The typical salesperson spends 80% of his or her time out of the office. There are trade shows, customer visits, and of course, transit times to consider. I know a salesperson who spends fully 20% of his time either on a plane or waiting for a plane in an airport. And that’s why the mobile revolution has taken hold in our society. More and more workers need mobile, flexible solutions for how to get their jobs done. And, they need our support working this way.
We’ve largely done a good job of connecting on-the-go workers to each other — providing access to phone and email via mobile devices. But that’s not enough. Mobile workers also need to be connected to their data, with the ability to access the right information and the right person at the right time on the right device. Companies send salespeople out on the road and those salespeople must be able to do their job —right at the time they are selling. To better support this mobile sales force, let’s examine the basis for the resources they’ll need.
Trust of data
There is nothing like going into a meeting with a spreadsheet that you have spent a couple of hours on, and then everybody else walks in with the spreadsheets they have spent a couple of hours on. Consequently, you spend most of the meeting time trying to figure out whose numbers are correct — and very little time getting something accomplished. (Everybody loves meetings, right? Yeah.) My ideal is that when you go to a meeting, everybody has the same numbers. Then, you can do business, collaborate, and get business done faster.
Consistent information across the organization, across multiple devices
It would also be nice if we could provide information to all the employees that need it — not just siloed employees in certain roles or departments. We need to provide support for a lot of devices. Employees on the road, working remotely or in the office, should be able to use whatever device they are comfortable with to get their job done. Information sharing needs to expand so that whatever information a salesperson needs is right at their fingertips — with no file size limit. This will help workers to see and understand what is happening in their business. Asking questions can be a self-sufficient process instead of taking up the time of multiple employees.
Detailed data to enable decision-making
It’s not sufficient to just provide a cursory look at data that a sales person cannot engage with. A key part of decision-making involves asking deeper questions until you get to an answer. Too many analytics products on the market provide predefined drill-paths (or no drill-paths at all) so you can’t easily get to the data you need to see. A salesperson should be able to ask and answer: “What’s happening with these particular products? Is there a reason that company ABC is no longer ordering the same volume of these products? Is there something that we are not doing correctly? Have they switched to a different distributor? What is going on?”
There are other ways we can improve productivity and efficiency. Tools for sharing, like bookmarking and exporting, should be added to devices so salespeople can share documents, presentations, and videos. Salespeople should also be able to get that information whether they are connected or disconnected to/from the Internet. Product and activity tracking can be very tedious and time-consuming. So let’s find a way to get tracking visibility to salespeople automatically. Workers should be able to see exactly where they are on every single project. They must know what needs to be done, and what customers they need to visit, to be able to achieve sales goals. Is it too much to ask for all this and have the tools be easy to learn and integrate with third parties?
Dimensional Insight’s Distributor Advisor
Here at Dimensional Insight, we’ve been working on providing our customers with all these capabilities with Distributor Advisor. Distributor Advisor is available on iPads, Windows-based tablets, and PCs, making it easier for salespeople to access the information they need no matter where they are — in the office or on the road.