Technology can put your agents in the right place, talking to the right people and asking the right questions. Anything that helps close more sales at the end of the day can only be a good thing. But how does your sales management software stack up?
The right field sales software could have a transformative effect on your sales team’s performance. Here are some of the reasons why.
Who says technological solutions are impersonal? Far from dehumanising interactions between sales agents and customers, the right sort of field force automation can offer personalisation that would be impossible to achieve any other way.
The key to this is user data, centrally stored and remotely accessible from any number of mobile devices. Agents can use their tablet or phone to view the customer profile to find out what tariff they’re on, if they’ve been offered an enhanced tariff recently, or whether they’ve lodged any complaints. Agents can then use this information to make a personalised pitch.
Not only that; it also helps agents avoid causing frustration by asking questions they’ve already been asked by another team member. Who among us has not been annoyed by this common problem, as a consumer?
Field based software typically works in real-time, which means agents using it can access and update information whenever they need to. The live info they see can extend beyond customer details, to the latest promotions and cross-sells and up-sell opportunities than emanate from the Marketing and Sales director (and often are lost in translation or not well promoted.)
Instant access to info like this can make a huge difference to salespeople’s thought-processes during selling. Instead of grasping to think of the best offer they can give, or searching among a pile of papers, they can focus on selling the best - and most appropriate - offer as prompted through their device. Even the best-practiced agents operating without field based technology would have to draw on their memory to identify the right offer – that brainpower could be better used elsewhere.
The adoption of sales software to supplement selling has caused a subtle shift in the focus of the sales role. Whereas before it was a mixture of selling and admin tasks, software allows for predominantly consultative selling. With less data handling to do and more time to make sales, sales departments have an unprecedented opportunity to shine.
Pixels vs. pages
A further use of field based tech during pitching is the capability to show the customer on-screen graphics and videos. Images and video beat pages as a presentational medium on several scores – not least of all cost, eco-friendliness and efficiency.
More sophisticated field software can personalise what the customer sees on-screen according to the data you hold on them - much like Amazon leverages user data to generate product recommendations for its customers. In this way, field software can bring innovative principles from digital retail commerce into a face-to-face pitch with customers.
Another key advantage of field based technology is its capacity to make sales teams more efficient. Put simply, it can help you take more orders in a day.
Properly integrated with an organisation’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, field based tech can enable orders to be fully created – not just initiated – at the point of sale. In doing so, it removes inefficient steps such as interactions between sales and office staff from the fulfilment process.
From the sales agent’s perspective, this means completing an order is as simple as filling in and submitting a form via their connected device, with no papers to file or calls to be made. As soon as they’ve hit “Send”, they can move on to customer care – or the next sale.
Not only does this add efficiency and increase capacity on the seller’s side; it also tends to provide a quick, streamlined experience for customers, with shorter order processing times than they’re used to. There’s also less room for human error, and less sales leakage as a result.
Impacting sales through data analysis
Practically all selling involves working through a list of prospects to generate sales. Some will convert, others won’t, and that’s inevitable.
However, sellers do have some power over the order of that list – or rather, the priority of seller actions – particularly with the help of data-driven field sales technology. By focusing on the right prospects first, a sales team can maximise the value of their work.
At the heart of this approach is customer data analysis. By looking into customer activities and conversions across a full or customer base or segment,insights can be gained into:
- - Which prospects are most likely to convert?
- - Which prospects will have the highest lifetime value?
- - Which customers are likely to complain and when?
Findings on these and similar matters can feed into manual or automated priority setting by head office, to create a real-time hit-list for sales agents in the field.
Reducing employee churn
The effect of a proper field based technological solution on sales team morale can be seismic. With fewer errors, admin tasks and obstacles in their way, staff can get on with the fulfilling task of making sales. It’s just as well – because the previous situation for many sales professionals was a challenging one.
According to CSO Insight’s annual studies, sales teams tend to lose roughly 25% of team members per year. Around a half of leavers are fired, while the other half go of their own accord. Why should this be the case, when the UK’s average employee turnover rate across all professions is approximately 15%?
If we were discussing underperformance in any other department of a company – its engineers, management, IT – we wouldn’t immediately blame the staff. If staff turnover is high, perhaps you should be looking at your systems and processes - not your people.
Salespeople are struggling with the mental demands of doing their job - and that’s even before they get round to thinking about their performance and quotas. When user data is centrally stored but accessible from anywhere, agents can use their tablet or phone to tap into datasets from the road. This facility becomes a crutch for their selling on the days they need it, as well as the tool they need to access and offer valuable customer service information.
If you have any questions on this, or any Utilities-related queries, please get in touch with the team:
Grace Moore/Amy Keith