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Automatic Data Processing, Inc. (NASDAQ: ADP), with nearly $9 billion in revenues and over 585,000 clients, is one of the world’s largest providers of business outsourcing solutions. Leveraging nearly 60 years of experience, ADP offers the widest range of HR, payroll, tax and benefits administration solutions from a single source. ADP’s easy-to-use solutions for employers provide superior value to organizations of all types and sizes. ADP is also a leading provider of integrated computing solutions to auto, truck, motorcycle, marine and recreational vehicle dealers throughout the world.
In its Major Accounts division, about 1,700 sales associates – including field sales reps, sales leadership, and other sales support staff – use a team-selling approach. Three or more sales associates, each with a different product to sell or a different role in managing the account, are typically assigned to a single account.
Diversity is built into the division’s sales process. A lead sent to salesforce.com might come from any one of hundreds of channels, such as third-party alliance partners or web leads. The sales cycle covers a broad spectrum: The telesales team supports high-volume transactions and may sell a solution after a single phone call, while larger, multi-product deals can involve several appointments and take three months or more to close.
Because of this diversity, collaboration and effective reporting are key, sometimes simply to confirm that a given account has the proper coverage. Exception reports are critical, as are reports to measure the effectiveness of lead channels, product pipelines, and other key performance indicators.
Darrin Farnsworth, ADP’s manager of sales automation projects, says that with such a wide array of sales processes, it wasn’t possible to create a one-size-fits-all report or dashboard. Over time, he says, this naturally led to a multitude of individual reports and many duplicates – sales associates would often open a report, save it to another location, and modify it to suit their needs. “We took a look at our public reports library in salesforce.com, and we had grown in excess of 8,000 reports – and that didn’t include everybody’s personal report folders.”
Farnsworth says that type of behavior bred inconsistency and minimal standardization. “Everybody’s talking a different language and has their own metrics – and that’s not healthy for a sales organization.” Non-compliance was also a concern for the organization. “You really have limited control from a corporate perspective what these spreadsheets look like.”
Overall, he says, the process for creating and sharing reports from salesforce.com was less than ideal. “Without a very robust reporting tool, we were forced into a situation that a lot of companies deal with today, which is manual data manipulation, reporting, and sending Excel spreadsheets around via email. As a corporate team, we were unable to take good best practices and efficiently provide them to the entire organization in a standardized, automated fashion.”
Reports available natively within salesforce.com do still play an important role in empowering end users to create ad hoc reports, he says, but they have inherent limitations. “You can’t do formulas; you can’t really group the data the way you’d like to.” Large volumes of data can also trigger issues. “If you need to run a large report, it may time out, or it may cut you off at the 2,000-row limit, forcing you to export to Excel.”
Once the Major Accounts division began looking for a report-sharing solution, the top requirement was the ability to integrate securely with Salesforce. “The last thing that we wanted to do was to give our end users another set of usernames and passwords that they had to remember,” so single-sign-on was a must, Farnsworth says. “It had to live inside Salesforce.”
The team also wanted to take advantage of the existing role hierarchies within salesforce.com to give users access to the right data. Because the hierarchies take a lot of work to maintain, he says, “We didn’t want to have to do that again in another system. We wanted to leverage and maintain a single security model.”
The solution had to be simple enough for sales teams to use with minimal coaching. “Keep it simple – that’s probably the number one requirement we hear from sales leadership,” Farnsworth says. “If it’s too complex, most will not embrace it.”
Sales leaders needed to ensure that associates could successfully use the tool to manage their pipeline, target the best opportunities, and engage the right people – that is, true decision makers – within prospect organizations. “These are all things that had been a challenge for us to see with the native reporting in Salesforce.”
To eliminate time spent creating and sharing reports manually, the team needed a solution that would schedule and run large reports automatically – but also needed the flexibility to run reports on demand.
In addition, the team wanted to connect to an on-site data warehouse that replicated with salesforce.com. “We wanted a tool that would not only do on-demand reporting,” Farnsworth says, “but also allow us to leverage the investment we’ve made with our on-premise, near real-time replicated database.”
In ADP’s Major Accounts division, designated support team members now build reports using Crystal Reports software installed on their laptop and then publish the reports to crystalreports.com, where they can be set to run on a schedule. When a report is run, it calls out to the Salesforce API, passes the user’s credentials, and pulls back the data into the report.
That means that instead of creating one-off spreadsheets that need to be redone each time, the support team can now create reports that are consumed over and over again when new data is pulled in during a scheduled update. Farnsworth estimates that this saves each team member at least one hour a day. “Now they can focus that additional hour on developing Crystal Reports – things that are sustainable.”
Once a week, sales leaders meet one-on-one with sales reps to review metrics, inspect the pipeline, and update the data. “These plan-and-review sessions hold the sales rep accountable for the data that they have in the system,” he says.
He estimates that the new reporting solution has led to a 10 percent improvement in team member coverage – since it’s now easier to evaluate if an account has the right sales team members on it and if those team members are reaching out to that account.
Because of the use of exception reports, data quality has improved by an estimated 15 percent. “If you don’t know the data is broken, nobody will fix it. Exception reports make it very easy to say, here are the 50 accounts that need something fixed.”
Field sales leaders save, on average, about 30 minutes a day now that reports and scorecards can be easily retrieved, Farnsworth says. “They’re not messing around with an Excel spreadsheet, and everyone is focused on the same key metrics to drive sales performance.”
- Manual data manipulation and reporting
- Inconsistencies and minimal standardization
- More than 8,000 reports, including duplicate, non-compliant, and one-off reports
- Limitations with native salesforce.com reporting
- Issues running reports with large data volumes
- Secure integration with salesforce.com, including single sign-on and the ability to reuse existing role hierarchies and security
- Simplicity and ease of use for end users
- On-demand and scheduled reporting
- On-premise database reporting
- Interactive dashboards
- 10 percent improvement in team member coverage
- 15 percent improvement in data quality due to exception reports
- Estimated 30 minutes per day average time savings for field sales leaders
- Estimated 60 minutes per day average time savings for divisional project managers