Modern businesses are more complex than ever before. With various technologies and communication channels exploding on the scene at an exponential rate, it can be difficult for organizational leaders to decide which practices will best suit their business’s needs. Companies who employ remote field employees should consider implementing a simple CRM software solution that can simplify some of the processes that are already in place.
A common complaint of remote employees is a lack of efficient communication with management. Poor internal communication is detrimental to the health of any business, and can be especially dangerous for businesses that contract remote teams. Sometimes a combination of phone calls, texts, and emails creates confusion for employees working in the field. Certain technologies have real-time instant messaging functions that make communication between field reps and back office managers effortless. Managers are able to check in with employees and provide feedback at a moment’s notice, which is beneficial to boosting employee engagement and morale. This function is invaluable for employees who do not have the opportunity to cultivate a meaningful relationship with management due to the fact that they spend the majority of their time outside of the main office.
Another perk of real-time communication is the ability to solve problems in the field as they happen. Response time for instant messaging is much faster than email, thus allowing managers and reps to work out a solution to issues that reps are dealing with on-site without a long lag time. With some simple CRM software solutions, employees have the ability to correspond with managers in a more focused manner using project specific communication. In other words, field reps are able to send a message to the management with the details of a specific project attached to it. This function streamlines communication that much more because both managers and reps will be familiar with the details of the project that is being discussed, and therefore can dive right into problem-solving.
In addition to text, some solutions are also able to send high-resolution, geo-tagged images to management instantly. This feature is useful for monitoring competitors’ activities at various locations and for explaining concerns to managers when verbal communication is unclear. Being able to fix problems as they arise can improve your company’s relationship with clients and demonstrate your dedication to customer service.
Custom Mobile Forms
There are countless benefits associated with making the switch from paper to mobile forms. Eliminating paper forms can save time on data entry, money on physical paperwork, and prevent human errors that can inadvertently skew important data. Some mobile CRM solutions include forms that are not only digital, but custom.
With customizability, managers can create forms that are tailored to each individual client. Having this feature allows reps to collect data that relates to a specific client, as opposed to using only one generic form for all clients. Custom forms can also include mandatory fields that reps are required to fill out before submission to the back office. This reduces the chances that a rep will accidentally leave a client visit without collecting necessary data.
The electronic signature capture feature available with some software solutions is another way that managers can hold reps accountable for their performance in the field. Similar to instant messaging, custom forms can be delivered to managers in real-time. This ability enables back office managers to make business decisions faster since they have immediate access to key data. Eradicating manual data collection and entry allows reps to accomplish more productive client visits, which can impact your business’s bottom line.
Time & Mileage Tracking
Some technologies are equipped with time and mileage tracking, which are helpful for both field reps and managers. Manually recording hours worked and miles traveled is a time-wasting activity for employees, and trying to recall this information from memory is susceptible to human error. If time spent at each client visit and mileage accumulated on the road is recorded electronically, employees will no longer have to guess when they are unsure. Therefore, these tracking features are opportune for improving both efficiency and accuracy.
Furthermore, seeing how much time a field rep has spent at a given client visit or how many miles they have traveled on a particular day serves as a method for keeping employees accountable for their daily activities. Managers can intervene if they feel that reps are spending too much or too little time visiting clients, or are taking inconvenient routes to client visits. Reps are likely to use their time more productively if they know they are being held accountable.
Simplifying field activities with a mobile software solution empowers remote employees to spend more time focusing on revenue-building activities. Slow communication practices and manual documentation stifles reps’ abilities to perform on the job. Consequently, managers cannot execute the best possible business strategies because of the lag time and human error they are forced to deal with. By using technology that is easy to implement relatively inexpensive, managers, field reps, and clients will all reap the benefits of simplified field work.
Victoria is a Marketing Associate at Repsly, where she leads the company's P.R. and social media efforts. You can also catch her prepping for slew of exciting industry events. A New England native, Victoria has spent time living in Italy and traveling throughout Europe before settling back in Boston. When she's not planning her next trip, V is probably tasting wine or brushing up on her Italian.