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Sales management

Compaq’s sales-focused intranet, called Planet East, was an immediate success when it was launched in June 1999 ... so successful, in fact, that page views reached 100,000 per month within six weeks. Sales reps pressed for more functionality, while resource demands to post and manage content and keep the site running became overwhelming.

Compaq either had to increase staffing or find a software solution, according to Joe Batista, director and chief "creatologist" of Internet and enterprise initiatives for Compaq.

"In addition to time-to-market and time-to-solution, there is a new measurement that must be met: time-to-client," explains Batista. "The Internet is all about velocity and time-to-client. How soon can you respond to give the client what he or she needs?"

To gain control of the situation, Compaq chose Field.First intranet software from Conjoin, a KM sales productivity tool that delivers knowledge and marketing materials to the sales force in the field. With several Field.First modules and Conjoin's intranet backbone, Compaq can provide "leading-edge functionality to the field and maintain the site with existing resources," according to Batista.

"The system is one of the pillars of our sales effort," he says. "It collects, categorizes and assimilates the vital information that our salespeople use to close sales."

Salespeople have access to up-to-date product, marketplace, competitive and customer information from anywhere at any time. "Salespeople download and customize sales presentations, conduct cyber-conferences and get briefed on new product and competitor information on the fly," adds Batista.

Now most of the 1,400 users access the site daily. They include sales reps, sales support and marketing staff responsible for publishing content to the intranet.

After the first six months of cyber-sales support, Compaq estimates that its salespeople are 37% more efficient at responding to clients' needs and requests. They can use the intranet to assemble and customize materials for the client.

Compaq also estimates it can refine and distribute content more than 50% faster. And the quality of the content is higher because marketing information is published, shared and used more quickly; feedback is immediate; and content usage is tracked so marketing and sales can evaluate what is most useful to them .

Compaq reports that productivity in creating sales presentations has increased by 18%. Previously, salespeople would either use generic marketing materials or spend days customizing a proposal or presentation. Using the intranet, customized materials can be produced in less than an hour and distributed via e-mail, according to Batista.

The intranet's cyber-conferencing feature enables PowerPoint presentations via the Internet, which cuts travel expenses to the extent that the system paid for itself in three months.

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