Friday, April 24, 2015

Field Marketing Software Solution: Overcoming the Challenges of Field Force Management

Managing field teams has become highly complicated, with a significant number of people, processes and actions to oversee. Field marketing managers constantly face great number of challenges including weak feedback, slow data workflow, significant time gaps between field marketing events and appropriate company’s actions, data errors and lost paperwork, fraudulent reports and so on.

The good news is that today mobile technologies provide solutions for all the challenges identified and even more! Using field service management software for standard mobile devices, we all are already used to, allow field team managers to effectively organize and control sales reps on the go.

In the previous article we identified the benefits of field marketing software. The purpose of this article is to consider the common challenges field team managers face and to describe the ways field service software can help solve these challenges while improving productivity of field reps and reducing costs. 

In the table below there is the list of typical challenges field marketing managers face to, and the features provided by field service management software to solve the issues.

Field Service Management: Challenges and Solutions

Scheduling and time-planning challenges (a rep can’t find customer’s location, got sick and must be substituted)
Planning visits in bulk or individually;
Rescheduling appointments on the go;
Adding visits and tasks during a day from web-application by office managers or by field reps themselves;
Customer’s locations on the map; Field reps GPS-monitoring on the map
Getting inaccurate or undue information from the field reps (fraudulent reports, errors, lost paperwork, improper use of the working hours)
Store data is collected using automated task templates;
All the data is GPS- and time-stamped;
Field reps are constantly monitored on the map;
Real-time data workflow due to automatic synchronization with the office;
The information can be collected even offline
Wasted time and productivity due to weak communication (via e-mail, SMS, office-calls) and slow paper submission,
Concentrating on the paperwork, not customers
Mobile forms allow to collect data very quickly and accurate eliminating paperwork and minimizing mistakes;
Route optimization allows to squeeze an extra visit for the day;
All the data collected by field reps is automatically being sent to the office
Significant amount of fragmented information field reps have to consider
Mobile access to all corporate data: product catalog including photos, customer information, prices and etc.;
Orders and returns from a point of sale
The security of corporate data storage and sharing
Cloud solutions allow to have the best performance and scalability
Weak analytics (managers often don’t have time and enthusiasm to analyze big amount of data from points of sales)
Ultimate custom reports and dashboards in seconds;
All daily and weekly statistics reports on visits, customers, tasks, field reps

As you can see, field service management software can help companies to overcome most of the common problems that office managers face managing field teams. Companies that have adopted field service management software out-perform those that haven't through streamlining of the processes in the field and in the back-office.  

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