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Companywide Sales Force Office Automation

Catapulted Revenues with a New Sales Force Office Automation Program

Situation:

One of the nation's largest homebuilders had 155 model home sales offices in new subdivisions around the United States staffed by over 300 salespeople who sold Richmond American lots and homes. These salespeople would assist prospective homebuyers in selecting lots and model types, adding options, arranging financing, and signing the contract documents for their new homes. This was all done manually-there was no computer office automation in place. The number of up-sell, cross-sell, and follow-up opportunities that were squandered every day as a result of not having an integrated office automation solution was enormous.

Action Plan:

  • Submitted a proposal for automating all 155 sales offices and providing networked computers for salespeople.
  • Modified a third-party lot/model inventory and pricing software package to be integrated with proprietary systems. This system allowed for nightly data transfers to and from corporate headquarters, the regional sales offices, and all the new home sales offices.
  • Utilized Microsoft Windows for Workgroups 3.11 to build mini-networks in each sales office to ensure that all salespersons were working from a common inventory database.
  • Designed an automated contract printing process that cut contract signing time from more than three hours to less than 30 minutes.
  • Developed an interface that could call up any offered model on any lot, add options, and arrive at a price within seconds. Home specifications could be changed "on the fly," instantaneously adjusting the buyer's price.
  • Implemented a follow-up system that gathered information from the prospective homebuyer throughout the entire purchase process, allowing salespeople to systematically follow up and offer upgrades and improvements.
  • Integrated the company's system with that of its sister financing company so homebuyers could be pre-qualified for a home loan and salespeople had the capability of up-selling within the buyer's financing limits.

Results:

The pilot system was put in place within six months, with a final release a year later. The new automated system reduced the necessary paperwork by a factor of 10, freeing salespeople to concentrate on selling and following up on prospects in their databases. Automation of the 155 sales offices and integration with the homebuilding inventory system as well as with the mortgage company resulted in a combination of increased sales due to productivity, savings from homebuilding mistakes due to the misreading of handwritten work orders, increased up-sells, and increased mortgage sales due to cross-selling. Annual renewable gross revenues grew by $29 million and $6.5 million was added annually to the company's bottom line.

 

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