As we embrace the information age, there are more gadgets available to the average sales person, than there were weapons for old age warriors. So does this add a credible advantage to the guy or gal on the road? Early sales reps had their wares and their wits, with which to earn a living, however as technology advances, does all of the constant flow of information actually make today’s well trained professionals any more adept than their medieval counterparts?
This article will give you a lot of food for thought, as to how you can make the most of technology to grow your sales. When these tools lead to shorter hours and higher commission, then mobile technology will have been used as intended.
Was CRM really about customers?
In the 90’s Customer Relationship Management (CRM) was the saviour of the world. With this great tool, customers would be treated the same when they interacted with a company regardless of the channel they used. I could look at a the latest bells and whistles microwave on the web, see it was in stock and go down to my local bricks and mortar version of the same shop and pick one up. I mean it was in stock according to the web wasn’t it?
Joe behind the counter would tell me knowingly, that actually that microwave, was not actually on the market yet, and the marketing guys had just got ahead of them selves. All of this as I spied the Joneses from next door walking out with one under the arm! What was more, I actually did not have any money in my account, because jean at the bank had cross sold me the latest critical illness cover, to ensure I could still get paid, even if the intended microwave I wanted to buy blew up in my face!
So why did the reps shun CRM at first?
That was how Joe Public, the humble customer fared with CRM, but did Jimmy Rep on the road feel about CRM. This amazing management tool, to provide nirvana for customers, had actually another great benefit. It meant that rather than spending hours preparing excel spreadsheets for his boss, the sales manger could put all of the onus on Jimmy Rep, who would have to spend hours after each sales call filling in hundreds of meaningless fields, that no-one ever cared about.
And what was more, the filofax in his head, was now no longer his ticket to job hopping pay rises, since the company now owned all of the information about his customers on this database. What was more; they knew where he was, when he tried to sneak off playing golf, and how few sales he really made.
So what did Jimmy Rep do, he did nothing! He forgot to fill in the data, his boss screamed at him, he moved jobs, and started the whole frustrating, non-selling process all over again, albeit on a higher base salary, with still little or no commission!
Quantifiable benefits of Mobile Sales Tools
OK, enough moaning about the terrible life of Jimmy rep, on the other hand, there are immense productivity gains to be had from well employed use of sales tools.
If your CRM system is implemented in a way that ensures its number one intended beneficiary, the customer, is actually the number one beneficiary, then you will truly reap the rewards on its expenditure. We all have heard the maxim that happy customers, will not only buy more from you, they will also refer you to other customers.
First your customers will be served they way they want to be served. The three key areas where they will benefit are as follows;
- They will enjoy a consistent and excellent level of service, what ever channel they use to interact with your company.
- When they get a visit from either a sales rep or a service engineer, that person will know all about them, and be able to serve them in the best possible manner.
- They will only receive marketing communications, about offerings which are suitable to their requirements, needs or wants.
Meanwhile the sales reps will benefit from tools that enable them to be more productive, and thus earn more commission as follows;
- By having the support of a CRM system and an appropriate sales methodology, they can ensure that success gets repeated and mistakes eliminated.
- Having the ability to use all of the company tools, they do not waste time travelling to the office, and can have all the information at their finger tips, to go straight out to customers. This eliminates wasteful travel time, and gives them more customer face time.
- When their company employs inside sales reps, all information, including appointments generated can be passed to the field sales rep in real-time, to keep their commission earning schedule full.
- Being able to access the latest company information on the road, ensures that the mobile sales rep, can be fully up to date, enabling them to be their customers source of information, forging stronger bonds, which results in increased sales.
- By having access to the company’s ordering systems, while being with a customer, facilitates faster and more accurate ordering of what the customer wants, increasing what the customer can buy.
Driving to Cork in a tractor, is about as smart as using a mini to drag load of hay across a field. Selecting the correct tools, with appropriate training and motivation will yield tangible benefits, by delivering increased sales, higher commission and shorter working hours to a good sales rep.
The Job Advert “carrots” of Laptop, PDA, Mobile phone and car, are essential tools of the trade, when backed up by systems that measure and assist in sales rep productivity. When these tools lead to shorter hours and higher commission, then mobile technology will have been used as intended.
Are you still wondering how technology could give you the competitive edge? Then you need our free sales and marketing assessment. This will show you how you can achieve your goals, and avoid the ignominy of failure.
This article was written by Peter Lawless, founder of 3R Sales and Marketing – www.3r.ie. For previous articles like this, visit 3R’s Articles. Alternatively, subscribe to Success our free monthly Information Bulletin with sales and marketing articles.