02nd Sep, 2022
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- Field sales service is crucial for vertically integrated brands to connect and engage directly with their prospects
- However, field sales representatives are challenged by digitally-moving customer behaviour and purchase patterns
- Adopting future-forward tactics and digital sales management tools will help execute a sales-driven field marketing strategy
Every enterprise strives to increase its sales volume and aim for a bigger target and greater revenues each year. They try out different methods to optimize their sales processes, using a combination of telesales service, online selling, and a feet-on-street engine. While the remote or inside sales processes have their own charms, the field sales service allows vertically integrated brands to connect and engage directly with customers and the last-mile distributors and retailers.
However, field sales reps today are challenged by the institutional and individual customers who have the digital marketplace at their fingertips. Enterprises need to re-strategize their field marketing strategies with newer ways and a data-driven approach to convert leads and build brand loyalty. In a fiercely competitive marketplace, door-to-door marketing needs to be backed by a meticulous sales strategy. Here are some of the best strategies to transform an enterprise’s field sales force into its biggest asset.
1. Establish a robust sales process
Enterprises must begin by laying down a structured sales plan for their field sales force and implementing a system where they can track and measure the progress right from sourcing leads to converting them into paying customers. This will help define the entire field sales strategy, from scheduling to market visits and post-sales customer relationships. It will also enable enterprises greater control over their SKUs, on-shelf space, and channel partner relations.
2. Use analytics-driven sales tools
A feet-on-street sales representative has a long list of routine tasks like managing the existing customer base, visiting new prospects, making field calls, and ensuring communication with channel partners. However, often things do not go as scheduled as a field sales force are exposed to unforeseen events that could completely collapse the FOS sales operations and shoot down the sales performance.
With the use of analytics-powered tools, field representatives can keep a real-time log of their activities and capture on-ground data to reprogram their schedules and strategies. Enterprises can leverage tools with features such as customer mapping, geographical lead tracker, real-time sales data, team communications, route planner, performance management, and more.
3. Implement data-driven territory allocation
FOS sales representatives must be allocated territories where they have the potential of developing a better bond with the distributors and/or prospects. Aligning territories basis the sales and SKU volume is critical to the success of field sales programs. By reading the data, enterprises can allocate a strengthened field sales force in underperforming markets. Assigning territories based on real-time business intelligence will improve campaign performance, increase productivity, and inspire team cohesion.
A data-driven field sales management requires territory managers to align salespersons’ expertise with the appropriate customer base, geography, industry, and past relationships with channel partners. It will ensure that territories of two sales reps don’t overlap or are too thinly spread.
4. Make training & upskilling easier
Enterprises must continuously track and monitor field reps’ performance to evaluate their productivity and identify key areas of improvement in their process. Enterprises can identify critical gaps and personalize the training materials accordingly for maximum engagement and output. Additionally, companies can make refresher training and upskilling programs a part of the company culture to make the field sales force feel more valued, motivated, and confident in their skills. Creating a database of high-quality online and offline training materials for the field representatives can also help them improve their skills and perform better.
5. Improve the pre-sales process
Successful sales leaders understand the importance of a robust pre-sales strategy in accelerating sales growth. It is a well-established fact that companies with a strong-sales process enjoy higher conversion rates. It involves taking a dip check with every potential buyer to determine their interest levels and identify unique pain points in order to filter the good leads. This qualification system eliminates weak leads and increases the closure ratio for a sales team.
6. Train the feet on street team in soft skills
While a FOS sales team may be good at pitching a product or service, they must be equally brilliant on how to step into a customer’s shoes and understand what they want. A high-performance sales team is the one that can identify their customer’s unique challenges and provide a tailored solution to resolve their problems. Soft skills such as listening skills, empathy, patience, emotional intelligence, conflict resolution, observation, and more are crucial sales competencies in an ever-evolving marketplace.
7. Revise the incentive plans
Companies must periodically revise their incentive plans to ensure that it is fair and according to the industry standards. It is crucial that an enterprise’s incentive plans appropriately reward and recognize consistent performers. It is fair to set incentives based on sales volume, but at the same time consider if it makes sense to penalize low-performing sales reps. Also, reward sales reps for metrics such as customer retention, low consumer complaints, and high rating for new and existing customers.
8. Prioritize long-term success
Often, in a bid to achieve their weekly or monthly targets, sales leaders lose sight of the long-term sales strategy. The long-term strategy forms a crucial cog required to retain existing customers and ensure recurring orders and better profit margins. The myopic approach trickles down to the customer-facing teams, and their focus rests on meeting the numbers instead of building a sustainable sales future for the company.
There is no substitute to field sales and marketing if a company is determined to grow its revenue and profitability in the long run. The key is to build an agile field sales force and use AI/ML-powered tools for effective real-time field sales management. In order to generate desired revenue in a competitive, oversaturated market environment, companies need FOS sales teams that operate in a collaborative culture and make data-driven informed decisions. By leveraging field sales management tools, it is possible to build such teams that exceed revenue targets and push growth strategies.
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