From the Office to the Field: Mapping Your Route to Mobile Sales Success| By |Rachel Serpa

Red pushpin showing the location of a destination point on a map

In just the last 10 years, we’ve gone from carefully plotting a destination on a map and pulling over to the side of the road to find our next route, to spouting off an address to Siri and receiving real-time turn-by-turn directions. This is just one of the many ways that mobile has changed the way we do almost everything on a daily basis.

But there is one major process that mobile has struggled to enhance: sales. Despite the fact that sales is one of the most travel-intensive, relational professions around, reps and managers alike still find themselves tied to their desks each time they want to access or enter any information in their CRMs. Established long before Steve Jobs introduced the first iPhone in 2007, most legacy CRM vendors have since released read-only versions of their desktop UIs that do little to accommodate field reps’ unique needs.

In contrast, next-generation vendors are taking a mobile-first approach to building their sales platforms, which leads to enhanced productivity, more accurate insights and greater pipeline visibility. Here are a few mobile-first features to look out for to ensure that your mobile sales team is successful whether they’re walking door-to-door or flying across the Atlantic.

Offline Access

Picture this: you’re on your way to an on-site meeting with what could be one of your biggest customers to date. Sure, you reviewed the details of the prospect’s requirements before leaving the office on Friday, but you were really counting on having some additional time to prep during your 3-hour flight Monday morning. Now that the airline just announced that its WiFi is down, you’ll have to enter your meeting feeling less confident and prepared than you would like.

This is a risk that companies run without the ability to access information housed within their CRMs offline. To compound this issue, think of all the additional data that is lost when reps cannot enter information into their CRM in real-time. The chances that they will enter it completely and accurately – or even at all – once they are within reach of a computer are slim. Offline access ensures that all data entered offline is saved once the CRM is reconnected.

Reporting

Have you ever attempted to use Excel on your smartphone? What about filling out a lengthy registration form on your tablet? If so, then you understand the pain that outside sales teams go through when trying to track their sales performance on the go. Trying to make out miniscule tables and scrolling through fields of disorganized data is a frustrating waste of time, but the need to measure and track progress in real-time is imperative in today’s data-driven world.

That’s why leading companies like Night Lion Security are turning to mobile-first sales platforms that provide access to visual reports on any device. To accommodate his busy travel schedule, Night Lion CEO Vinny Troia chose a CRM that displays reports not as tables or lists, but as clear, colorful charts that can be drilled into with a single tap. “I love that I get the same level of functionality as I have in my office at my desk as I do on the road from my phone,” says Vinny of his solution of choice.

Geolocation

We’ve all been there – it’s time to visit the customer, you know their general location, but was it 1107 Main Street or 1017 Main Street? You search through your emails, pull up the company website, whatever it takes to find the exact address. Eventually you arrive flustered and, even worse, late.

Perhaps the epitome of mobile-first design, geolocation is a feature that is specifically built to enhance the productivity and performance of outside sales teams. Geolocation plots prospects on a visual map to help reps plan the most efficient travel and routes. It even provides one-touch driving directions so you can spend more time preparing for your meetings and less time looking for them.

Visits

As a field sales rep it can be challenging to track canvassing outcomes and progress on the go. Because of this, outside sales managers often suffer from lack of visibility when it comes to their teams’ activities. Visits solves this by enabling mobile reps to easily view and track the status of their most recent lead visit, like “not interested” or “come back later,” from their mobile devices.

visits-iphones

Visits can also be filtered by status; for example, a field rep might choose to view her territory by only those leads that have been marked as “Come Back Later” so that she can focus her efforts on visiting these potential customers. Customers and current contacts are also noted on the map to prevent duplicate or unnecessary visits. If a current customer is located next to or close by your next visit, you can use that relationship as a reference and/or conversation starter.

Custom Notifications

With hundreds of prospects in your funnel at any given time, reacting in real-time is a pipe dream – not to mention watching and waiting for prospects to make a move is a major waste of time. But given that the instantaneous nature of social networks and Google search has accustomed consumers to receiving real-time answers and attention, the thought of missing something important while on the go can cause reps and managers alike major anxiety.

With the right platform, outside sales teams can go about their daily business and receive real-time alerts on their tablets and smartphones for occurrences that they have defined as warranting immediate action. Examples of highly effective notifications might include when a new lead is assigned to you, when a prospect opens an email or when a deal closes.

Email Templates

Have you ever received an email with something along the lines of “Sent using my iPhone, please excuse all errors” in the footer? While mobile devices have undoubtedly made communication more instantaneous than ever before, we are now suffering from a typo epidemic. Not a huge deal when texting with your friends, but definitely a problem when negotiating with prospects. What’s a fast-moving field rep to do?

Thankfully, next-generation mobile sales solutions not only provide the ability to send and receive emails directly within their UI, but they also enable teams to save their most successful emails as templates. These templates can be quickly personalized using merge tags like “first name” or “company name” and dispatched in just a few taps. The benefit is two-fold: high quality communication and the ability to track and measure email effectiveness.

Beware of Unnecessary Costs!

In an effort to avoid being left behind, many legacy sales CRMs have launched mobile applications that are included with their standard licensing costs, but are essentially read-only versions of their desktop UIs. Want full mobile functionality? That will cost you. So will offline access and the ability to sync any new data or activities to the CRM once you reconnect. Not to mention the ultimate price of the productivity and data that is lost without reps’ ability to access and enter information in the field.

A true mobile-first CRM will provide the features and capabilities listed in this article as part of its original licensing cost, not as extra or hidden fees as shown below!

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Taking It to the Field

It’s time for sales to take part in the mobile transformation. With the right tools, your mobile sales teams can experience greater productivity and pipeline visibility than ever before – anywhere, anytime. For more insight into the features and functionality you should be searching for to map your team’s route to sales success, download our free eBook: Choosing the Right CRM for Your Mobile Team.

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