Managing a team of representatives who primarily work outside the office presents a host of challenges. Nearly all communication has to be done remotely, it is difficult to catch mistakes before they happen, and ensuring rep accountability is not as easy as popping your head in an office. If coaching your team has become a string of miscommunicated instructions, rep complaints, and lengthy meetings, there is a solution. Field Activity Management software can help managers coach their field reps and get their team back on track.
1. Custom Forms
Instructions have been posted in an email. You’ve made phone calls and sent texts. Yet, your reps are still missing crucial steps at retailer visits. No matter how many reminders you send, the problem keeps occurring and retailers are getting frustrated. At this point, managers often feel a full staff meeting is the only solution to once again try to clarify the directions. But meetings often do not fix the issues at hand.
Part of the problem with a meeting is that its message doesn’t follow reps into the field. If the problems occur in the field, managers should be focusing on in-field solutions. Custom forms provided by Field Activity Management software allow managers to assign projects to their team. Managers can treat each retail visit as a project, making forms that require reps to fill out 2 questions, 3 questions, or as many as is suitable. That way, managers can rest easy knowing their reps have performed all the necessary duties at each retailer.
2. GPS Tracking
Since field reps have to travel through traffic, there is not always a guarantee of being on time to each location. If your field reps are late, retail managers are stuck waiting on them. The retailer is frustrated, you’re frustrated, and the rep is frustrated. If this issue keeps presenting itself, the GPS function provided by many Field Activity Management softwares may be the solution.
With Cloud-based software, back-office managers can see a real-time display of their field reps’ activities, and with GPS ability, the multiple locations they have visited in one day. This kind of visibility enables managers to identify recurring problems with the business’s territory management. Reps can also take geo-tagged photos from retail locations, allowing for a visual representation of product placement, which can give managers a look into surrounding competition on the shelf.
3. Project Communication
One major issue with internal communication is focus. If your reps are receiving information about projects from a combination of phone calls, emails, and texts, their performance will drag. At a retailer, your rep may merchandise product and perform an audit, but forget to fill out a purchase order. This kind of behavior is a result of unhealthy communication. At some point, the instructions were misunderstood or lost.
Field work can be simplified with Field Activity Management software by utilizing project specific communication. Managers can send instant messages from the back office to reps in the field. Not only is the response time for IMs much faster than email, messages will automatically have all the project information attached. It can be seen under a project icon within the message. This allows managers to quickly communicate with reps, while limiting questions about addresses and dates, which will be provided.
The specific challenges faced by field team managers can be overcome by leveraging Field Activity Management software. The customizable forms, GPS tracking, and focused communication of the software enables managers to coach their reps in the field and raise the level of overall productivity in the business.
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.