The custom add-in for Outlook means staff have immediate and prominent access to useful data without having to hunt for it. A lead can be added to the system the moment it appears in your Outlook inbox.
Works seamlessly with existing company CRM systems and databases. Integrates with external APIs for credit checking and more.
The hard-coded business development workflow we had built for Scott Brownrigg a number of years before had done sterling service, but needed some updates - more flexibility, better integration with other company systems and a way of getting the relevant information in front of senior staff without them having to hunt for it.
Approval and notification workflows needed to ensure that other areas of the business were aware of new leads, that sufficient time and resources were available, that the client was suitable and credit-worthy, and the project fitted in with the overall company strategy. The collaborative nature of lead generation and business development meant lots of comments and feedback were getting buried in email threads.
Existing company CRM systems and databases had details of thousands of clients, teammates and projects - information that is really useful when responding to new leads and putting together pitches. We needed to unlock this potential.
We started by developing a feature-rich administration interface to build flexible workflows without requiring technical expertise. Administrators can quickly build a series of forms and gateways to capture the information required at each stage of the workflow, and send notifications, run checks, and request approval before allowing the lead to continue to the next step. The workflow forms can include any number of fields of different types:
The forms are followed by editable gateways that run checks of the data supplied, send notifications and approval requests to the relevant parties, and branch to subsequent steps:
Contact and staff data is imported from existing company databases via an administration interface to specify datasources and import queries. A system of administrator-defined triggers sends data back to the company databases to keep them up to date.
“We were looking to update our 'Enquiry process' and Sling has definitely fulfilled this - particularly by using the Outlook add-in that makes access quick and ensures great team engagement.”
Staff can use Sling via the web-based application, or the Outlook add-in. The web app offers a rich interface that lets them manage live leads, add and browse notes added to contacts and projects, and provides a dashboard overview of the data that can be searched and filtered. Beyond filling in the workflow forms, the app provides a rich interface for adding collaborative notes to individual answers, providing feedback in the approval process, rejection and resubmission, and a full history of the lead.
The Outlook add-in provides a more focused interface that pre-filters the data based on the email the user is currently reading. The add-in can be used to quickly list the leads and projects a particular contact has been involved in, add new leads with fields pre-filled from the email metadata, and add notes to the contact for other staff members to see in future. Workflow approvals and comments can also be added directly in Outlook.
Sling is available to all staff involved in business development. The new workflow is now much more flexible and responsive than before, and having personalised, relevant information available directly in Outlook has made collaboratiing on new business much easier.
The direct link with other company systems reduced the administrative burden and made the tool immediately useful from launch.
Integrating the workflow gateways directly with the Creditsafe API gives finance staff an immediate idea of a client's creditworthiness, allowing them to approve or reject leads before too many resources have been committed to the work.
Simon Jardine, Technology Director at Scott Brownrigg thinks the integration with other company databases is a key feature: “From a technical standpoint the ease of setting up processes and intergrating to our back end systems has meant we can use the solution in a multitude of ways. Giving us the flexibility and agility to capture and use data to drive business processes in efficient ways.”