The tools of the trade may have changed, technology may have advanced but the one thing that still rings true is that a Sales Manager succeeds when the team succeeds. Despite the competitive and cut-throat nature of sales, a successful business knows that it will thrive and continue to grow when everyone works together and it is the Sales Manager’s job to ensure a collaborative effort. Nowadays many sales reps work away from the office and spend a lot of time on the road and finding ways to keep your team connected can seem like an uphill struggle. We talk to a lot of our customers about how they manage their field sales teams and find a couple of key reoccurring themes from all types of businesses with 2 sales reps to upwards of 50. In this short post we want to share our findings with you about how many businesses effectively manage their field sales teams.
In this technological era one of the most important things a Sales Manager can do to support his/her teams is ensure that everyone has the right tools and technology to effectively do their job, and this doesn’t just mean kitting everyone out with the latest smartphone and laptop. In fact many businesses find that a Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) scheme can improve productivity and reduce overheads. BYOD allows reps to choose their own device and their own way of working, rather than issuing a one-size-fits-all approach.
Plus, it’s not just the device that affects how people work but also the tools available to them on that device. Choosing the right software can be the difference between a successful and unsuccessful sales team. For example, for high profile clients sales reps may require a powerful customer relationship management system. On the other hand reps that see a lot of clients in one day demand a simple and stripped-back way of logging their activities and keeping head office up-to-date. Choosing an application that can offer all, or at least most, of what your reps needs day-to-day in one place can drastically help the adoption of new processes and actually make the rep’s job easier.
The second most important thing in managing field reps is strong communication, which overlaps greatly with having the right tools and technology. Strong communication encompasses huge ground and starts with a clearly defined process. Is there one, primary medium for you to communicate with your reps? This could be simply a regular email that gets sent out at the beginning of every week, or an online portal where reps can track their performance and share ideas which others. Whatever it is, it should be built with your reps’ need at the forefront and should be a tool to help them achieve their sales goals rather than simply just a tool for management to assert control.
Having effective communication within your team also means asking the right kinds of questions; are they happy with the sales process? Do your teams feel that their targets are manageable? Do your reps feel they get enough support? Do they feel well connected to other reps?
There are an abundance of tools available, both free and paid-for, that can help you to build a sense of community digitally for all your reps and also support a sales manager’s role, such as performance auditing and information distribution. If you aren’t sure what kind of tools would work best for your team, we suggest asking them what they feel would benefit them the most or where they feel the weaknesses currently lie. Hosted and Cloud tools such as Office 365 and SharePoint are great ways to start building mobile resources at low cost and can help your teams to feel as if they are working in the office even when they’re on the road.
Want to find out more about any of the technologies we’ve mentioned here? Drop us a message!