When big changes occur, misconceptions often prevail. Allow me the opportunity to dispel a few of these myths that has managed to creep into sales management.
Software applications have become a ubiquitous part of our lives. We use them for activities as diverse as playing games, controlling our computers, and taking selfies – and we also use them to help us manage our businesses more efficiently. Apps are so commonplace in business, in fact, that they have become a necessity in order for companies to remain competitive in today’s business environment. Despite this, there are still quite a few people who remain wary of technology and the benefits that an excellent sales management system can offer. Let’s look at the top four misconceptions that get in the way of doing better business.
New technology is too complex to master
Many are skeptical of technology and afraid of complex new features that are difficult to learn and impossible to master. There is a definite resistance to adopting new software and systems for fear of the massive changes this will bring about. The reality is, though, that sales management systems such as Field Office’s Honeybee is designed to be exceptionally simple to use. Today’s sales software also uses standard user interfaces, which means that if you can effectively use Whatsapp, Skype or Dropbox, then you’ll be at home with the new sales management app. Modern sales management software can actually be easier to use than a pen and paper, particularly when masses of details need to be filled in.
I will have a ‘policeman’ monitoring me through my device
A major barrier to using apps is the fear of having privacy compromised. Some sales forces don’t want to be monitored and would prefer to be left alone completely while they’re out in the field. They don’t want to feel that their freedom is being curtailed or that they are being ‘policed’. This fear is understandable, and it is supported by “time tracking” apps specifically designed to monitor sales forces in minute detail, portraying managers as hawks ready to strike if the smallest deviation is made from a route.
The reality is that software – or a new sales management system – cannot possibly change the personality or management style of a sales manager, and although GPS location tracking is a necessary part of sales management systems (to simplify time and attendance reporting and to plot routes to customers), it is far more beneficial to sales forces than not having it. The key is to take a bird’s eye perspective, and while the GPS functionality is only a tiny fraction of an effective sales management solution, it still adds significant value to sales forces. It stores client locations and it also logs kilometres travelled, simplifying a sales executive’s daily activities by automating a mundane function and by being able to automatically navigate to accurate client locations, without having to go through difficult search processes. Managers also have access to a valuable tool that enables them to see where their sales forces are in real time, and therefore to see which rep should be assigned to specific tasks, based upon their current location. It simplifies daily time and attendance reporting, and gives valuable data to both sales forces and managers. In short, it is definitely not a mobile policeman, but an invaluable tool for sales forces and managers alike.
Our systems are working just fine
“If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it!” Human beings have a natural resistance to change, coupled with a strong fear of the unknown. Adopting a new system is often seen as insurmountable and the idea of new and difficult processes to master is just too off-putting. Many people feel that they want to deal as little with technology as humanly possible.
However large that fear is though, technology is here to stay and to challenge the ‘luddites’. If you’re unwilling to keep pace with what’s happening today, you will be dumped in the wake of progress. Fortunately, reaching the next level is not that difficult. Modern sales management systems are adaptable for meeting individual business requirements. These systems can also be quickly implemented and that means that, with a minimal amount of time and effort, a business can be ‘upgraded’ and moved swiftly into the 21st Century. Once that’s done, it’s business as usual with the only difference being that the business now has huge competitive advantages, without mountains of paperwork.
Technology reduces human contact
A big counter-force to integrating with technology is yet another fear – that of people being made redundant and obsolete by technology. They worry that their individuality will be lost. The old cries of “we are humans, not robots” can be heard echoing in the corridors of corporates. Often this fear is fanned by sci-fi movies exploiting fears of being dominated by machines but nothing could be further from the truth.
Technology is designed to make processes simpler. A sales management system can never replace your sales force, but it can empower them to perform better and deliver better results. Human contact will always be crucial to making the sale, but how much more effective is your sales force if it’s not restricted by time-consuming and mind-numbing administration? Imagine how much more productive your sales reps would be if they are freed from this and now able to have instant access to customer histories. What a pleasure for them to have the time to place customer orders, quotes, etc, while they’re on the move and which they can share instantly and simultaneously with the client and head office. Computers cannot build relationships, or make decisions but they can perform all the dull tasks – like admin – and take the nitty-gritty hassle and grudge work away from sales people so that they can concentrate on what they do best … selling.
We all know that technology has completely changed the business environment, and that it needs to be adopted if a business is going to remain competitive and relevant. At the same time, software developers also need to be mindful of making a product too complex, and to remember that a sales management system should be as simple as possible to use in order that the organisation may be empowered from the ground up.
The good news is that such solutions do already exist and they are being developed by companies that understand this intricately. They understand that, with simple and adoptable solutions, their customers will continue to drive growth and development in the business landscape.
Article written by Duaan Dekker, Marketing Manager of Field Office
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