Did you hear the one about how field reps from a consumer packaged goods company, armed with the latest marketing collateral featuring promotional prices, were successfully selling a hot product, only to find out that the information they had was out of date? The product was sold out, and even if it was available, it wasn’t available for the lower price. This is what gamers refer to as an ‘epic fail’ – a complete and total failure despite success being in reach.
This scenario is no joke, and unfortunately it happens on a daily basis to businesses around the country that are managing mobile sales forces. These businesses face numerous challenges – lack of visibility, lack of control and lack of organization – because conventional methods for sharing vital sales and marketing collateral, such as Sharepoint, leave a lot to be desired, from both the field reps’ and managers’ points of view.
Field reps are frustrated because they’re unable to find the materials they need to do their job, and don’t know if they have the most current versions or most up-to-date information to present to their customers. And many times, they have difficulty getting it immediately in the hands of those customers, when the opportunity for sales is ripe.
Management has its own issues with the current way of sharing collateral. They can’t easily see which of their field reps is looking at and using the material and if they have the right versions. Plus they don’t have a measurable way to know if the collateral is getting into the customers’ hands and how the marketing messages are being received.
The challenges add up to significant missed opportunities – from reps not being able to effectively make the sale to the company losing credibility because of misinformation and unavailable products.
AVOIDING FAILURE, ENSURING SUCCESS
To avoid these kinds of epic fails, businesses must rethink their processes for pushing collateral to their field sales force. To optimize their success in distributing sales and marketing material, and successfully closing sales, companies will want to have:
- the ability to publish and push out materials to the right person, at the right place and right time; then make them inaccessible when the information is no longer valid;
- a simple platform that can be easily accessed in the field via a mobile device;
- a robust search and filter mechanism, that includes giving field reps the ability to tag specific documents they may use frequently; and
- insight and visibility into who is accessing and viewing each document, as well as who they share them with.
Keep an eye on this space, because in a future blog we’ll be talking about some tools from Spring that will make your life easier by streamlining they way you manage all sales and marketing materials.