Sales managers can easily be responsible for large numbers of field sales reps actively executing on sales operations throughout their various markets at random times each day. And when these reps are working remotely throughout their residing countries, it presents even more complexity for managers seeking to gather insights around field execution activities.
With so many variables contributing to performance, decreased transparency blurs management’s ability to track, analyze, and improve the activities around their company’s field execution strategy. Moreover, many of the existing sales tools are built to support the workflow of inside sales roles, making the technology inefficient for managing the workflow of outside sales reps.
The Value of Data to Sales Managers
According to our research, almost 60 percent of all sales managers have concerns of too little insight into what their outside sales reps are doing out in the field. One of the more popular sought-after ways to address this concern (in part) is by providing the ability for management to verify where their reps are checking into, and how often. Sales managers also need to ensure reps are following standard procedures and collecting the right information. They are looking for information on where reps are going, how long they are spending there and what happens at each stop.
A sales manager needs to collect data points so they can determine which field events allow them to maximize the allocation of time and resources for the best ROI. Additionally, managers need insight into the different markets they are working in. They are looking to learn more about shelf compliance, sales tactics, regional pricing and anything else that can help them make smarter business decisions.
Give Sales Reps Access to the Information They Need
It’s also essential for sales reps to stay connected. With the right solution, a sales rep preparing for a business call can pull up their mobile CRM and easily look at the account history and any recent activity (i.e., who they spoke with the last time, what was discussed, follow up on outstanding items) to bring them up to speed. Additionally, reps find value efficiently navigating throughout their territories. Having a built-in route planner allows them to improve travel logistics, which helps them reduce windshield time while spending more time executing on opportunities. One of the biggest challenges of being in outside sales is you are typically working apart from your colleagues. This limits knowledge transfer and improves the opportunity for mistakes to be repeated across the team. Reps need the ability to communicate and collaborate with their colleagues and managers to share ideas and access necessary information.
Using Tech to Incentivize Sales Teams
In field sales, you can add elements of competition, incentives, goals, and reputation-based accolades through gamification. It’s a concept that’s been around for ages, but it’s fairly new to the sales industry. Simply put, the gamification of sales is adding the typical elements of game playing to sales in order to encourage engagement and drive performance by leveraging a sales rep’s natural competitive drive. Gamification is about realizing what motivates your team and putting systems in place to capitalize on that knowledge. A few questions to ask when gamifying sales:
- Timeliness: Does your competition coincide with a major event like March Madness or the Super Bowl?
- Duration: Do you have a set end date that allows your team to see the finish line while giving them enough time to reach the goals set?
- Legality: Do you have clear rules?
- Goals: Have you established clear KPIs?
- Prize: What reward are you offering?
What’s the Best Solution?
A field rep is constantly on the go. Therefore, they need a tool that is quick, simple to use, and can easily go with them. Having to get out a computer, find Wi-Fi access and log information is not as efficient as pulling out your smartphone and inputting information within an intuitive interface. Have you tried using excel on mobile??
Companies typically have both inside and outside sales teams, and ultimately need both desktop and mobile access. A lot of those companies have a CRM for inside sales but need a better tool for the outside teams.
This is where integration becomes beneficial. We see customers wanting to leverage the data they capture in Outfield, so integrating with other data sources or BI tools like Tableau is an option.