Well, what more could be done? Great paycheck, enticing bonuses, exotic incentive trips—aren’t the motivation enough? Amid such bounties on every sale, “empower field sales reps” seems a generic jargon that has lost its charm, which now takes a form of a new question—why do we even need to empower field sales reps? Simple, because the report suggests 45.4% of sales professionals fail to meet their sales quota. Very likely that those bounties are not meeting their objectives or say not working for 45.4% of sales professionals.
Structurally, modern salesmanship is a gnarly tangle of quality, sales experience, network, relationships, data, and decision-making. The emotional pull of the brand that once worked for salesmen now lies with the value in utility—what a product or service does for the buyer.
The catch with the value is that it is not the same for everyone. For say, some use Uber for convenience and others for affordability. A salesman has to find out what value the prospect is looking for in the product and pitch accordingly. This level of decision-making requirement indicates that while pitching, in that moment, the salesman is the leader—the person who is taking decisions on behalf of the business leader.
Apparently, leadership is distributed today. One man does not hold all the keys. And that is why it is necessary to empower every salesman in the team to make better decisions and simultaneously enable the man with the master key to keep an eye on everything going around in real-time and create better chances for the company.
Here, based on our interactions with sales leaders across the industries, we have enlisted 7 factors essential to empower the field sales reps in order to help them realize their full potential, maximize sales productivity, and make informed decisions.
1. Right sales tools
From managing the existing customers to visiting new prospects to making calls, a field sales representative has a long-list of crucial tasks that must be performed on a routine basis to keep the sales operations running smoothly.
But often, things do not go as planned. The field sales team is always exposed to unforeseen events that could completely collapse the sales operations and ultimately the sales.
How efficiently you prevent such incidents to impact your sales team and sales process play a crucial role in sales productivity and performance. For instance:
- What if a sales rep has been assigned a client visit for the time he already has another visit scheduled?
- How conveniently rescheduling a meeting for an unavailable customer/prospect and assigning a nearby customer/prospect can be managed?
- What are the possibilities of a rep having to return to the office or contact her managers? Can such possibilities be taken care of in advance using better tools?
Do you immediately come to know about your field rep’s canceled/rescheduled meeting or at the end of the day or the next day?
As a field sales manager, it is likely that you would have come across such problems related to schedule conflict issues, last-minute changes or improper time rotation between shifts.
With the use of powerful digital sales tools, you can improve your planning and operations and gain control over unexpected incidents.
2. Territory allocation
Every field sales rep has certain favourite areas—where they believe they can develop a greater bond with the prospects and customers. Assigning those territories can boost their morale, increase enthusiasm, and inspire team cohesion.
Effective territory management can drive field sales reps to invest their maximum time and energy on activities that will create greater sales impact.
A well-planned sales territory management requires territory managers to align the expertise of the salesperson with appropriate customer-base, geography, industry and past relationships.
As it is not a simple matter of mix and match, using territory management tools could help a great deal in the categorization of territory, ensuring neither it is overlapping nor spread too thinly, simultaneously to make sales reps feel more confident, well-compensated, and motivated.
3. Route planning
Imagine the frustration of a sales rep who has missed a meeting with an important customer or prospect, which he/she could have easily covered enroute had the scheduling been done with more planning.
Usually, when the sales management team talks about route planning, the conversations end on tracking and fuel-cost optimization. But optimizing route planning contributes much more than reducing overall expenses or being used as a rep-tracking mechanism. An advanced route planner can:
- Increase field sales rep productivity: Route planner significantly decreases driving time which means sales reps can spend more time with retailers than on roads.
- Increase safety: Drivers can avoid heavy traffic and roads that are not safe to drive.
- Boost confidence and happiness: Sales reps feel more empowered as they can rely on technology to guide them through the way.
With an effective route planner, field sales representatives can assess multiple routes and pick the one that is best suited for them.
4. Documents collection, invoice and payment
Invoices and payments are one of the key milestones of sales activity.
Having the ability to instantly generate a proof of purchase and collecting digital copies of the documents speed up the sales process. It saves a lot of time in to and fro for the field sales representatives and makes the work easier for the back-office or distributors team.
Facilitating such tech to the sales reps empowers them to achieve more with less time, increases job satisfaction, and helps in reducing attrition.
5. Are they playing?
Today, most of our sales activities are driven by consumer psychology—trying to unravel the shift in customer behavior and demand patterns using highly advanced tools. Similar attention is required in understanding the behavioral psychology of field sales reps to increase sales productivity and performance.
“Quality performance starts with a positive attitude.” – Jeffrey Gitomer
Building a positive attitude, especially when the competition is high, is extremely necessary. There are several unique ways to build a positive attitude and increase motivation, and one of them is gamification in sales.
Gamifying the sales activities can act as a positive reinforcement to inspire field sales reps to go the extra mile in order to complete their goals. Obviously, monetary benefits are a great motivation tool, which you can effectively implement to ramp up your gamification plans and inspire the sales team to achieve more.
6. Reduce the struggle and friction
Rewards, reimbursements, and incentives are integral to a sales team’s productivity. Usually in sales jobs or say most of the jobs, money is the biggest if not the only motivating factor.
Any obstruction can create stress and frustration in sales personnel that might instigate them to leave the company or work reluctantly.
Either way, the loss is of the business—as losing even an average-performing member in the sales team means starting the tedious process of hiring and training. Similarly, a salesperson working reluctantly for the above reason could result in poor performance and unhappy customers.
Do your reps need to fill multiple forms and submit endless proofs for reimbursements? That’s an invisible enemy to your team’s success!
In order to constantly motivate the employees to give their 100% in sales, the sales management team needs to work on reducing the struggle and friction in rewards, reimbursements, and compensation processes. Relying on the next-generation field sales management software integrated with expense and allowance management systems can streamline the compensation process and prevent delays. Result—happy, content, and motivated field sales team.
A field sales job includes many stages and it is possible that a salesperson is good at a certain stage, but not being properly recognized for the same.
For instance, a sales process may typically include demand creation, buyer identification, purchase commitment, order fulfillment, and customer service. Sales reps might have different kinds of competencies, for say, one may be great at one phase of the sales process while lacking in the other.
The recognition and rewards plans must be designed in such a way that all such factors are considered in the evaluation. This would ensure that members lacking in some crucial milestones would still get recognized and praised for their work in other milestones(Maybe not defined), which boosts their morale, increases confidence and respect for their employer and leads to other great outcomes like topline and bottom-line impact in the future.
The Key Takeaways
Honestly, there is no alternative to empowering your field sales team if you are determined to grow revenue and profitability. In order to thrive in the modern selling scenario, you need teams that operate in a collaborative culture and make informed, successful decisions. Leveraging technology, it is possible to build such teams that achieve revenue targets and push growth strategies.
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