Growing a TPI business is complicated and scaling a company further is contingent on solving a number of business challenges — many issues are common to most energy brokers in the UK and their management teams can face a number of impactful businesses challenges.
- TPI allows communication in countless different formats with no centralised process.
- Competitors are everywhere, because market entry is relatively straight forward, resulting in brokers diversifying with additional products & services to create more value-add offerings to retain & win more customers.
- Business process automation is a leading challenge across growing broker organisations. Processes naturally evolve over time as the business penetrates new products, channels and partnerships as well as hiring new employees to cope with customer demand and increased process risks. Business process automation is about applying techniques and methods to discover, model, analyse, measure and improve the growth of a broker’s business. Some of the leading issues faced by energy brokers with manual or disjointed business processes can be:-
- Financial uncertainty of future sales income from suppliers for closed deals and accurate forecasts for expected outgoing payments to their business partners, agents or sales staff.
- Multiple systems to manage all of their product sales & financials, rather than in one system.
- Difficulties with deal tracking and finding missing or incorrect commission payments.
- Missed acquisition sales opportunities and renewals.
- Less accountability across sales individuals and teams, making it difficult to manage performance or target underlying issues.
- Long turnaround times for pricing energy quotations, issuing proposals and closing sales contracts.
- Lack of collaboration and control amongst their teams, with little visibility of outstanding or critical tasks.
- Dealing with too many silos, with management spending too much time on manual tasks or troubleshooting business problems that could have been avoided.
- Recruiting and training new employees is a lengthy process, especially if there are multiple systems or offline processes to learn.
- Good team motivation can be harder to maintain if the same issues happen time and time again, especially if staff are feeding back to the management and interventions or solutions are slow to be implemented.
Sales agents and managers can also face many issues if there is a lack of process automation, especially for energy brokers due to unique energy or supplier-related processes that require managing. Standard ‘off the shelf’ CRM systems simply cannot deliver energy process automation effectively and still result in too many offline processes, which can include:
- Sales executives that use spreadsheets to manage their data have difficulty tracking leads or following up on opportunities since the spreadsheet doesn’t proactively notify you.
- Frustration with manual activities, especially repetitive data entry processes, like producing LOA’s, price comparisons, sending proposals and filling in supplier contract documentation.
- No real-time information on the progress they have made with respect to individual sales performance versus their set targets, or how much sales commission they have closed.
- Difficulty in customer discussions with a lack of one view at the customer level for opportunities, leads, follow-ups, notes, assignments, customer-specific activities and current deals.
- Lack of trust within the accuracy of commission statements that are too time-consuming to validate against offline spreadsheets or historic sales from over 2-3 years ago.
Adapting to market transformations and technological innovations is the easy way to scale the business. The magic bullet that must be part of every successful broker’s operation, is a customised energy broker CRM with commission tracking software. It is a business critical success tool required to analyse all interactions you have with your prospects, customers, suppliers & internal company communications.
There are a number of indispensable features for any CRM that deserves consideration in the energy brokering business. Apart from the universal fundamentals such as automated lead-to-quote-to-contract processes, and sales reports and dashboards, your CRM must have a built-in calendar. This allows you to fill schedules and track important events seamlessly. CRM software is a tool that centralises, simplifies, secures, and scales customer engagement, leading to increased revenue. Your CRM calendar should have a few embedded key features such as:
- Recurring tasks.
- The ability to assign work to other team members. Without these features, it is more difficult to stay on top of a prospect’s needs.
How can sparkplug, a CRM designed specifically for energy brokers can help?
- Gives your team a tool which help them automate tasks, reminders, notifications and follow ups.
- Creates a repeatable and sustainable process that all members of the team can follow.
- Allows you to be more personable in motivating your team. Finding specific portions of a sales process that an agent is having difficulty with, making performance conversations easier.
- Allows you to easily capture details of each customer and record the full history of your accounts, to minimize the lost knowledge in the event a sales agent leaves the company.
- Use of sparkplug significantly brings down the cost to a broker in terms of time/energy/money. Sparkplug is a solid investment that helps you achieve your objectives, outsmart the competition and grow.
- Easily keep an eye on all of sales agent’s to-do’s and action items for follow up. Never missing an opportunity or renewal with built-in automated notifications.
- Sparkplug makes managing sales performance easy for sales management and cutting monthly commission checks is so easy! Allows you to bring more agents onboard without having to add back office staff.
- Capture the interest of customers who are increasingly sophisticated and ignoring the old methods of marketing and selling to them.
- Need more visibility about your performance? Sparkplug’s reporting suite enables you to review your team’s sales numbers, pipeline, financials and business process activities.
Is your team dropping balls? Business process automation with Sparkplug will help you to prioritize the most important and critical tasks to keep on top of your game. Get that visibility, efficiency and transparency that will transform performance across all of your departments.
Interested to learn how Sparkplug can help you to automate your entire business process on one single platform? Click her to schedule the demo with Johnny Wilson who is the Director of UK Business Development.