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Accountability, Team Management for Services, CPG Team Management

Visibility: An Invaluable Resource

Visibility is a priceless tool for managers and field representatives alike. Having insight into activities that are being executed in the field in real-time enables team leaders to correct inefficiencies that are hurting client relationships and their organization’s bottom line. When managers can monitor what’s taking place in the field, remote employees can be given more autonomy and work more effectively. We’ve explored the topic of visibility in previous blog posts, but the analysis below provides a more in-depth look at this invaluable business resource.


For Managers

Having visibility of field operations lends numerous benefits to managers of remote teams. Before implementing any type of workforce tracking software, however, managers must clearly articulate to employees that the purpose of monitoring their activities is to improve organizational processes and reinforce accountability, rather than to micromanage. Bringing the focus back to the benefits of having visibility, certain technologies allow managers to check the status of particular projects in real-time. This helps leaders to allocate resources accordingly, as well as to execute more effective strategies based on what’s happening in the field

Managers who have visibility over their field representative's’ activities can provide them with more direct, relevant coaching on specific projects. Similarly, managers can administer positive feedback and praise when they see a representative in the field meeting his or her targets. Interacting with employees in this way aids in boosting morale, as they know that their efforts aren’t going unnoticed. An additional bonus of having visibility is that hiring managers can recruit top talent who possess similar traits and skill sets to the organization’s top performers.

Research indicates that field representatives spend at least 13% of their day driving from place to place. Over time, this percentage can amount to hundreds of hours. Therefore, managers need to design the most efficient routes and schedules possible so that employees aren’t wasting time on the road. This is where GPS tracking comes into play, as it helps managers to evaluate and adjust their territory management plans to maximize productivity. With efficient territory management practices, organizations can also tap into the trend of sustainability by lowering their carbon footprint.

GPS tracking also helps to keep employees accountable for client visits, as they know managers can view their completed activities in the field. Increased accountability supports customer service because field representatives will make the effort to be on time. They may even add to their number of daily visits, as an increase in accountability results in an increase in motivation. If for some reason a representatives is late to a visit, managers will be aware and can notify the client or send backup if necessary.

Visibility allows managers to track specific aspects of their team’s performance to discover what processes are enhancing revenue and which can be improved. Making these metrics visible across the entire team helps to raise accountability, as employees will feel that their individual efforts are part of something larger. Some software solutions enable field representatives to capture client data, such as notes about prior visits or that client’s preferences, that can be made available to management in real-time. This gives managers a clearer understanding of the organization’s relationship with its customers and empowers them to react to issues in the field as they are happening. In addition to data, certain technologies can capture geo-tagged photos which can also be sent to management in real-time. The use of photos also keeps employees accountable for their work in the field and conveys more than words alone can.

visibility for field team management

For Field Representatives

Visibility certainly has advantages for managers. But what about field representatives? Fortunately, visibility is highly beneficial for them as well. The profits earned or money saved from improving inefficient practices can be redistributed to employees either directly or indirectly. Workforce tracking can also help to mitigate arguments between clients and employees or arguments amongst team members because hard data will exist to prove who is at fault in a given situation. GPS tracking will show where an employee was a given moment, how much time was spent with a particular clients, and what activities were completed or incompleted during a visit. With workforce tracking in place, managers can check up on employees if they’re late to a client visit or skipped it altogether to make sure they haven’t run into a problem.

When managers can monitor field activities, they are able to give representatives more decision-making power resulting in increased engagement levels. Technologies equipped with instant messaging let managers reach out to employees quickly if issues arise. What’s more, field activity management software removes the need for manual documentation of hours worked, miles traveled, forms filled out, etc. This significantly cuts down on the time employees spend filling out paperwork and performing other administrative tasks. When employees have real-time visibility of key client data, they are able to arrive on-site to visits with the knowledge they need to deliver exceptional customer service. On the same token, visibility helps field teams to become more agile as they are able to better respond to competitive threats and consumer demands.

Monitoring employee performance is a dual-edge sword. The benefits it provides for managers has been outlined above, but it also proves useful for field representatives. When employees have visibility over their own performances, they keep themselves accountable and also avoid the anxiety associated with receiving performance reviews from management. When performance metrics or KPIs are visible across an entire team, all employees become engaged in organizational goals and are more proactive about achieving them.

Client relationships are strengthened when representatives become more accountable for their work as a result of visibility, enhancing a business’s reputation and potentially its future sales. The immediate synchronization of data and GPS location from remote employees to managers keeps both parties on the same page and able to make rapid decisions based on what’s happening in the field. This type of transparent relationship between managers and employees improves productivity and hence the bottom line.

 

 

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Victoria Vessella

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.

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