “Process”. A Process is a series of “Workflows” that can happen in parallel or in series to ensure that the customer receives their order and the correct amount of money is invoiced and collected as quickly as possible. 
    3. Detail – An Application inside the Trivaeo Crossroads CRM is called “Accounts Information”. This tab stores all the processes that move to create revenue.  In short – If there is revenue to be collected from a customer, then that process will appear here.
    4. Extra Detail – In most organisations, use of this tab is not part of the traditional “Sales” job. In many cases, it is people with different job functions that must take part in these duties.  However, this application makes it absolutely crystal clear, at a glance, what the next action is and who is responsible for delivering the order and when it can be invoiced and the money collected.
  1. A formal “Order” is created
    1. Trigger – When an opportunity is progressed to the point when it becomes an order, or where an order is generated in the Sales process
    2. Event – You are asked if “Do you want to create an order?”
    3. Detail – If you answer “Yes”, then a whole new process is kicked off and a formal order is created in your system that needs to be given to a named individual to deliver, collate or create in some way.
    4. Extra detail – It doesn’t matter what your business does. You may have to physically “pick” an order from a warehouse and pack it up and enable delivery. Or you might just have to formally “Pass” the order to a delivery team – Whatever your actions or process, this option will enable you to track that function.  Best part – If you don’t want to use this function, just answer “No”.
  1. A Project is created with billing milestones
    1. Trigger – Where an order is created that has one or more billing milestones created at any time during the growth of the opportunity. This ONLY occurs when the company using this CRM solution also has a live license to use the Trivaeo Projects Management Applications.
    2. Event – A “Project” is created with an auto generated number and the opportunity is linked (bonded) to the project and the billing events become milestones on the project record.
    3. Detail – A named person that is to be running this project will be alerted that there is a new order that requires a Project based delivery and they can see the details from the opportunity and all the quoted and financials that were all created during the growth of the opportunity.
  1. An Invoice is generated
    1. Trigger – When the stage of “Order” is reached in a live opportunity.
    2. Event – The user is asked “Do you want to create an Invoice?” If you answer “yes” then a form to create the invoice for this opportunity will be shown and you can add a few pertinent details such as when it will be delivered, when the payment is due, what account you want the payment to be sent to etc.
    3. Detail – All the order details including all the products or services sold as part of the opportunity are included in the invoice. You can also add your own “Top and Tail” remarks and input that your customer will see to further explain the invoice.
    4. Further detail – This invoice will appear up to date in the “Accounts Information” tab explained in item 4 above.
  1. A record of the “win” is created and the question “why did we win?” can appear on reports.
    1. Trigger – When an order is progressed in an opportunity to the stage when “Order” is selected. (This can be “Won” or “Lost” status).
    2. Event – A form is shown where you can say whether you Won or Lost this order. If you Won, you can say why (pick from your own pre-populated reasons) and you may also want to show which competitors you won or lost against.
    3. Detail – This is information that is invaluable to be collected and, over time, will create an archive of information that your company can use to grow and improve.
  1. The Order amount of revenue will appear on desktop widgets and reports.
    1. Trigger – Where an order is created that has a revenue forecasted against it.
    2. Event – The revenue will be shown as attributed to the individual or team that forecasted it or created and owned the account / opportunity.
    3. Detail – At this stage, because the order status is “won” then the whole of the revenue (without any weighting) will be shown and the revenue predicted as part of the “products and services” input will be shown as “won” in the reports and widgets.
  1. Stock levels of the products that form the order will be affected and may go down
    1. Trigger – If the company using the CRM also has access to the “Stock manager” application, then your current stock levels will be kept up to date there and an automatic trigger is created from the order event.
    2. Event – The stock levels of the products you have will change in line with the order.
    3. Detail – In some cases, you may not have enough stock to fulfil that order and the stock manager application will offer to either / or part fill that order or to put in a “back order” that can be progressed when stock becomes available in that location. – Clever? Yes!


CRM is for life not just for Christmas.

CRM is supposed to be designed to track the entire life-cycle of your prospect through to customer and account management as they become valuable clients.  So, many products are available on the Internet today, that you can buy, through beautifully designed web landing pages that make you feel that this product is going to be the be all and end all of your sales and marketing needs.  Then, when you have wasted (in some cases) hundreds of man-hours, trying to make it do this most basic stuff, you decide that either you need to spend thousands of pounds on customised code to change it, or you must just throw it away and start again.

Don’t be a cruel CRM owner.   Don’t take your CRM home until you have seen it with it’s parents and don’t just buy a CRM on a whim, just to make your Sales family happy.  Consider how this application will become part of your work and family life forever.
Final point. If you are shopping to buy a CRM solution, don’t buy a dog with fleas.
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