Using Exel sheet to have informed sales discussion
Connecting dots is a crucial ability for anyone. You have to be able to connect the seemingly unrelated dots. When you do this, incredible things happen. You create a new product, services or you find a new way to delight your clients.
As a product manager working with the Purification industry I have delivered some interesting projects. Anything that would improve sales and user experience was my remit. I have yet to have such a broad remit in my career again.
Filters are made of different components, which include the batton, end fitting at the top and the bottom. The filters have different micron ratings (the smallest size of particles it can retain) and different heights as well. Depending on the solutions, you have different O-rings as well. If the liquid is a harsh chemical you will need a solid chemically compatible O-ring vs a fluid that is just water, where a silicone O-ring should suffice.
Below is how a typical table looks like. If you have to buy a filter, you will need to decide on all these variables.
It is difficult for any salesperson to remember all this details. It is also not possible to remember whether these filters are in stock. And if they are available what is the price? The price varies depending on the micron size (smaller the micron size, the more expensive the filter is), the height of the filter (a 20-inch filter is more expensive than 10 inch) and the O-ring, encapsulated Viton O-ring is 3 times more expensive than the simple silicone O-ring.
Because of this complexity, the conversation between the user and the salesperson had to be offline. And as we know, out of sight is out of mind. Was there a better way for this process to happen in real-time? Whether the salesperson could talk about all the options that were available, once which were not. The pricing and the lead time if the filter option was available?
The solution at the time was to bring the manufacturing data and basic costs into an Excel sheet and the code of the various components fed into the Excel sheet. As a user, you had to pick from a drop-down menu any options that were possible. Based on the code generated, VLOOKUP would then bring in the relevant information about whether the filter option was possible or not and if the filter was available what was the pricing.
This solution resulted in the sales velocity to increase and the salespeople were able to have a much more informed conversation with the users.
Cover image by Clint Adair via Unsplash