In this challenging economic climate, sales people are under pressure to close deals quickly, keeping in mind the growing fierce competition. And trust is still earned face-to-face.
What has changed is the nature of the in-person sales meeting. Given today’s premium on efficiency, both parties want to keep meetings focused and productive rather than linger over a long lunch. Today’s cloud-based technology and mobile devices are making these meetings more productive than ever by automating meeting preparation activities and the delivery of sales information to the customer in a compelling manner. The fact that sales people can still meet face-to-face but at the same time make the meeting an efficient one with quick turnaround gives companies a distinct efficiency advantage.
The Problem: According to Yankee Group, sales reps spend 74% of their time on non-revenue‐generating activities. So where does their time go?
- Sales prep (16%): Sales reps typically go into the office to prepare before meetings. If they travel a lot, it is easy for them to lose touch with customers’ current issues and needs.
- Administrative tasks (26%): Most sales reps prefer to leave their computers behind, saving up their call reporting and other administrative work for the end of the day or week. This strategy hinders management visibility into sales activity. It also delays responses to customer requests, which in turn lengthens sales cycles.
- Travel and waiting (32%): Sales reps travel to and from customer sites, and back and forth to their offices. They wait for meetings, wait in airports, sit on trains and airplanes, and sit in traffic.
- Selling (26%): Outside sales people typically spend 26% of their time face‐to‐face with customers.
Solution: The idea is to make a few more hours productive (out of their 74% of their time on non revenue‐generating activities) especially the ones that are not in their control – when they are out on calls. This can be done by using technology that is affordable and relevant to their needs.
By equipping the sales person with a smart phone (capable of accessing email messages) and an email account, sales people can receive notifications and business‐critical information in their inbox on mobile device. This functionality enables them to quickly execute tasks and make informed, timely decisions regardless of where they are physically located.
- Recording MOM (minutes of meeting and other information) in your inbox, then transferring it to your ERP or Sales management software can improve reporting accuracy and reduce time spent on administrative tasks.
- Executives can submit and managers can process budget approvals, sanctions, special pricing offers, travel and leave requests from their mobile device, enabling them to handle these tasks while on the go.
- Increasing sales productivity by providing sales people with critical information when they need it to make a sale.
- Increasing the visibility of sales activity to management, with more current and accurate sales reporting.
- Increasing customer satisfaction by providing a more responsive sales service, reducing the contract cycle time, providing rapid “on the spot” resolution of customer issues, and turning account management calls into sales opportunities.
- Reducing sales administrative time so that field sale people have more time to spend with customers.
- Providing a work environment with tools that new generations of workers know and expect to use in their work.
- Improving the quality of sales data used in forecasting and business planning.
Cost: The cost involved could be as follows:
- Cost of providing an Android phone to your Sales Rep / Relationship Managers
- A data plan (costing about Rs 500 per month.)
- Providing email access using Open source based Email solution like Mithi Connect Xf Email Server – costing as little as Rs. 500 per box
Conclusion: Email on your mobile gives you advantages that start in the field and carry through to downstream business processes. An increase of 1-2 hours everyday of staff productivity will result in a very high payback on a relatively very small investment.
Ashok is working on both, the channel program and the direct-to-customer sales at Mithi. Instrumental in building partnerships with large system integrators and ISPs such as HCL, Wipro, CMC etc. Ashok still loves selling directly to customers.