Thursday, October 24, 2013

Generating quotes with Google Apps Script and Solve360

Norada's Solve360 CRM is a low cost but very fully-featured cloud-based CRM, and while it integrates deeply with Google Apps, it still needs some custom work every now and then to unlock its full potential. Luckily, we can offer it a helping hand by leveraging the Solve360 API and Google Apps Script.

Rick Klassen of Klassen Specialty Hydraulics contacted us at InterlockIT.com to see if we could streamline the "tedious" quoting system that they had been using: searching for a similar quote, editing it manually to reflect the new requirements, and then saving it to a new folder on a local server, all followed by opening a spreadsheet that doubled as a database and adding the details of the new quote. And forget about trying to create a new quote from a mobile device or when you were out of the office!

We found that with a bit of custom work, we could make Rick's life much easier, and that's exactly what we did. Here's how.

To start, we need to establish the conditions that allow Solve360 and Google Apps to talk to each other--we want to automate repetitive things, so an activity template is used in Solve360. We insert it, and kick off the first of two scripts by clicking "Create new quote":

Insert an activity template to get started.
Now we can use Google Forms to gather the information we need.

The first stage of our quote generator. This particular utility has a number of these pages, with various branches of logic.

Once the user submits the Google Form, the second script is executed. The second script processes the latest submission, reading it from the spreadsheet in which Google Form submissions are saved, and performs a number of actions on it. In a later blog post, we'll detail exactly how some of the scripts work.
Success!
The user receives the above email and in one click can view the completed quote, an excerpt of which is below. It's a live Google Document so the user can continue to make changes to the quote.


Finally, the Solve360 record for the contact is once more updated. This time we can see that the script has added two follow-ups with different dates, created a direct link back to the above Google Document so it can be reached quickly and easily, and inserted an Opportunity record that allows you to track the progress of the deal as it moves forwards.

Here are the final activities that the script adds to the Solve360 record.
As Rick told us, "We have a powerful and flexible solution that not only saves time in the quote creation process, but takes care of the data entry, management, and even reminds our sales people to follow up - all automatically." Creating quotes can now be done from anywhere with an internet connection, and everyone who needs access has it right away.

"These days my colleagues and I can create quotes in a snap (from desktop or mobile), and we each get an email whenever a new quote has been created so we can collaborate on it in real-time, then send it to the customer. This can all happen in a matter of minutes from start to finish."

All this is done in the background, completely transparently to the user, and takes the hard work out of creating quotes, leaving you to focus on the important things—like closing the deal.