Thinking About Outsourcing Field Sales? Here’s What You Need to Know to Avoid Common Complications

When regulated companies such as energy and telco providers first launch their door-to-door sales efforts, they often choose to partner with an outsourced field sales agency rather than build an internal field sales team. By outsourcing, at least initially, the benefits far outweigh any disadvantages and include:

  • Speed of entry, which enables the energy or telco provider to hit the ground running
  • Industry expertise that helps to mitigate common field sales mistakes, reducing risk
  • Elimination of administrative tasks such as hiring field reps and conducting new hire and ongoing training
  • The ability to collect data and market intelligence to support the need for additional internal or external field sales reps
  • Obtaining field sales resources at a reasonable cost

The key to building a successful partnership with an outsourced field sales agency is to find one that meets your business needs, as well as instils field sales integrity so that the quality of your brand’s reputation remains intact.


How to Stay in Control When You Outsource Field Sales

While some organisations choose to outsource field sales over the long term, others use outsourcing as a stop-gap for just the first few years – giving them the time to build internal market knowledge and drive external market awareness. Once a healthy and predictable return on sales efforts are recognised, many energy and telco providers make the decision to migrate to in-house field sales teams, franchise, partner with additional outsourced field sales agencies, or use a combination of internal and external field sales resources. Regardless of the field sales model chosen, it’s at this point that complications can arise.

When changing their sales model, the most frequent obstacles energy and telco organisations face are the ownership of the sales data that was collected by the field sales outsourced agency and the rights to the technology license. Often regulated organisations that outsource the field sales channel also outsource the technology to the outsourced agency. This means that the outsourced field sales agency may own all of the data, insights, and reporting, without you having the ability to access the data collected by them. Also without rights to the technology license, if you want to add an additional partner, you would need to acquire another license, which ultimately results in the collected data and control siloed between two technology licenses – without you having full ownership and oversight. That is, of course, unless the contract between you and the outsourced agency clearly specifies that you own or can transfer ownership of the sales data collected and technology license.

To further illustrate data ownership challenges, let’s take a look at two organisations that have encountered these obstacles and their outcomes.


Two Outsourced Field Sales Agency Tales with Different Outcomes


Company 1: A Telecommunications Provider

With limited field sales experience, a global telecommunications provider opted to partner with a local outsourced field sales agency. Initially, the partnership operated as designed, however over time challenges emerged and the telecom company decided to bring field sales in-house and form a relationship with the same technology provider that was used by the outsourced agency. Since the agency owned the technology license, which encompassed data, insights, and reporting, the telecom company was unable to acquire any of the data – leaving them with no field sales business intelligence. Since ending their relationship with the outsourced field sales agency and becoming a client of the technology provider, this telecoms provider now owns their technology license, which provides them with a full suite of tools, enabling them to capture data, find and resolve sales process gaps, deliver actionable insights to the business, and win more deals.


Company 2: A Utility Organisation

New in the market, a large utility organisation also chose to initially work with an outsourced field sales agency. Unlike the telecoms company, the utility organisation also worked directly with the technology provider to draft short- and long-term goals, and develop a plan for how and when they would change their field sales model. In addition, the utility company made sure that the contract between them and the outsourced field sales agency specified that all data, insights, and reporting collected by the agency would be owned by the utility organisation. The contract between the outsourced field sales agency and the utility company gave the utility company full visibility and control over what happened in the field, allowed them to add additional teams and partners to the system, and provided the option to take over the relationship with the technology partner.

As we look at these two companies, the reason why the telecoms company encountered problems when the relationship with the outsourced field sales agency ended and the utility company didn’t is that, unlike the telecoms company, the utility company had a clear vision for the future and planned for it.


Mitigate Future Risk by Planning Ahead

It’s important to remember, especially when you’re new to field sales, that what works when you’re just starting out may not work as your company matures and gains market share. Whether you’re entering a new location or new to field sales, engaging an outsourced field sales agency will help you to quickly enter the market with relative ease. However, it’s equally as important to remember that the commercial relationship you form with the outsourced field sales agency needs to not only reflect sales, but also data and insights; otherwise, their focus will be strictly on sales, leaving valuable intelligence either uncaptured or unavailable to you.

PSI is dedicated to the innovative use of mobile technologies and field force automation to enhance data-driven decision making. We partner with regulated industries, like yours, as well as outsourced field sales agencies to give you all the tools needed to be successful. With the recent rise in door-to-door energy and telco sales, you need someone in your corner that can help you overcome initial risks, plan for the future, and profitably grow the business.

Don’t wait until tomorrow to plan for the future of your field sales. Schedule a demo today to learn how PSI can help you avoid field sales complications.

Power Your Field Sales Engine with the Right Technology

Not all technology is created equal, nor do all persona’s use it in the same way. When it comes to deciding on technology – whether making a purchase or building your own – today there’s a lot to choose from. Make the wrong choice and chances are that it won’t provide the functionality you need, which will mean an additional technology purchase and another outlay of cash or time delays for those that opt to build their own.

To save you the headache of determining what the right technology is for your energy or telco field sales business, we’ve compiled key user persona’s and their technology requirements.

What You Need to Know When Buying or Developing Technology for Your Field Sales Business

In the past, obtaining technology was a pretty simple undertaking. Today, however, the use of technology has become more commonplace and the technology itself has become more complex. If the technology you implement only provides for minimum functionality, users of the technology will encounter difficulties in performing their jobs. On the other hand, technology that contains all of the bells and whistles will probably result in functionality that’ll never be used.

This is especially true for energy and telco organisations since the nature of their business is complex. From multiple product types being sold through various channels such as field, online, partners, 3rd party websites, and franchises to the countless types of customers, including domestic, SME, property developer, landlords, etc., implementing the right technology can’t be underestimated.

The right technology shouldn’t be a game of chance. Essentially it should meet the needs of your business today and into the foreseeable future. By reviewing the following four persona’s and their technology requirements, you’ll be on your way to deploying technology that will boost productivity, give your field sales teams a competitive edge, and deliver a level of customer comfort that’ll enable you to quickly turn prospects into paying customers.


Field sales reps:

As the face of your company, these employees require technology that will empower them with the information they need when they need it. Be sure the technology provides:

- Leads that contain a rich data overlay, and are delivered directly to their devices. Walk and drive routes to maximise efficiency.

- Logic driven questions to ensure that the right product is offered to the right customer type.

- Validations of customer data while at the door, which improves the number of sales processed.

- Availability of performance tracking and reporting on the reps device.

Training and continuous learning are delivered to the device.


Team leads (internal or agency):

To set your field sales reps up for success, team leads need the ability to quickly access and understand total figures, gaps in sales success and failure rates, and have the ability to quickly react. This persona requires technology that’ll enable them to:

- Maximise leads through team and territory management functionality.

- Track reps to ensure team and customer safety.

- Track and manage issues as they take place in the field.

- Obtain real-time tracking of productivity and results.


The business:

With the right technology, your business leaders (management team and the board) will gain an increased level of comfort about their door-to-door sales initiatives. Focused on the big picture, this persona requires technology that will:

- Deliver insights and oversights of what is happening in the field, as well as results.

- Validate the information received by the teams.

- Provide accountability, transparency, and control.


The customer:

While not part of your internal team, customers are integral to your success. As such, it’s important that the technology you choose provides them with a sense of security when providing your field sales reps with personal information. To provide this level of customer comfort, the technology needs to:

- Provide for a cohesive customer journey, one that can start at the door and conclude through a different channel, or start in-store and provide the customer with completion options such as a callback.

- Give the customer the ability to call the company to confirm that the rep at their door is a valid representative of your company. By using GPS tracking of the rep, you’ll be able to quickly verify or refute the claim.

- Allow the customer to finish the sign-up agreement on their own device – either at the time of the sale or at a later point in time.

- Send the customer a branded summary of the interaction and welcome directly to their device, so that they can immediately confirm the legitimacy of the transaction.

What happens when the technology doesn’t provide some or all of the functionality described above? The easy answer is... the complete opposite of the benefits that the right technology will provide. For example, when field sales reps don’t have the right technology the possibility of offering the wrong products to ineligible prospects is greatly increased. Or, without customer data validations, you run the risk that the sale will need to be reworked. This typically entails that another person within your organisation will need to contact the customer to confirm details such as email, mobile number, banking details, etc., which slows the entire sales process or worse – results in the loss of a sale.

From the customer’s perspective, technology that doesn’t provide the security needed may result in the field sales rep completing the sale on their own device and signing the customer up, which of course opens you up to fraud. Alternatively, if payments are taken in a non-secure way, the rep may be putting the customer at risk for cybercriminals to attack their account. And, finally, without a branded summary to confirm the agreement, the customer may feel that they have been scammed, which puts your reputation at risk.

Negating these risks relies on the technology you choose. By ensuring the technology provides all of the functionality described, you’ll be on your way to ensuring that your business is compliant with regulatory standards, your internal teams have the functionality required to be productive, and your customers have the security needed to become loyal brand ambassadors.

Give Your Field Sales a Boost with the Right Technology

Don’t leave your next technology decision up to a tick list of functionality. You need a solid solution that meets the needs of all the personas. PSI Fusion connects your people, processes, and data in a way that is unique in the business. We combine mobile and cloud technology with security and tracking to deliver the field-proven applications that enable you to rise above the competition in this lucrative, yet competitive space.

But, don’t take our word for it! Read on to see what some of our customers are saying about having the right technology.

“The main value we saw of the technology when it was sitting with the agency rather than us, was compliance, security, and the tablets in the reps hands. We always knew that the data we were providing the agency and our customers were secure.” Vodafone

“PSI creates robust processes that are very easy to audit. Through your system, every step is auditable, who did it, when, where, what the customer agreed to, and why they signed up. This makes it very easy, in the case of complaints, to determine what happened from both sides. In the case of poor rep behaviour, we can understand what happened, where they went wrong, and rectify the situation in real-time or as part of our longer-term training programme.” SSE Airtricity

“We were dealing with increased volumes of up to 500 or 600 per month, which can cause a lot of pain downstream. The automated way we were able to send customer service agreements, keep them informed, and the welcome journeys meant that we were able to take those tasks away from the customer support team.” Fibrus

Ready to get started with the right technology, contact us today for a demonstration.

Getting Utility Sales Right the First Time

Getting sales agreements right the first time is a huge concern for any sales team. For utility companies, making sure that every “i” is dotted and that every “t” is crossed in accordance with local regulations regarding energy sales is especially important.

For the first time in over a decade, the largest energy providers in the UK are re-entering the market through face to face selling channels. While these providers are taking their first cautious steps back into this world, other more experienced players are also planning to re-enter the field sales domain following the halt caused by the pandemic.

For both types of providers, ensuring that the people representing you in the field are not only complying but delivering an exceptional experience is key to not only avoiding any complaints or challenges but also to win over new customers and capitalise on the very real and lucrative opportunities available.

With this in mind, here are some considerations for your business leaders:

Field sales historically has had a high churn rate, in some markets field sales reps will often migrate to the energy provider offering the cheapest product to the market. As many field sales reps are paid on commission only structures, they go where they are most likely to be successful and in turn, get paid. While price is hugely important, the level of service offered by an organisation is also key, especially considering the number of cheaper, smaller energy providers going bust in recent years due to their mismanagement of customer needs.


When you are putting a sales rep in front of a customer, they need to not only have detailed knowledge of your products and services but also of the value you offer customers that include and go beyond prices, such as service and overall customer experience. This puts a higher demand on the sales reps to develop their soft skills. Developing these skills and creating the type of customer experience that delivers at every interaction takes time and consideration.

Creating a training plan that not only offers upfront training and onboarding, but also offers continuous learning, just-in-time learning and assessment and can be delivered to the rep on their device just before and after they start selling, makes the information easily digestible, keeps the material fresh in their mind, and allows sales reps to apply their learning immediately with the results tracked.

Quality Assurance:

Inaccurate sales numbers cause headaches for both sales reps and business leaders, especially if there are improvements that can be made to your process to shore up those challenges. If there are challenges with a sale, such as incomplete or inaccurate information, or you are an organisation that does a separate follow-up to every customer post-sale, all of this equals more time and more cost, more time to rework or validate a sale and more cost both direct and opportunity costs.

To mitigate this costly consequence your organisation can implement a digital sales solution with the ability to highlight the gaps in your sales process - and add checks, validations and automated workflows to your sales process. This takes the guesswork out of selling, giving the sales reps a more accurate view of their sales commission and providing you with more accurate data to make decisions and improve your process overall.

To complement this from a quality assurance perspective, your customer can review and sign off on the sale on their device, confirming the legitimacy of the sale. You can automatically follow up with a customer satisfaction survey to ensure the rep has completed their duties as expected.

If you are embarking on a new or emboldened sales effort we’d love to hear what approaches you are taking to getting it right, the first time.

Schedule a sales MOT with the team today

How Digital Sales Solutions Open Doors for your Best People

Every sales team has its own stars. The men and women who seem to have a superhuman ability to close a deal. Who are performing head and shoulders over their peers.

But often the trouble with these A-List types is that they know it. They can be brash, in-your-face, and usually a bit of a lone wolf. And while they might not be popular with their colleagues, they’re winning – and as their manager, the last thing you want to do is stand in their way.

But this creates its own set of headaches, doesn’t it?

While you might not want to irritate your top performers with a quiet chat about ethics and style, you also need to make sure that they don’t overstep the mark. You want sales, not lawsuits. And your CEO is hardly going to thank you if topping your targets is followed by a barrage of customer complaints.

So how do you lay down the letter of the law without becoming the enemy in the eyes of your team?

The simplest answer is this: use your systems to say it for you.

Deploying a digital data collection system as part of your field sales solutions allows you to automate the sales fulfilment process. You can set things up so that certain compliance boxes have to be ticked and no one can go ahead and skip a section or leave out vital information that must be communicated to the customer.

Rather than employees getting frustrated or resentful that you’re grilling them on their sales technique or drumming in things they already know, they just need to follow the structure laid out by your Field Force Automation solution. No arguments, no excuses and, if you do it right, a faster and more efficient process that helps everyone to do their job better.

Why? Because automatic data capture manages the workflow for your team, cutting down paperwork and duplicated effort and speeding up the sales process. Plus, rolling out a mobile solution helps you to allocate leads quickly and fairly, even while sales reps are out in the field making door-to-door sales.

It ensures that everyone has a constant stream of work and the chance to hit their targets, with no delays or hurdles to slow down your best performing staff.

No more wasted time while you argue with your team about doing things the “right” way, and less risk of killing the enthusiasm of top sales agents bursting with initiative. More control – with less micromanaging. Who wouldn’t like the sound of that?

After all, young, ambitious workers want nothing more than having the space and freedom to perform at their best, supported by time-saving tech – especially when this can be access on their own phones and devices - without having to squander time and resources on tasks and processes with no clear purpose, when they could be out there making money.

If you want your sales stars to be mega-productive and efficient, you need to give them tools to succeed and then get out of their way. Field Sales Solutions give you the perfect way to do that – without the risks to your business.

The added bonus is you can start to track what they are doing differently, that’s working. This insight can lead to changes in how you train and support the rest of your team, so everyone can be lifted up on the wave of success.

Want to find out more about how Field Sales Solutions can help your team surpass sales targets in a shorter time, while improving their level of service? Contact our team of specialists today.

Bigger Isn’t Necessarily Better: What to Look for When Choosing a Salesforce Automation Software Provider

Not a new saying by any stretch of the imagination – ‘nobody ever got fired for buying IBM’ – IBM, or any large market leader such as Microsoft, Cisco, Oracle, SalesForce, etc. became the safe choice when purchasing pricey software. After all, by going with one of the established brands the thought was (and for many still is) that they were too big to fail, which of course, isn’t always true. With a lifespan lasting nearly 50 years, this overused mantra is finally dying out – and with good reason.

While not true of all big brand software solutions, some of them share the following disadvantages – slow to implement new technology, require long deployment periods, don’t always deliver what is needed, use ambiguous pricing schemes, and many times embed the software so deep that switching vendors is difficult at best. Companies are now realising that legacy software products aren’t risk-free and are actively looking for alternatives.


Why Smaller Salesforce Automation Software Vendors Can Make a Big Difference

Regulated markets such as energy and telco are fiercely competitive and to leapfrog the competition you need to differentiate yourself. Technology is changing faster than ever, and as mentioned above some of the big brands may be slow to implement innovative technologies that can give you a competitive edge. In addition, their sheer size may make it difficult to get the service you need when you need it, not to mention potential execution time delays and prohibitive costs. When you stick with the supposed software solution leaders, you become a ‘me too’ energy or telco provider that has limited ability to use technology as a differentiator.

On the flipside are smaller, more nimble vendors that not only know you and your needs, but embrace today’s technology to deliver the software solutions that can have a significant impact on what you offer, how you run and control your field sales operations, and give you a competitive advantage. As you think over making the switch to a smaller salesforce automation software vendor, some questions that typically come to mind include:

  • Does the software provider have technical expertise?
  • Do they understand regulatory standards?
  • Can they provide data security?
  • Are they able to scale to meet our growing requirements?
  • Will they still be in business 5 or 10 years from now?
  • And, of course – if something goes wrong, will my reputation be at stake?

While they are valid concerns, the one thing to keep in mind is that smaller doesn’t necessarily mean new to the industry. In fact, going with a smaller salesforce automation software vendor can deliver benefits that their larger counterparts aren’t able to provide, such as:

  • Best-in-class technology that leverages today’s innovation.
  • Ability to mitigate risks by exceeding regulatory requirements to ensure compliance.
  • Agility and adaptability to quickly respond to your changing needs.
  • Delivering solutions on time and on budget.
  • Supplying a devoted team to build one-to-one relationships.
  • Providing a high level of service for successful project outcomes.
  • Having intimate knowledge about your business.
  • Being committed to your long-term success.

Energy and telco field sales can be a lucrative business when done right, which is why you need a software vendor that not only puts your interests first but is a specialist with extensive industry expertise – regardless of their size.


Give Your Energy or Telco Field Sales Reps a Competitive Advantage

Energy or telco field sales can be a minefield of obstacles, which is why the right salesforce automation software provider is essential to your success. Because of the numerous field sales challenges, it’s important to find a software vendor that understands your world. One that has deep knowledge of this highly regulated industry and can help you navigate inherent complexities.

With 15 years of industry experience, PSI has been helping energy and telco providers overcome obstacles to succeed in this highly regulated and competitive environment. Our dedicated team of experts will work side-by-side with you to identify gaps in your processes and provide the solutions you need to take advantage of innovative and profitable opportunities.

As industry experts, we’ve invested millions into creating solutions to streamline field sales initiatives through superior processes and flawless workflows. Our customers, including global leading brands such as SSE Airtricity, Vodafone, Electric Ireland, Fibrous Broadband, Spectrum Broadband, and many others are reaping the benefits of working with a smaller, yet highly focused and nimble salesforce automation software provider. In fact, SSE Airtricity describes us as “...the real deal...enabling them to become best in class”


Thriving in this highly regulated and competitive market takes an established salesforce automation software solution partner that has a proven reputation for success. Contact us today to learn how this small, yet innovative software company can help you exceed your goals.