Guide to Sales Order Automation

Processing sales orders allows your organization to transact with your customers, manage stock, and generate invoices. Done manually, you’ll encounter data entry errors, extra costs, and a poor customer experience. Irrespective of industry, business process automation will bring multiple benefits to your company. Sales order automation will increase accuracy, reduce costs, and speed up processes.

Here’s how Rossum handles sales automation. How we can transform your business operations. Book your free demo today.

If you’re looking to better manage your sales orders, this guide will help you improve efficiency and accuracy. From understanding what a sales order is, to streamlining processes, this guide covers all you need to know about effective sales order management.

“61% of businesses using sales order automation exceeded revenue expectations in 2020.” HubSpot

Let’s start with some basic sales order definitions…

What is a sales order?

A sales order is a document created when a customer places an order for a product or services. This legally binding contract – transaction record – includes all the details of the transaction…

  • Order effective date
  • Company name and contact information
  • Customer billing information
  • Customer shipping information
  • Price before taxes/VAT
  • Delivery/freight/shipping charges
  • Total price after taxes/VAT
  • Signatures
  • Product details
  • Pricing information
  • Shipping terms
  • Other essential terms and conditions

Why are sales orders important?

Sales orders are an essential part of the sales process, ensuring both parties are clear on the details of the transaction. Benefits of using sales orders include…

  • Efficiency
  • Boosted sales order processing
  • Improved customer relations
  • Clear expectations for buyers and sellers
  • Minimized mistakes and disputes
  • Tracked sales performance over time
  • Crucial logistical and financial data
  • Identified areas for improvement

How to create a sales order

Now that you know what a sales order is and why it’s important, here’s how to create one. Every sales order should include…

  • Date of the sale
  • Name and contact information for customer and seller
  • Description of the goods or services
  • Quantity goods or services
  • Price of each item
  • Total price of the order
  • Payment terms
  • Delivery details
  • Return details

This document must be created before any goods or services are exchanged. Once both parties have signed the sales order, it’s a binding contract.

How sales orders and purchase orders work together

Within the order management lifecycle, there are two main components – procure-to-pay and order-to-cash. 

  • Purchase order is part of procure-to-pay
  • Sales order is part of order-to-cash

Purchase order

Goods or services are requested from a seller with a purchase order. The customer provides a list of the items they want to buy, along with descriptions and quantities. The vendor agrees to provide these items at a specified price.

Sales order

A sales order is used by vendors that sell products or services. The vendor receives the purchase order from the customer and returns a sales order to the customer. This confirms the price, required goods, and delivery estimates.

What is sales order automation?

Sales order automation – SOA – streamlines time-consuming, manual tasks in the sales processdata entry, data validation, segregation, approval workflows, etc. Whether it’s sales, customer support, finance, and operations. 

A software solution that brings machine learning, computer vision, natural language processing (NLP), and robotic process automation (RPA) to the table. Automating the order receipt process end to end. Processing purchase orders and other sales documents into your ERP system.

Automating the sales process ensures accuracy and efficiency. No data entry errors. Fast processing time. 

It also means that your customers and prospects can learn about and buy your products with little to zero human interaction. Creating a frictionless sales cycle.

While the automation of workflows is starting to become the norm across industries, some business leaders are unaware of the benefits it brings to the sales order process.

McKinsey states that although 30%+ of sales activities can be automated, only one in four businesses have automated at least one sales process.

Which makes no sense when you consider how much time sales reps spend on tasks other than selling…

Sales force graphic showing sales reps spend 72% of time on non-selling tasks, and only 28% of time on selling. Sales order automation will shift this balance.

According to Salesforce, sales reps spend 28% of their time selling.

How does sales order automation work?

Cutting out repetitive manual tasks streamlines the sales order process. Allowing your team to focus on sales and customer services. Sales order automation software can automate…

  • Data capture from multiple sources
  • Data entry
  • Validation
  • Uploading data to your business system
  • Processing the order from receipt to approval
  • Customer communication
  • Transaction retrieval for audits and compliance

Sales order automation basics

Sales order automation creates a frictionless sales process by pushing the sales order through the sales funnel – awareness to purchase – at speed. With minimized human intervention. Increasing efficiency and eliminating errors.

With advances in sales order automation tools, it’s possible to automate the capture of structured data such as purchase history. As well as unstructured data in spoken and written documents – emails, faxes, call transcripts, etc.

Monitoring your sales cycles will identify insights to help you improve your sales process. What’s working with each demographic. Which location. And, you’ll be flexible enough to handle the inevitable seasonal changes.

Benefits of sales order automation

Improving customer service, reducing costs, eliminating risk.

The automated extraction of sales order data eliminates manual data entry tasks and sluggish validation. Cutting down the need for human intervention means your sales people can go back to selling your products.

The knock-on effect is increased customer satisfaction as your sales team can address customer needs faster, and increased employee satisfaction.

Check out the benefits of SOA in more detail…

Eliminate human error

Hey, we all make mistakes. Fat fingers are an occupational hazard for those spending their days punching a keyboard.

Unfortunately, while a spelling mistake for me is bad, it’s not devastating. For those tasked with repetitive data entry, it can result in financial losses for their company and a damaged reputation.

Automation software eliminates human error. It works 24/7, increasing efficiency. 

Increase satisfaction and productivity

Why force your sales team to perform repetitive and boring manual tasks, when their skill lies in bringing new customers to your business?

Why force your sales team to perform repetitive and boring manual tasks, so they burn out and start looking for new jobs?

Sales order management software that automates your sales process frees up your workforce, so it can concentrate on selling. Work on higher priority tasks. Tasks that only a human can perform.

People will be more engaged, more efficient, and more satisfied in their job.

Increase accuracy and data quality

Manual capture brings the risk of inconsistent data, which can result in downtime and reduced efficiencies. If inaccurate data goes unnoticed, your sales team will have to spend their time correcting mistakes and dodging new ones. 

Automating the extraction of data and storing in a centralized system means your team has a single source of truth. You can be sure that teams across your organization are singing from the same song sheet. Accessing a single set of accurate data.

Improve the customer experience

With your sales team released from the burden of performing manual tasks, it can spend its time working with customers to improve their experience.

Frazzled sales people buried under paperwork are hard pushed to find enough time to deal with customers on a personal level. And let’s be honest, we all want a friendly rep personalizing their communication.

While increased data accuracy benefits your internal operations, it goes a long way to improving the customer experience. No more late deliveries, incorrect orders, billing mistakes.

Find customer insights

AI-powered sales order automation tools mine valuable customer information that will help when developing future sales strategies. Understanding buying habits, preferences, and pain points means that you can target your customers and prospects more effectively. Meeting their real needs.

How Rossum automates sales order processing

AI-powered automation will transform your sales order process. Improving your company’s operations. Which in turn leads to increased productivity and revenue, stronger vendor relationships, and a better customer experience.

Rossum’s AI document processing platform can automate sales order processing with precision and high-speed performance.

Bus Industrial Tools customer case study

The Bus Industrial Tools had a goal. To streamline and improve the purchasing power of its customers. While large companies used EDI – electronic data interchange, small clients preferred to stick with PDFs.

The company’s business rule-based data extraction system was proving slow and unreliable when faced with different style document layouts. 

Working with Rossum, Bus Industrial Tools improved its order-to-cash workflow process. Reducing the sales team’s workload and improving employee and customer satisfaction. The company estimates a saving of 80% of time previously spent on managing the order-to-cash process.

“Before learning about Rossum, I doubted that an Intelligent Document Processing (IDP) software could deliver high-quality output without investing much effort at the deployment stage. Rossum proves the opposite. After a short set-up phase, we can now process our sales orders considerably faster, with much fewer errors and higher overall scalability. As a result, the team at Bus Industrial Tools now has more time to focus on important tasks instead of the repetitive input work.”
Thijs Engel, Business Intelligence specialist at Bus Industrial Tools

Intelligent document processing uses advanced machine learning to find and understand information, classify documents, and automate multiple tasks, such as pre-processing, data capture, validation, and post-processing. Combined with seamless Rossum integrations with your existing systems, you can maximize the efficiency and accuracy of your sales order process.

Our latest integration? We’re now an official SAP Certified Partner. We’ve also launched a new SAP Certified integration with SAP S/4HANA Cloud to import SAP master data and streamline end-to-end document workflows.

Head to our eBook Automating Sales Orders: How IDP Can Help to see what this solution will do for your business. From reducing costs and errors to generating more revenue.

If you’d like to see how Rossum handles sales automation and how we can transform your business operations, book a free demo today.

Drive efficiency with sales order automation

Transform how your sales team processes orders while enhancing customer experiences. Use fast and accurate AI-document processing to drive more revenue.