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The salesforce of the future will be mobile

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South African brands should be using the latest mobile technologies to improve the responsiveness of their remote and mobile sales teams, boost the efficiency of the sales process and deliver a superior sales and service experience.
That’s according to Jacques Swanepoel, chief operating officer at Cellfind, who says that sales teams need to reposition themselves to remain relevant in a digital world where customers are empowered to research, order and pay for most goods online.
Swanepoel says that the sales environment is changing because customers are connected to a world of convenient services and information. But smart sales teams can turn this to their advantage by using the latest mobile technologies to deliver a smoother, faster and easier experience to their customers.
There are numerous ways that organisations can use technology to offer a better mobile sales experience. A good starting point is to give them real-time access to assets and information wherever they are, he adds.
Today, most enterprise resource planning and customer relationship management systems have stable and easy-to-use mobile apps, meaning that sales reps can access them on the road. This allows sales reps to potentially close the loop on a sale while they’re sitting with the customer.
For example, a carpet salesperson could show the client catalogue samples on his or her iPad, check pricing and stock availability and confirm delivery, as well as place an order online. Perhaps he or she could even allow the customer to pay from a secure app.
And the rep could also access and update  online any information the company has about its relationship with the customer – How much money does he or she spend with the brand? What has he or she bought in the past?
“The result is that productivity is increased because the sales rep doesn’t need to phone the office to ask for information or return to base to place the order,” says Swanepoel. “What’s more, this helps sales reps to seal the deal quickly, while sitting with the customer, and to deliver a personalised experience.”
In addition to helping reps on the road perform better, mobile enablement can also benefit for sales managers, says Swanepoel. They can access real-time data about salesforce performance in the field, which they can use to optimise how they distribute their sales teams or to track the service levels their reps are offering.
Location-based tracking, meanwhile, opens some exciting possibilities. Sales managers can track employees’ locations, with their permission, and use this information to serve customers better. For example, the sales manager could quickly dispatch the nearest sales rep to a customer who has expressed an interest in placing a big order.
Swanepoel says that some examples of good mobile sales apps include:
* Apps that permit reps access and share documents and presentations in the field. Now, the rep can access his or her presentations and marketing collateral from a tablet or smartphone without needing to carry a notebook around everywhere.
* Collaborative tools like Slack or social media, which allow sales teams to share information and stay plugged into the latest news and developments at the office.
* Expense tracking solutions that allow salespeople to keep track of their expenses in realtime rather than needing to file paperwork at their desk. For example, Expensify enables capturing of receipts, tracking time or mileage, business travel and creating expense reports.
* GPS-based geolocation apps make it easy to visualise sales territories or to navigate to customer sites.
Says Swanepoel: “Salespeople are no longer chained to their desks, but are instead handcuffed to their smartphones and tablets. These devices give them immediate and simple access to corporate information and applications wherever they are, so that they can offer a slicker service to their customers.”