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The Interactive Selling ES bundle supports guided selling and makes it possible to provide better service to customers, helping them configure products or orders and helping to suggest related products, such as a USB cord or supplies to go with a printer sale, for example.

Three business objects in particular help provide this functionality:

  • Product Proposal, which provides information about possible offers to make to the customer based on order history or related products.
  • Product Configuration, which describes the various components that must be configured for a certain product. For a computer, this would include the monitor, the size of the disk, the amount of memory, the processor type, and so on. An enterprise service for this business object will allow real-time validation of configuration data so that the selected configurations can be validated on the fly.
  • Sales Price Specification, which offers enterprise services that read, write, create and update pricing data in SAP CRM. These services may be used to integrate with third-party price management systems.

In combination, these business objects and enterprise services are able to support a number of complex guided sales scenarios, which can generally be illustrated by the following sequence:

  • A sales representative receives a customer call and can begin to interpret customer needs for a product or open an existing sales order to make changes to the order configuration or product configuration as well as provide timely information to the customer. This activity can encompass the interaction of three distinct systems - SAP CRM, SAP ERP, and third-party tools.
  • As the sales representative moves through the process, he will receive product proposals geared toward the particular customer. This is supported via interconnecting SAP CRM with a third-party tool.
  • The customer is able to make an informed decision about the products and configurations that meet the customer's needs.
  • The sales representative is then able to configure the product and order it using SAP CRM.

This sequence is for illustration only; because the functionality is modular, it can be used flexibly as needed to mesh with the business process in question.

Interactive Selling (click to enlarge)


The benefits of this integration and the resulting functions enabled by it are twofold:

  • Alleviates the need for custom application development and complex integrations
  • Cost savings through reduced errors in sales order and product configuration, which will in turn lead to a reduction in reprocessing of orders (which translates into fewer calls to the call center and fewer product exchanges).

The Interactive Selling ES bundle also highlights the reusability of business objects and related enterprise services from other bundles in order to support new functionality. It reuses business objects and related enterprise services from the Order to Cash in CRM, Product Master Data Management, and Account and Contact Management enterprise service bundles.

For example, the Sales Order business object from the Order to Cash with CRM ES bundle is used in the Check Sales Order Update enterprise service, which supports the ability of sales professionals to verify changes made to a sales order as well as to receive related information such as pricing, delivery date, and so on.

In all, the Interactive Selling ES bundle leverages enterprise SOA through communications between SAP CRM and other systems such as SAP ERP and third-party sales-related applications via enterprise services.

Audience

This bundle is applicable to all industries where sales or service professionals using SAP CRM could be further enabled by the ability to propose products and to provide order and product configuration related information in real-time in order to meet a customer's unique requirements.

For details on Service Operations, Business Objects and Process Components, please check the ES Workplace.


How to Use This ES Bundle

The following sections explore use cases for the Interactive Selling ES bundle. Each is intended to provide concrete examples of the types of functions the bundle supports and shows how different outcomes can be achieved by using the enterprise services in different combinations.

Each use case shows how different outcomes can be achieved by using the enterprise services in different combinations. While these examples illustrate a few of the ways that this ES bundle could be used, the intention is to show the flexibility and reusability of these business objects and enterprise service operations so that you will have a clearer understanding of how to best deploy them in your own environment. This wiki is also the space for readers to share knowledge and collaborate with others who are implementing the Interactive Selling ES bundle.

Use Case 1: Offer SAP CRM Product Proposal Functionality to SAP ERP/Third-Party Applications

This use case describes how the enterprise services contained in the Interactive Selling ES bundle allow SAP ERP and third-party applications to easily integrate with SAP CRM in order to use SAP CRM to make relevant offers to end customers as well as to up sell, down sell, or cross sell to customers.

The user in this scenario is working in either SAP ERP or a third-party application and receives a call or enters into a web-based customer interaction. It is also possible that the customer is calling with a product question and during the interaction the opportunity arises for the call center agent to make an offer that is likely to interest the customer.

The interaction could also be driven by a marketing campaign where the customer already has the product and the company is attempting to sell an upgrade or companion product.

The enterprise services related to the Product Proposal functionality of SAP CRM can be invoked in one of two ways. The user is able to submit a request for product proposals to the CRM system based on the desire to up-sell, cross-sell, or down-sell depending upon the situation. It is also possible that as the user works through the call, proposals could be automatically pushed into the user interface. In this instance, something similar to a pop-up window could be populated with relevant product proposals based on customer information.

For example, a customer calls a telco company saying he has exceeded the phone minutes on his plan and is considering purchasing a new plan or switching to a new company because the current overage charges are more than he can afford. In this case, the call center agent would want to provide the customer with affordable service plan options to expand the number of available minutes.

Once invoked, the services in this bundle provide the agent with a narrow set of offerings to match the price and service range desired by the customer. The enterprise service invoked to obtain this information from CRM and ERP is Find Product Proposal by Elements.

The agent can then select a product from the product proposal list, which invokes the Read Material enterprise service. This enterprise service retrieves details of the proposed product from SAP CRM.

The following table summarizes these steps and the associated enterprise services:

Step

Enterprise Service Invoked

Step 1: The composite invokes a service to display product proposals.

Find Product Proposal by Elements

Step 2: The agent selects a proposal based on the customer's feedback.

(no enterprise service is invoked during this step)

Step 3: The composite invokes a service to display product details.

Read Material

Use Case 2: Enable Sales and Service Professionals to Provide Real-Time Information on Sales Order Configuration

In this scenario, sales and service professionals are able to check an order configuration (for example, delivery date, prices, and delivery method) or product configuration (such as options and accessories) in real-time.

The business objects and enterprise services in the Interactive Selling ES bundle will also allow the sales or service professional to change either the configuration of a product and provide information related to that change or change any aspect of a sales order and provide information on that any impact to total cost, delivery timeframe, and so on.

As in Use Case 1, it is also possible for the sales or service professional to make recommendations on other products or related accessories and features that the customer may be interested in. The user can then configure the product(s) or sales order and provide information on that change in real-time.

To begin, a customer has called wanting to check and possibly change some aspect of an order or to check on the delivery date.

During the course of the interaction, there may be a change made to the order. This could include an upsell offer to the customer or perhaps the customer learns a portion of the order is not yet available and requests that what is available be shipped now and the remainder sent when it is available.

This information is entered into the composite application. The user then either selects a confirm icon or link causing the composite application to invoke the Check Sales Order Update enterprise service. This service allows the system to check, for example, the effect the change may have on the total price for the order, effect on the delivery date, and if the change represents an available configuration.

The information is propagated to the user interface and can be read to the customer.

If the customer agrees to the changes, the sales or service professional is able to save those changes to the order. At this point the composite application invokes the Update Sales Order enterprise service.

The following table summarizes these steps and the associated enterprise services:

Step

Enterprise Service Invoked

Step 1: A sales or service professional receives a call from a customer requesting information on and changes to a sales order.

(no enterprise service is invoked during this step)

Step 2: Changes are entered into the system by the user.

(no enterprise service is invoked during this step)

Step 3: The user checks to see how the changes affect the sales order (such as price or delivery date).

Check Sales Order Update

Step 4: The information is presented in the user interface and read to the customer.

(no enterprise service is invoked during this step)

Step 5: If the customer agrees to the changes, the user can save them to the sales order.

Update Sales Order

Entering a new sales order

It is also possible that a new customer without an existent sales order calls to inquire about possible product and order configurations (inquiring about pricing information, features, delivery timeframe, and so on). To retrieve this information, the sales or service professional enters the customer supplied information into the CRM user interface and runs a check, which causes the composite application to invoke the Check Sales Order Create enterprise service.

If the customer agrees to purchase the products, the sales or service professional can create a sales order, which causes the composite application to invoke the Create Sales Order enterprise service.

Note: The Check Sales Order Update, Update Sales Order, Check Sales Order Create, and Create Sales Order enterprise services as well as the Sales Order business object are reused from the Order to Cash for CRM ES bundle.

The following table summarizes these steps and the associated enterprise services:

Step

Enterprise Service Invoked

Step 1: A new customer interaction is initiated and the customer asks about products and order configurations.

(no enterprise service is invoked during this step)

Step 2: The user enters customer-supplied information into the system to retrieve information such as price, delivery, and so on.

Check Sales Order Create

Step 3: If the customer agrees to purchase the products, the user can create a sales order.

Create Sales Order

Use Case 3: Enable Sales and Service Professionals to Provide Real-Time Information on Product Configuration from SAP CRM

Consider the customer interactions in Use Case 2 where customers either want to add a new product, change an existent product configuration, or select and purchase a product or set of products. In Use Case 2, we showed how the order configuration can be changed or created.

This use case shows how a sales or service professional during the above customer interaction - new customer or one with an existing sales order - can provide the customer with information related to a specific product configuration (as described in Use Case 2) and then validate the product configuration to ensure it can be created.

In this scenario, the sales or service professional is essentially window shopping with the customer in the CRM system by walking the customer through possible products and product configurations and selecting various options and checking in real-time if they constitute a valid product configuration.

The Check Product Configuration Creation enterprise service in SAP CRM checks the validity of the product configuration.

The following table summarizes this step and the associated enterprise service:

Step

Enterprise Service Invoked

Step 1: Once a product configuration is selected by the customer, the user can confirm the product configuration in SAP CRM.

Check Product Configuration Creation

Changes to a Product Configuration

In a scenario where a customer with an existing sales order wants to make a change to a product configuration, the agent makes the change and then invokes the Check Product Configuration Creation enterprise service operation to check the new configuration in SAP CRM.

The following table summarizes this step and the associated enterprise service:

Step

Enterprise Service Invoked

Step 1: Once the product configuration is changed, the user can confirm the change to the product configuration in SAP CRM.

Check Product Configuration Creation

Use Case 4: Enable Sales and Service Professionals to Provide Real-Time Information on Product Configuration Using a Third-Party System to Confirm Configuration

Some products are highly configurable and require the use of a special system to confirm their configurations. The Interactive Selling ES bundle provides outbound services designed to confirm such configurations.

Consider the customer interactions in Use Case 2 where customers either want to add a new product, change an existent product configuration, or select and purchase a product or set of products. In Use Case 2, we showed how the order configuration can be changed or created.

This use case shows how a sales or service professional during the above customer interaction - new customer or one with an existing sales order - can provide the customer with information related to a specific product configuration (as described in Use Case 2) and then validate the product configuration to ensure it can be created.

In this scenario, the sales or service professional is essentially window shopping with the customer in the CRM system by walking the customer through possible products and product configurations and selecting various options and checking in real-time with a third-party configuration system to see if they constitute a valid product configuration.

The composite invokes Request Product Configuration Creation to request the third-party product configuration system to initiate a product configuration session. Next, the composite invokes the Read Product Configuration Creation enterprise service to retrieve the results of the requested product configuration from the third party product configuration system, including whether the configuration is valid or not and why.

Finally, since this session was just exploratory, the user invokes the Request Product Configuration Cancellation enterprise service to end the product configuration session.

The following table summarizes these steps and the related enterprise services.

Step

Enterprise Service Invoked

Step 1: A sales or service professional walks a customer through various product configuration options.

(no enterprise service is invoked during this step)

Step 2: Based on customer responses, the user can ask the third-party application to open a product configuration session and check whether the configuration provided is valid.

Request Product Configuration Creation

Step 3: The composite reads the response from the third-party application that provides details on whether the configuration is valid or not and why.

Read Product Configuration

Step 4: The user ends the session with the third-party application.

Request Product Configuration Cancellation

Changes to a Product Configuration

In a scenario where a customer with an existing sales order wants to make a change to a product configuration, the user starts a session with third-party configuration system and sends the revised configuration for validation by invoking the Request Product Configuration Creation enterprise service operation.

To find out whether the revised configuration is valid, the user invokes the Read Product Configuration enterprise service, which retrieves a response from the third-party system. To end the session with the third-party system, the user invokes Request Product Configuration Cancellation enterprise service operation.

The following table summarizes these steps and the associated enterprise services:

Step

Enterprise Service Invoked

Step 1: The user walks the customer through changing the configuration.

(no enterprise service is invoked during this step)

Step 2: The user invokes a service to send the new configuration to the third-party application for validation.

Request Product Configuration Creation

Step 3: The user receives back a response from the third-party application, letting the user know whether the configuration is valid or not.

Read Product Configuration

Step 4: The user requests that the configuration be cancelled in the third-party application, which ends the session.

Request Product Configuration Cancellation

Use Case 5: Retrieve Pricing Information

This scenario describes how a third party application can access price master data saved in SAP CRM. Consider a scenario where a custom e-commerce application requires price master data in SAP CRM.

A customer at this e-commerce site is browsing the list of available products. She is interested in seeing the price of the product along with other product details.

The composite will invoke the Find Sales Price Specification to retrieve the list of price master data records applicable to this product. If the user wants to view the details of price master record, the composite can invoke the Read Sales Price Specification service to return detailed information about the price master record.

Use Case Note

In most cases, Find Sales Price Specification could be used to display a single price master data record for this kind of use case, an online store. In more complex pricing scenarios, this service would not be invoked by a composite from an online store but would be used internally by those in charge of maintaining pricing data. This use case is here so that we can illustrate the availability of the Find Sales Price Specification enterprise service operation as well as the Read Sales Prices Specification enterprise service since the Read service returns detailed data. Such data is typically not displayed to an end customer.

This scenario can be described as a continuation of the customer interaction started in the earlier use cases?products have been proposed based on customer needs.
Now the customer is seeking information on pricing. In this case, the user would select an icon or link to retrieve pricing data relative to the product configuration. This action causes the CRM system to invoke the Read Sales Price Specification in order to retrieve accurate data relative to a specific product configuration from a third-party price management system.
If the customer also has some form of price agreement with the company (such as volume discounts or contract pricing), the user can search for applicable customer-specific information and apply that information or other criteria to the product. This action invokes the Find Sales Price Specification by Elements enterprise service.

Use Case Note

In this use case, we are treating pricing as a separate issue from configuration in order to simplify the use cases. In practice, the decision about which product configuration to request is often dependent on pricing, so in a live composite, it is likely that these services and those in use cases 2, 3, and 4 would be used in tandem to arrive at a configuration that is optimal for the customer both in terms of features and pricing.

The following table summarizes these steps and the associated enterprise services:

Step

Enterprise Service Invoked

Step 1: The user selects an option to retrieve pricing data relative to a product configuration.

Read Sales Price Specification

Step 2: The user can then search for and apply customer specific pricing information.

Find Sales Price Specification by Elements

Use Case 6: Integrating Third-Party Pricing Applications

In this scenario, the owner of a price management system is doing a number of things such as defining rules around pricing policies, planning prices for different products or different market segments, and the like. The third-party price management system is therefore being used for planning and price optimization and ultimately the prices are pushed out to SAP CRM and/or SAP ERP.

The services in the Interactive Selling ES bundle allow third-party price management systems to create or change price information in SAP CRM. Further, prices could be changed one at a time (synchronously), but it is more likely the operation would be run in a batch, asynchronous mode.

To begin, the owner of the price management system has gone through some analysis and makes the decision to reduce prices by 5 percent. He or she is then able to make this change in the price management system and have the pricing automatically replicated to the CRM system using the services in this bundle.

In order to change prices as a bulk operation, the third-party application invokes the Change Sales Price Specification as Bulk enterprise service.

For a single price change, the third-party application would invoke the Update Sales Price Specification enterprise service.

For a new set of products where pricing information has not yet been created, the third-party application owner is able to input pricing data for that set of products and replicate it to the CRM system. In order to create prices as a bulk operation , the third-party application invokes the Create Sales Price Specification as Bulk enterprise service.

The application owner can also use the services in this bundle to create a single price record. For example, a special discount may need to be applied to a new customer based on contractual agreements made with the customer. In this instance, the third-party system would invoke the Create Sales Price Specification enterprise service.

The following table summarizes these steps and the related enterprise services:

Step

Enterprise Service Invoked

Step 1: The owner of a price management system makes the decision to raise prices 5 percent across the board.

(no enterprise service is invoked during this step)

Step 2: The new price information is entered into the third-party system and saved, which invokes a service to replicate the pricing data to the CRM system.

Change Sales Price Specification as Bulk

Step 3: The user then notices a need to change a single price (for example, because materials for a particular product requires an additional 2 percent increase).

(no enterprise service is invoked during this step)

Step 4: The user enters the information into the third-party system and saves the change, invokes a service to replicates the price to the CRM system.

Update Sales Price Specification

Step 5: The user then establishes pricing for a group of new products

(no enterprise service is invoked during this step)

Step 6: The user enters and saves the pricing information in the third-party system.

Create Sales Price Specification as Bulk

Step 7: A customer calls and negotiates a contract.

(no enterprise service is invoked during this step)

Step 8: The user saves the pricing information for that customer in the third-party system, which invokes a service to replicate it to CRM

Create Sales Price Specification

Future Directions

Future directions for this ES bundle will be market-driven.

System Requirements

Related ES Bundles

  • Product Master Data Management
  • Order-to-Cash in CRM
  • Account and Contact Management

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