With the explosion of the web, small and medium sized (SMB) businesses with remote workers now have a large variety of choices for both hardware and software solutions. For software, CRM and Field Activity Management (FAM) tools are available. For hardware, SMB businesses have explored COPE, CYOD, and BYOD strategies. Choosing the right combination of software and hardware can be tricky. To maximize your business’ budget and develop sustainable growth, pair FAM software with a BYOD (Bring-Your-Own-Device) hardware strategy. Here’s a few reasons why this is the best coupling for your field team.
1. It’s Employee Friendly
Happy workers perform at a higher level. One way to boost rep morale is by instituting a popular hardware strategy. Employees want BYOD because with a familiar interface, they can perform job duties easily and efficiently. This strategy also guarantees field reps’ privacy, a benefit they would not have with a company-owned phone. The COPE (corporate-owned-personally-enabled) strategy frustrates reps because businesses often choose cost-effective devices whose abilities fall short of the reps’ own phones. Your rep is wondering why he has to take 10 minutes on an old phone to do an activity that would take 2 minutes on his updated personal phone. The CYOD (choose-your-own-device) strategy sounds better, but because businesses want to stay within their budget, the list of pre-approved device choices offered to employees is usually limited.
Field reps don’t only need a familiar device to work with - they also need software that is fast, simple, and effective to pair with their phone. Field teams are often offered two choices for software: CRM and Field Activity Management. CRM software came first in the late 90s, with many major corporations adopting it. However, one of the main issues with CRM is its complicated interface. In fact, out of 500 business managers, 83% said employee resistance was their biggest challenge with CRM implementation. Field Activity Management software is designed specifically for SMB businesses with reps in the field, simplifying duties like routing, merchandising, and auditing. A “Bring-Your-Own-Device” hardware strategy paired with easy-to-use FAM software will not only create efficiency throughout the business, it will make your reps happy.
2. It’s Cost Effective
When a business is debating a hardware strategy, it is important to look at the investment costs. And for the strategy to be successful, make sure the money spent will truly return value to the business. Since COPE and CYOD strategies can both frustrate reps and slow work processes down, the “investment” may just be a waste of money. And it’s no small amount. For a team of 25 reps, a mobile device plan can be as much as $375 a month ($4,500 a year). Additionally, if your choose a CYOD strategy, allowing your reps to choose devices across generations or providers, you’ll lose out on the discount some providers offer to small business, boosting your costs even further.
Aside from CRM’s issues with user approval, the product can be very costly. According to a SUGARCRM analysis, CRM software can cost anywhere from $360-$10,000 a year. Field Activity Management software, by contrast, ranges from $120-$2,400 per year. CRM software offers a complex system of abilities, but many SMB business simply need a powerful tool that addresses their core needs. Pairing a BYOD hardware strategy with FAM software will significantly cut investment costs while delivering exactly what your business needs.
3. It’s Preventative
Training new reps is a main responsibility of managers. To get used to the job, reps must learn responsibilities, guidelines, and processes. One part of training that field team managers often forget is device training. This step is crucial, as many field reps use their mobile device to perform key duties and receive assignments. This kind of communication demands that reps concretely understand the functions and features of their work phone. Allowing employees to use their own phones shortens this step of training, as the reps already know the ins and outs of their personal devices. They simply need to learn the functions of the software your company uses. Though reps can be trained using COPE or CYOD strategies, it takes up unnecessary time and any lingering misunderstanding about directions can cause big problems like out-of-stock (OOS) instances and product voids.
SMB businesses with field teams have a unique set of needs. They require a tool that streamlines communication between back-office managers and field reps. Because managers and acting reps are separated, that tool also needs to alert managers of problems before the fact and not after. CRM software primarily focuses on the financial analysis of marketing and sales, making adjustments in the future based on the results. Applying this tool in the field creates confusion for reps. They can’t use infographic charts to place purchase orders or apply financial data to merchandising product. FAM software enables back-office managers to prevent OOS instances and routing troubles by seeing real-time data regarding reps’ activities and locations. Allowing reps to use their familiar phones and enabling them with software that directly impacts their daily duties will help your business prevent issues and focus on growth.
The Best of Both Worlds
Hardware and software changes can greatly impact the success of a SMB business, which is why these decisions are so crucial to get right. A “Bring-Your-Own-Device” strategy cuts training time and eliminates hardware investment costs while also offering reps a chance to maximize their abilities using a device they’re comfortable with. Field Activity Management software is an affordable tool that will aid both reps and managers in preventing damaging mistakes and simplifying everyday fieldwork.
Erin P. Friar
Erin Friar is a Content Marketing Journalist Intern at Repsly, Inc. and is completing a Journalism degree at Suffolk University. She is a master of grammar and is passionate about creating fresh content to help foster efficiency and overall success in small businesses.