In order for any field organization to become more effective, it has to embrace the concept of transparency. Transparency drives field sales, marketing and merchandising organizations to more closely adhere to the principles of communication, focus, and accountability, three crucial features of agile field organizations.
Field organizations that foster open communication between field marketing managers and field reps generate team collaboration in problem solving and strategy execution, while also driving accountability. When the culture and tools in an organization make it easy to see and communicate about activities that are conducted in the field, as well as actions taken by management, then reps are held more accountable for their productivity, and remain focused on high quality execution of their assigned tasks. Managers that have direct visibility into the specific activities that their reps conduct, and have real time access to data that is generated in the field, are able to identify and correct impediments to peak performance.
Tools that provide this type of visibility should also provide a channel of communication within the field organization. Giving managers the ability to communicate about specific field transactions as well as broader operational topics will encourage reps to be more diligent in executing and reporting on specific tasks. At the same time, removing as much of the reporting burden from reps by automating things like time and location reporting will make the field more efficient while informing management as they decide how to better coach reps and allocate resources.
In addition to real time, context based communications and automated time and location reporting, other great tools for improving visibility to field activities are photo documentation and flexible 'e-forms'. The immediate synchronization of this type of data from workers in the field to managers on the back end keeps both parties on the same page and able to make quick decisions and adjustments to field processes. A transparent relationship between field managers and reps improves business productivity with real-time capturing and communication of both customer data and data pertaining to field rep activity.
Transparency drives communication, accountability, and focus in field sales, marketing and merchandising organizations, leading to an increase in productivity and overall performance. Transparency leads to better communication, and when supported by the right tools, can be built into the culture of field sales and merchandising organizations.
Mat Brogie is part of the founding team, and CEO of Repsly, the world's leading solution for high performance retail execution teams. Mat has spent the past 15 years of his career focused on bringing technology enabled business solutions to the consumer goods industry, having implemented solutions for tens of thousands of field reps at companies such as Coca-Cola, Procter & Gamble, Pepperidge Farm and hundreds of others.