An old, veteran salesman used to tell me stories about the good ol’ days of enterprise technology sales from back in the late 1970’s.
He spoke of the fierce competition that existed between his company and a few others – all of which would one day become multi-billion dollar global giants. He described how in those days, before computers were commonly used in the workplace, everyone used to track their sales prospects data on paper or on white boards.
The competitive sales strategies employed in those days resembled a spy thriller. One of the sales techniques my colleague used was “dumpster diving”: he would wade through the garbage of his competition in search of their lists of prospects. Another ploy was using binoculars to look into the windows of his competition and try to read their white boards. So much as has changed since the days when people relied on paper and whiteboards to track data. Basic spreadsheets gave way, first to desktop client-based sales software such as Goldmine, and then to powerful cloud-based SaaS solutions like Salesforce which are loaded with business intelligence features.
When new markets emerge, and there is a need to manage all the data and moving parts surrounding them, we are reminded that manual processes are inefficient and just don’t work at scale. Business incentives provided to corporations by government agencies is one such fast growing industry, with a current value north of $100 billion just in the U.S. every single year. Right now, many corporations and consultants are driving the workflow and recordkeeping in this industry through spreadsheets, and it harkens back to the days when a trip to the dumpster could mean a face-to-face meeting with your competitor’s VP of Sales.
When the data needed for compliance with government incentives is tracked on spreadsheets, the files must be passed around to all those with important roles to play, such as tax, finance, real estate, HR, line of business managers, legal, and even government affairs. And when corporations hire consultants to do most of the heavy lifting around compliance, the consultants, too, use old-fashioned manual processes that are not scalable. They create spreadsheets, copy and paste the same data, send these spreadsheets to their clients via email for approvals, and hope when they get the spreadsheets back the formulas or data have not been changed. It’s scary when you realize that 88% of spreadsheets have errors – it’s also been called “pandemic” by an expert on bad spreadsheet practices.
BIGcontrols embodies my old colleague’s spirit of doing everything that can be done to help your company make the most of government incentives — while preventing the expensive and embarrassing consequences of errors in compliance and recordkeeping. And while the story here has focused around compliance, the strategic benefits of using a tax technology platform like BIGcontrols include a single system of record and business intelligence insights on your government incentives.
Consultants need technology to enable their services for the modern day delivery of value, and the BIGcontrols product, like Salesforce, makes paper-based solutions and spreadsheets a thing of the past.