Enabling ideation and collaboration in a virtual world

According to the Center for Exhibition Research, there were approximately 9,400 B2B trade shows and exhibitions held in the U.S. in 2019, contributing $101 billion to the nation’s GDP. 

These shows were where companies could showcase their latest offerings, reconnect with old customers and meet new ones.  Customers would shop – either casually or seriously – to learn about new product offerings as well as attend educational events and network. 

While attending and exhibiting at tradeshows have been part of companies marketing and sales plans for years, the global spread of COVID-19 has brought trade shows to a screeching halt.   While some tradeshows and events are shifting to virtual formats, companies are being challenged to come up with new and inventive ways to share ideas and connect with their clients.   

For companies running their business on the NetSuite platform, we’ve long recognizethe potential value  of being able to leverage Opportunity and Estimate records and augmenting these records with an easy-to-use web interface to enable simple, digital collaboration.  As a result, eXtendPresentation was born. 

What exactly is eXtendPresentation?

The eXtendPresentation application bundle is a presentation tool that offers users the ability to create presentations and quotes with rich item data and images from within their NetSuite account.  Public links can be generated from the presentation elements available within the native NetSuite opportunity and estimate records so that they can be easily shared with prospects and customers.  From the responsive web interface, customers can submit comments on specific products and/or the entire presentation that are saved at the transaction level within the NetSuite record. 

How does it work?

When the eXtendPresentation bundle is installed, the NetSuite opportunity and estimate records are enhanced with a series of custom fields that facilitate collaboration. It all starts with the ability to generate a public presentation link specific to the transaction record.  Within that record, the user can specify an introductory message to appear in the header of the presentation along with specifying the sales rep or presenter. 

After the basic information has been entered, a user can select items for presentation with a custom modal window.   Within this window, a user can search for and select any item(s) from within their NetSuite account.   For each selected item, quantity-based pricing and/or images can be sourced to populate within the presentation.  Of course, any of these elements can be manually updated as necessary.  Users also have the ability include any additional charge elements that are not directly sourced from the item record(s).

After entering the opportunity or estimate record with the items they wish to present, the user can simply click a button to send an email to the prospect or customer that includes the link to the presentation that they’ve just created.  

Let the collaboration begin!

When the email recipient clicks on the ‘magic’ URL link contained within the email, they will be directed to a responsive web page.  From here, the recipient can review the ideas being set forth by the presenter. They can also provide feedback and comments that will be recorded directly back onto the source opportunity or estimate record in NetSuite. 

Enabling some automation

Once the email communication has been sent out, automated workflows can be authored (via clicks, not code) to monitor for a response to help keep the opportunity moving forward. 

For example, when the customer submits feedback, a workflow can raise an alert and/or send an email to the rep notifying them that a response has landed. Similarly, if the customer has not provided feedback within X amount of time, a workflow can raise an alert and/or send an email to the rep notifying them so that they may follow-up.

Since response data is written back onto the source transaction (either the opportunity or estimate), users within NetSuite are able to view response details that were submitted by the customer. 

The Bottom Line

Given these turbulent times, many companies are being forced to do more with less.  As a result, companies are looking to better leverage technology.  They are leaning on technology to help them improve their operations and processes that were long considered ‘good enough’.  Of course, the companies fortunate enough to be running on the NetSuite platform have a distinct advantage in this regard.

In previous articles, we’ve presented topics that were focused on enhancing the customer experience. Whether it was being able to obtain a simple one-click approval or being able to quickly and easily respond to the inevitable ‘where’s my order?’ question from a client.  There are many ways in which the NetSuite platform can be enhanced to streamline your internal processes while at the same time making it easier for your customers to do business with you.

If you are running NetSuite and would like to add some collaborative elements to help improve and strengthen the connections you have with your customers,  let’s have a conversation.

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