Remote teams are becoming more and more common as conferencing and productivity technology advances. In those industries where remote work has long been the norm, this is no great revelation. Businesses with remote employees who carry out field operationson a day-to-day basis have almost certainly adopted some sort of dashboard software or CRM which allows workers to collaborate on and coordinate purchase orders, appointment details, and more. When these technologies first became available, companies with mobile field operations naturally became the first to take advantage of them. There is however, a creeping problem that has sprouted from this early adoption.
In many instances, those companies who purchased CRM or dashboard software did so because they were the best option for them at the time. Since the software met most of their needs, it seemed wasteful to review or change the current system after a few years had passed. This ‘good enough’ mentality has led to many companies missing out on the innovations which later adopters of remote team management software have benefited from.
CRM serves a very important role for companies operating at the enterprise level, offering them all of the complexities and customization that large businesses require. For the most part, small businesses and organizations with teams operating outside of a central office don’t need those bells and whistles that come bundled with CRM. A more simplistic solution would in most cases suffice, and in many cases, be more beneficial to small teams.
Software specific to field operations has proven especially effective for remote teams whose responsibilities include surveying, merchandising, and selling to new and existing clients. Field Activity Management software has made it possible to streamline operations between managers in a central office and all employees working in the field. Purchase orders are immediately sent digitally to an employee farther down the supply chain who can fulfill the order. Out-of-Stock instances and messy planogram resets disappear when employees are empowered with an easy to use tool which fits their role.
Early adoption can be a fantastic strategy for a small business to adopt. Understanding the benefits of a new technology before competitors enables employees and the organization as a whole to function more efficiently and ‘wow’ customers. Ignoring future iterations and different branches of software as they emerge will unfortunately destroy the advantage created. Managers with employees in the field--review your software and communication strategy at least once a year, if not more. Your employees will appreciate it, your customers will appreciate it, and more likely than not, your bottom line will appreciate it.
Cam Garrant is the marketing manager at Repsly. Passionate about delivering quality content and data-driven insights, Cam's interests include SEO, basketball, and bad jokes.