Business Head FieldCircle
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How field sales changed with evolving technology

29th Sep 2020
Business Head FieldCircle
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Businesses are known for going above and beyond to skyrocket their sales. From creative to technological, they do not shy away from taking the big bold move that could increase sales. In recent years, we have experienced how technology has dominated every aspect of our lives and this has made businesses leverage technology as a tool for getting the sales edge.

The coronavirus pandemic and excruciating competition in the market are making even small businesses turn to digital tools. Although relying on digital technology is getting into a common practice but not completely. Many businesses still use paper-based processes to perform their routine tasks.

Such processes increase the burden on field sales representatives, as they get engaged into administrative tasks, thus get less time for actual selling. According to the Time Management study, sales reps spend 65% of their time on non-selling activities. The data is alarming for companies planning on to achieve aggressive sales goals. This is because if field sales reps are not selling, it is axiomatic that sales and revenue are on downward trajectory.

How Technology Paved The Way in Sales

Here comes technology into play that leads managers to information about their field sales representatives are spending their time. While large enterprises have edge over technologies, smaller businesses routinely struggle to manage revenue and profitability, which obstruct them from staying on top of technology.

Some of the common challenges faced by small or mid-sized organizations in technology adoption are:   

The initial reluctance to shift to something new: Whether the technology is actually useful or just something to be sold creates conflict among decision-makers.  
Lack of proper system and procedure: Most small businesses lack a standard review and assessment system to analyze the redundancy in existing processes and replace it with something new.
Change management: Often employees develop a habit of doing a task in a certain way. In that case, it becomes difficult for the organizations to push new habits to use the new technology more effectively.

These challenges act as barriers to technology adoption in small and mid-sized organizations. It has been observed that large enterprises, mostly backed by strong financial capabilities, do not refrain from adopting new technologies but even they are not resistant to barriers.

In a McKinsey Global Survey, most respondents confirmed that they are using AI in some business functions to achieve moderate value, but only 21% respondents reportedly embedding AI in multiple business functions. But beyond these barriers lies the prospect of using technology to generate value for the organization, field sales teams, and customers.   

Field Sales Team and CRM Technology

If we particularly look at the field sales teams, a report reveals that high-performing teams are using 3 times more of the amount of sales technology used by the non-performing team. Today, most sales-focused organizations use advanced field sales CRM systems to gain visibility into their sales process. Powered by AI, Cloud, and mobility solutions, these CRM systems are intrinsic to high performance sales strategies.

The Benefits of Field Sales CRM Technology

More meetings, we are told, means more sales. Initially CRM systems were designed to push this idea of sales among field sales leaders and representatives. But when businesses implemented the system, they experienced a resistance among field sales representatives for using the CRM technology.

Even when they could actually see the loads of benefits of using a CRM software in handling customer relations. Here let us first analyze the benefits and eventually we will move to unveiling the causes of resistance. Field sales leaders experienced the following benefits of CRM systems:

Manage Centralized Database

It is one of the crucial benefits that sales leaders see in a CRM system. They get to manage everything in one place, which provides them visibility and brings transparency in the sales process. When sales leaders know about every lead at different stages in the sales pipeline, they get a clear picture of the existing sales status. It is helpful for them in creating more effective sales strategies around short-term and long-term goals.

Organize Data

Data collection and processing is the key aspect of field sales strategy. It enables the sales leaders to track the sales pipeline activity on daily-basis and set up the action plan for the next step. As being a voluminous task, data entry consumes a lot of time for sales representatives. Automation in CRM systems enables sales reps to handle data weighing, summarization, and visualization of data once being entered.

Segment Customers

There are critical criteria in sales for every field sales representative that only through proper segmentation of customers can be achieved. The key criteria could be location, company size, and deal size. Such segmentation helps rep in making key decisions related to adopting the approach of selling to the client.

Generate Reports

Field sales CRM data is used to generate automated reports, given that the software system is powered with an advanced dashboard. Easy-to-use dashboard enables sales leaders analyze the sales performance of the company and the individual. Data-driven insight strengthens decision-making processes, as it removes guess works and biases from the process.

These benefits of the CRM systems are quite common and easily available in any solution. According to the Nucleus Research report, CRM provides an average return of $8.71 for every $1 spent. Another report published on trackvia.com reveals that CRM improves customer retention by 27%.

Unsurprisingly, such ROI has inspired widespread adoption of CRM systems and the confidence of technology companies to improve the system.

Technology companies have now powered the CRM tool techs such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, Internet of Things, and Cloud computing. When an already efficient tool gets backed by powerful technologies, it gets potential to transform the entire sales process.

These technologies enhance the tracking, monitoring, and forecasting capabilities of CRM solutions.

Let us take an example. Take a look at how Artificial Intelligence technology adds on to the benefits of field sales CRM.

Lower error: As AI reduces human intervention, chances of errors reduces too. Virtual and assistant bots ensure achieving 100% accuracy in data entry thus improving the quality of information for marketing campaigns.
Improved customer segmentation: AI can better segment the qualified leads based on evaluating past data and present a more clear picture of the sales pipeline.  
Predict customer behaviour: CRM integrated with AI has advanced capabilities to identify patterns that emerges out of historical data. Decision-makers can learn from the past and use the information to connect with customers and improve sales performance to the next level.

As artificial intelligence technology, Cloud and mobility solutions come with multitude of benefits.

The anytime, anywhere access provided by using the Cloud technologies for enhanced capabilities to share information helps in tracking and monitoring of field sales activities. IoT integrated with CRM can increase its potential to process massive data collected from machines, which can be useful to generate insight.

These technologies can streamline the field sales operations, empower field sales representatives, and boost revenue and profitability.     

The Next Step Forward

It is quite apparent that the modern selling scenario is overwhelmed with new technologies. In order to thrive in the current environment, it is essential to adopt the technology after evaluating your business requirements. To begin with, evaluate your existing field sales operations and select a digital tool that could automate your existing processes and help improve sales productivity. With time, you can integrate the tool with new technology based on your business needs.

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