How effective is your sales team? Do you know what they are doing and how they are spending their time away from you? If you are tasked with managing a sales team, technology can make that job easier. Here are some technologies you should be using to the fullest.
While it may seem like a simple addition to your sales fleet, mobile phones are a complete necessity, and should be provided to your sales professionals. Phones should have data capabilities — preferably with an unlimited data plan — so your sales personnel can use the Internet whenever they need to connect in the field. Consider making mobile phones a company perk to ensure your sales team has the proper tools to reach customers.
Customer relationship management (CRM) software is a key component to the modern sales force. This technology allows you to track communication with customers so that you can follow up effectively with new contacts and ensure a quality experience for existing customers.
CRM software compiles information about customers and their actions across channels and points of contact. Whether a customer connects with the company via email, the phone or in a live meeting with the sales professional, the system will track the communication.
CRM software is more than a customer database, although it does function in this way. Modern CRM platforms contain sophisticated data tracking and analysis. This data allows your sales team to approach the customer with the proper knowledge. This prevents duplicate efforts, which can hurt your relationship with the customer. It also helps automate marketing efforts, such as email campaigns.
Laptop Computers or Tablets
In addition to a mobile phone with a data plan, you will need to equip your sales force with a laptop computer or tablet that they can take in the field. These devices can be connected to the CRM system to improve contact with customers and assist with tracking data. They also provide a platform to showcase your product or service through slideshows and demonstration videos. A laptop computer or mobile tablet also will provide an easier platform through which to send and read email in the field.
If your sales team will be spending quite a bit of time in the field and on the road, consider equipping their vehicles with a mobile office. A mobile office can be as simple as a mount for a computer, and as complex as a complete mini office with printing capabilities. A mobile office can serve as a Wi-Fi hub, have chargers for mobile devices and even contain a hard drive to keep tabs on files. Analyze the needs of your sales team, and equip their vehicles accordingly.
Fleet Management Technology
Finally, make sure you have the ability to monitor and manage your vehicles and drivers. Fleet management technology will show you details about where your cars and your staff are, helping you reduce employee downtime and improving the accountability and efficiency of your team.
With the data gained through fleet management technology, you can dispatch the proper sales professional to limit miles driven and fuel used. You also can track vehicle location to reduce the risk of theft and improve chances of recovery should vehicles be stolen while your sales team is in the field. If your sales team is taking inventory to meetings with customers, this tracking also can help you recover missing inventory.
Fleet management can help improve your customer service, as well. With accurate, real-time GPS locations, you can provide customers with accurate arrival estimates. Should a traffic delay occur, you can reroute your drivers to ensure they arrive on time. When customers know they can count on you for on-time arrival, they will be more willing to buy from you and trust your company for the products and services they require.
Are you using technology to the fullest? If not, you are missing excellent benefits that could streamline both your marketing and daily operations. Consider these additions to help you manage your sales force efficiently every day.
Robert J. Hall is president of Track Your Truck, a leader in GPS vehicle tracking software and systems for midsized and small companies.