Erasing the Paperwork

By Heather Baldwin

Love to sell but hate the paperwork? This month PeopleSoft and strategic partner JustTalk will roll out a service enabling salespeople to capture, access and share contact and scheduling data over a phone. The service comes none too soon for the cell-phone generation. Need to check a telephone number? A few voice commands will get it for you and dial the number to boot. Need to check your schedule or add a meeting to your calendar? A few magic words into your cell phone and it’s done.

The two companies integrated JustTalk’s speech recognition technology with PeopleSoft’s sales force automation (SFA) software to create the new service. Tim Van Cleave, a PeopleSoft regional sales manager who has been using the technology for about a month, says the service has been a call management panacea. Before JustTalk, he stored contact numbers in his cell phone, on a PDA, in his computer and on scraps of paper – none of which seemed to be where he needed them. Now, says Van Cleave, all the numbers he needs are in his database and just a phone call away.

“A lot of the activities I need to perform in the sales process get written down on a scrap of paper and the paper gets lost,” he adds. “When I get out of a sales call, now I can add my ‘to-dos’ into JustTalk,” which in turn updates the calendar in the SFA system.

Eventually PeopleSoft and JustTalk hope to make an even bigger dent in eliminating paperwork. Down the road, says Pamela Emery, JustTalk’s vice president of strategic planning, salespeople will be able to fill out sales forecasts, update opportunities and create call reports over their cell phones. Just imagine: one day you’ll walk out the door of one client’s office and on the drive to your next customer you’ll record details of that last call in a .WAV file. You’ll then have the option to email that file to your sales manager. By the time you pull into your next appointment, your call report is complete, your schedule updated and your manager briefed. You might even have time for lunch.