A leading provider of payroll and HR services in the United States has used the K2 business automation platform to transform sales processes, enabling representatives to focus on selling as efficiently as possible. Now, sales documents can be processed in hours instead of the three to four days as previously experienced.
When you have a world-class sales force spanning the entire United States, you want to ensure that these high-value resources can sell to the best of their ability without putting technology hurdles in their place. This is often easier said than done and Proliant, a leader in delivering fully integrated, cloud-based People Tools that simplify payroll and all HR processes, knows this all too well.
Adam Clayton, CFO at Proliant spearheaded the strategic initiative to digitally transform the sales process. He tasked the “Intranet Systems Team,” led by Cory Loriot and Arthur Orekyeh, with the goal of building solutions that would aid the Proliant National sales team to sell unhindered.
Digging in, Cory Loriot, Senior SharePoint Solutions Architect at Proliant saw first-hand the difficulties of automating the sales process. “When I started, we had a CMS with a lot of documents and files that people would have to download, fill out and then either scan or email as part of the sales process, so cross-departmental business process automation wasn’t there. One of our goals is to grow exponentially, and the baseline for that would have to be repeatable processes that are digitally automated,” says Cory Loriot.
Additionally, business models were designed using complex and hard to maintain technologies. As the CFO, Adam Clayton had a close tie to how the sales processes implemented quote management: “We had an archaic method of quoting by using Excel documents with enforced rules via custom scripting, so any time there was a new rate update we’d have to go in and edit the VBA code to change the rate, test the calculation, and update the permission rules. Being able to offload that process and having an easier interface to manage business processes and workflows was something I knew we needed.”
In short, Proliant identified three objectives for which a digital process automation (DPA) platform would help modernize their sales process to grow revenue and improve the customer journey:
- Build efficiencies internally to provide a crossorganizational single view of the truth.
- Make it easier to keep and track data on the prospect to the customer journey.
- Address the business logic embedded in Excel and other manual documents to make the quote management process easier to scale.
Proliant looked at both K2 and Nintex to address their automation needs, with a specific set of objectives for integrating sales processes. Key stakeholders included the COO, the Senior VP of sales, the CFO, and the CEO.
Ultimately, Proliant chose K2 over Nintex. “Nintex was ok for simple approval scenarios, but the K2 platform is much more robust and offers so much more when we build end-to-end systems with 3rd party integration, robotics and strong forms and workflow capabilities,” says Arthur Orekyeh - Senior SharePoint Solutions Developer / K2 Lead. Proliant needed to integrate with back-end systems such as Microsoft SharePoint, Microsoft SQL Server, and DocuSign, and while Nintex can do some of those things, it’s less native for end users to build those kinds of connections than it is with SmartObjects and the services of K2.
“K2 really filled the gap...We can start taking things that people do without even thinking and automate them so that other people can do them without having to know… This will really help us move the company to the next level,” says Cory Loriot.
For their first project, Proliant chose to develop a Sales Quote Generation tool (Quote Builder) using K2. The existing process required District Sales managers to use an Excel-based form with macros and VBA code to create quotes. The Excel form had a multitude of embedded business rules, which made it very difficult to maintain and update. It was a challenge to update the form to accommodate rate changes as well as everchanging business requirements, such as new product offerings, service pricing changes, and various incentive rules. From a reporting and analytics standpoint, the existing process made it difficult to track sales quote metadata. Finally, the Sales team was generating, routing and updating quotes via email and physically delivering paper quotes to clients for signatures.
In addition to digitizing the quote process for efficiency and tracking purposes, Proliant used K2’s mobile platform capabilities to make it easier for sales representatives to access information and build quotes on the go.
Integration Spotlight: CRM
Central to the success of Proliant’s Quote Builder project was the development of a custom workflow solution for their CRM systems, built using the .NET framework. This environment was scoped and designed specifically to support Proliant’s distinct sales processes, with a goal to provide an end-to-end customer service platform for account managers. Previously, Proliant had disparate CRM systems for operations, client implementation, and sales.
The K2 workflow for the CRM, which includes several integration points, is as follows:
- A representative makes a sale, they determine which products and offerings are part of the opportunity, and go through discovery questions to determine implementation, scope, and price.
- Once completed, Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services is used to generate a quote.
- The PDF tool inside the K2 PDF SmartObject creates files from SmartForms built for contract generation.
- Microsoft SharePoint is used to store MSA and related addendums.
- Microsoft SharePoint integration with K2 is used to collect specific product addendums based on selected services.
The MSA and all required addendums are bundled up into a DocuSign envelope and sent to appropriate internal and external contacts for signatures.
Update: A Successful Upgrade to K2 Five
Proliant recently upgraded to the most current version of the K2 Platform, K2 Five, and has immediately seen the tangible benefits.
When we started working with the new designer on K2 Five, we were very happy. The user experience was night and day and was just so much better overall. Those who had preferred Nintex were now happy that we had gone with K2.“ says Loriot.
K2’s low-code application development platform has given Proliant the power to transform crucial business operations, with:
- A seamless and intuitive end-to-end integration with back end systems –applications such as DocuSign, Microsoft SharePoint, SQL Server Databases and SQL Server Reporting Services;
- Adaptability to efficiently change business requirements in real-time;
- The ability to build and empower a citizen developer community to scale the adoption of K2 for critical tasks.
Proliant’s new Quote Builder solution built on K2, has taken what previously would have required three to four days—from building a quote in the Excel model, printing it in a format that is useable for delivery and getting necessary approvals for various adjustments—down to a matter of hours. The solution has deployed to Proliant’s entire salesforce and they’ve seen significant improvements in time-to-quote for sales representatives, time savings from finance in introducing price changes, and management efficiencies addressing permissions and one-off client demands.
“K2 is one of the main reasons we’re successful with our DPA initiative. We’re hungry to grow, and if we want to double in size, especially at the operations level, we have to have business process management that really screams,” says Arthur Orekyeh
K2 and digital process automation are creating a new paradigm at Proliant. They can now enhance their ability to do business more efficiently, and therefore improve the way their representatives can close sales opportunities. Proliant continues to leverage this lean approach to automation as they proceed to streamline processes for the Operations and Implementation teams.
Proliant powers the #PeopleFirst Economy. We deliver fully integrated, cloud-based People Tools that simplify payroll and all HR processes while improving accuracy and ensuring full industry compliance for over 4,000 customers in multiple industries in all 50 states. We believe that with the right HR technology, businesses can thrive in this ever-changing world. But technology isn’t the answer alone. We arm you with an award-winning professional services team to solve HR-related business problems. We offer the highest quality personalized customer service possible.