Today's managers and business owners have so much at their disposal to help manage and rein in their field reps. Using CRM systems like Infusionsoft, it's possible to remotely control lead and contact distribution, manage schedules, and keep track of all activity for your folks in the field. But just because it's possible to do all of that with your fancy CRM doesn't mean you're going to be able to do all of that without a little work.
Most of CRMs require a bit of set up, but making sure that what you’ve set up will actually work for people out of the office can be a little trickier. You need to take a systemized approach if you're going to mobilize your team and get them working efficiently with your new system. Be sure to follow these four guidelines.
Refine your workflow and your pipeline
You can know how to run your business, but just because you know how a process is supposed to work doesn’t mean your field team will—everyone thinks a little differently.
Try writing down all the individual steps of your pipeline. Then ask one of your outside sales guys to write down the steps too. If your answers are different, you have some work to do.
Be sure to take a step back and evaluate everything. From here, go in and map out your specific process. If you need help with this you can always turn to your CRM’s coaches or one of their partner consultants. They know this stuff inside and out.
“The key is consistency,” says Dominick Cassone, president of Zacaw Enterprises, an Infusionsoft Certified Partner. “It doesn’t matter how big your sales force is. Everyone needs to follow a process so that no lead will fall through a crack. If you don’t have a system where it’s replicable exactly for every lead that comes in, then fix that process and make it non-negotiable for both you and your team.”
Be sure to take your time and think carefully with this first part–it’s super important.
Make it easy to connect to your pipeline
Having a codified process is only a step towards automating your outside sales force, though. To truly ensure that your people are going through your stages and logging their information into your CRM, they need be able to do it from their phone with ease.
If it’s easier to type out notes after a meeting when they’re back on their office computer than it is from their CRM’s mobile app, you’re going to have a problem. At some point, between the field and the office, that mobile rep is going to forget important snippets of information and lose some paper notepads.
While CRMs have mobile apps in place, sometimes those apps don’t meet all your needs. And sometimes your CRM doesn’t even have a mobile app. If that’s the case, try using a third-party app (like Swyft Mobile) where you can log information into more fields and set notes and follow-up appointments on the fly. This will make it smoother for them to do their job and for you to review that work remotely.
Empower your salespeople
Of course, one of the risks you run into as you transition into a new backend and mobile system is sacrificing your reps’ flexibility and adaptability. If that outside rep feels locked in by your mobile app, that’s going to stifle and affect the type of notes and information you get from them. Ultimately, this can have negative impacts on your team’s performance.
You can get around this by reframing that system for them or by simply getting a better mobile app. Reintroducing your system to your reps and training them isn’t the same as telling them, “You have to use this app because I say so,” or saying, “This is going to make us a lot more money.” They want to know what’s in it for them. Don’t tell them they can do more using a mobile app, show them!
If your reps have to fill out a three-page carbon copy form after every meeting with prospects and clients, show them a mobile form that captures all of that information in the app. Show them a mobile form that automatically sends the PDF to the customer so they don’t have to. Have an app that lets them easily check and reference their documents from their phone or tablet whenever they want, so they’re not digging through folders in their car for a file. You can make that rep feel empowered and automated after every meeting. They won’t need to call the back office before they can schedule a separate technician or adjuster to go see their client. The app and the system does it for them. That saves them time out of the gate, and that effect is palpable.
Stay on top of them
Now that you have the right systems in place you can manage your reps from the office as if you were there with them in the field. With everything organized and everyone well-equipped and trained, you can begin to see the real benefits of moving to your new system in the data and the analytics.
Out-of-the-box your CRM and mobile system will have various tools for management and administration. Those reports can display all of the information on your team’s sales opportunities at any given time. See how many leads are coming in from different sources and easily assign them to the most qualified rep. You can even customize your personal dashboard so that whenever you log in, you can see how many prospects you have in each individual stage of your new sales pipeline.
If you need to know the finer details about those actual sales calls themselves, third-party mobile apps often have their own reporting functionality. Keep tabs on each individual sales call and see where the rep was, what information was gathered, and what the revenue is expected to be. For instance, with an app like Swyft Mobile you can capture whatever information you’d like in the field and report on it later, but you can also manage everyone’s schedules, lead assignment, and geographic territories.
You’ll save time and money when you use this real-time reporting in conjunction with your streamlined process. When something isn’t right, you’ll know immediately, instead of at the end of every month, so you’ll never be in the dark when you have to make changes.
Chris Donato is a sales and digital marketing coordinator at Swyft Mobile in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. His hobbies include long walks on the beach and making his office listen to heavy metal music while he talks about mobile apps.