3 Tips for Maximizing Field Sales
By Jim Benton, COO and Co-Founder, ClearSlide
With busy travel schedules, field sales reps rely on mobile technology to stay continually connected with customers and coworkers. Once reliant on bulky laptops, cumbersome applications and spotty Internet connections, they are now using smartphones, tablets and cloud technology throughout the selling process.
Over the last several years, I’ve met with many of the largest and fastest growing sales teams. Here are three things that cutting-edge sales organizations are employing to increase the effectiveness of their field sales organizations:
1. Real-time information access: Successful field sales reps require reliable, up-to-the-minute access to the tools and information they need to have intelligent and personalized conversations with prospects and customers. They need tools that help them seamlessly deliver presentations, monitor deals and communicate valuable sales analytics information to sales management from the road.
The days of showing up to a meeting and opening a PowerPoint file, then a browser to run a demo, then a QuickTime file to show a video are over. Prospects want to view a seamless presentation, and sales people want to deliver a high-fidelity pitch that mixes rich content, videos, animations, live demos and impromptu answers to customer questions—by having real-time access to marketing materials on the fly based upon where the conversation goes.
To make this work, sales organizations need to create a cloud-based central repository where reps can quickly navigate through company-approved pitches, sales collateral, PDFs, videos, interactive web pages, ROI case studies and more. Modern sales teams store all sales presentations, case studies, success videos, product demos in a central cloud-based repository that serve as a core platform for driving all engagements whether over the phone, in person, or by email.
Because reliable Internet connections are famously difficult to find when you need one, these cloud environments are continually syncing new materials with a field rep’s mobile device for offline use. When reps fire up their laptops, tablets or smartphones, all the latest materials are at their fingertips and are searchable.
Once a deal is in play, field sales reps can use new, innovative apps that send alerts to their mobile devices, alerting them to some deal activity—like a prospect opening up a proposal—so that the rep can strike while the iron is hot.
What happens if you realize there is a mistake with your million dollar proposal or, even worse, it gets into that hands of a competitor? By housing the proposal in the cloud, reps can quickly update the proposal without having to send a new file or link or can cut off access to a competitor all together.
2. Modern mobile devices: Nothing kills a sales meeting—or your reputation as an innovative company—faster than a rep reaching into his laptop bag for an old, bulky laptop. The proliferation of sleek mobile devices such as iPads, iPhones and Android devices, means that potential clients are turned off more than ever by old technology.
There are many useful enterprise-class apps on the market today that enable field sales reps to use their mobile devices to quickly search and access presentations, videos, customer testimonials and other information from the cloud—so that field reps are armed with the information they need to sell and overcome objections.
These apps can also be used to drive those presentations from a mobile device, or even a prospects desktop computer. Because these devices use 3G technology—not unreliable Internet or Wi-Fi connections, reps know they will have reliable access to content at any time.
3. Collaboration through the cloud: Team selling is more important than ever before. In the past, sales reps worked alone and rarely had access to the customized content other reps created and sent to prospects. Successful team selling relies on technologies that allow reps to collaborate and share content and best practices.
With all sales material in a central, cloud-based location, it becomes a workspace where messaging and proposals can be unified and organized, and sales reps can grab the right material without re-creating the wheel. Field reps can stay connected to the rest of the organization like never before.
Keeping your field sales reps productive and connected while on the road is a huge challenge. With the proliferation of cloud technologies, user-friendly mobile devices and enterprise-class apps, innovative sales organizations are increasing the connectedness—and effectiveness—of their field sales organizations.