The term ‘Increasing salesperson’s productivity only refers to one intention, which is the increase in sales. According to Forbes, sales representatives spend less than 36 % time in selling and others mostly on tasks that do not directly generate revenue. So, can’t we just cut down those non-revenue generating works and take a boom to our sales? “Nope”, it contains tasks like making reports, after-sales maintenance, papers submission to office and warehouses, delivery status confirmation through phone and bla bla bla!
So, after doing all those activities, achieving sales targets surely will be a pie in the sky for most of the sales representatives. In this situation, now he has no choice but to be more productive!
In this article, we will discuss how to Increase Salespersons Productivity by Sales Force Automation/ SFA , to make a salesperson use his or her time more effectively, do his or her tasks in an organized manner thus increasing salespersons productivity.
Increase Sales representative’s productivity with SFA (Sales force automation)
As the days are progressing, technology is taking more and more control over different aspects of our life. The use of technology in retail-based business has surely revolutionized the whole process of sales distribution. Now automation in the sales process is a multi-billion dollar industry where even the smallest companies are also participating in making their sales and distribution department automated.
‘Sales Force Automation (SFA) refers to a platform of web-based software solutions. As its name indicates, Sales force automation tracks all the stages of the sales process and takes charge of the sales process from start to finish. It refers to both direct sales and distribution sales where direct sales are tracked with a Customer relationship management (CRM) system and distribution channel is monitored through Distribution Management System (DMS).
The purpose of this software is to streamline the sales force in a systematic way and cut down superfluous tasks. From order collection to delivering it to the end customer, all the steps involved in handling the product are monitored through an SFA.
Many times DMS is incorrectly mixed with the same purpose of CRM. Though both software has a few common goals, they are being used in two different sales verticals. CRM is used by the direct sales team to monitor and report a client’s journey through the sales funnel. It starts from prospecting and initial lead generation and continues up till the deal is closed. Every client perused by a salesperson is included in it, regardless of win or loss at the end.
On the other hand, DMS is particularly used for the product’s distribution journey, monitoring the flow of inventory starting from the central warehouse, ending up at the hands of the retailers. Both DMS and CRM are both a part of SFA, with different operational processes in mind.
Here are some easy to follow steps, on how to increase sales representative’s productivity with Sales Force Automation / SFA:
Full coverage over sales territories to outrank a competitor
A sales territory is defined by the geographical area under a particular salesperson. In this sales territory, the salesperson deals with new leads, sales prospects, existing clients (if he is working in direct sales), our dealers, distributors, and retailers (if he is working in distribution sales). Effective territory management divides territories into groups according to different products. So, if he wants to visit some particular outlet for a particular product, he can filter by groups and save time on manually sorting the preferred stores. Filtering outlets through groups give an upper hand on the competitor, saves an ample amount of time, and makes salespersons more productive.
Territory planning gives control over market coverage and improves distribution channel efficiency. This makes it easier for sales reps to plan their day/week/month activity efficiently and dominate their sales territory.
Route planning for efficient time management
Sales reps have a target of how many clients or outlets they need to visit in a month. Visiting a vast amount of destinations makes this a daunting task. By route planning, they can pre-plan how they want to move from one outlet/ client to another based on different days of the week. They can create repeated weekly occurrences or they can create on-off visit plans as per the requirement.
With the help of SFA, they are able to filter which outlets/ clients to visit on which day and synchronize them as per their visit route requirement. GPS-based maps are used in SFA to locate the exact location of the outlet/ client so that salespersons can strategically move to cover the whole route plan efficiently during their working hours. This saves their time and makes them more productive and efficient during their working hours.
Predict future sales and grab the market
The SFA system allows the recording of business transactions, thus it helps to analyze historical data of the transactions. by analyzing these data, sales forecasting becomes easier than ever. With the help of these insights, data-driven decisions can be made to understand sales trends over the year. Both long-term and short-term future sales can be predicted with these analyses. Many other factors like product seasonality, future demand, and growth opportunity can also be assessed with the data collected through SFA.
Efficient Order and Delivery management to boost productivity
Order handling can get as confusing as anything if it is not properly handled. Many times the orders of one outlet are mistakenly sent to another, also the difference between ordered and delivered items are a big issue to solve. This creates a dent in the goodwill of the company and sales reps to the distributors and retailers. An automated distribution system simplifies it for both ends and improves operational efficiency.
Orders noted through SFA are directly sent to the distributor warehouse for delivery, then from the warehouse products are delivered to that particular outlet marked in the system. In this process, the chances of making any human error are close to zero. It also saves time from manually submitting paper-based reports to the office in a hierarchical order. As a result, many other relevant operations and time-consuming issues are also cut down. So, SFA helps the sales reps to become free from unnecessary paperwork and anxieties, and it lets them focus on generating more sales.
Retain old customer through follow up
After-sales follow-up is not only necessary for more sales but also for customer retention. This is a nice gesture and helps to grow up a long-term bonding with clients. The SFA system allows push notifications and set up reminders for weekly/monthly follow-up. This can be customized for many other tasks also. According to a study,
“Acquiring a new customer is anywhere from 5 to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one”
So, sales reps will not have to be worried about forgetting their timely follow-ups and scheduled meetings.
Track your Sales team Performance & Hit the Leader board
There are many KPIs to track the overall growth and sales performance. An interactive dashboard with proper measuring features makes it easy for any member in the sales team to understand where he is lacking and what is required to achieve it. Sales representatives see themselves where they stand on the achievement list. It also shows another close-by sales representative’s performance, achievement, number of outlet visits and who is at the top of the leaderboard. It gives the inspiration to work more productively to achieve targeted goals.
Automate Billing system, No Human Error
An automatic invoice system has multiple benefits for both salespersons and clients. It reduces the steps involved in making an invoice from creating, transporting, and storing it in files for future reference. In this whole process, human error is a common yet critical factor to effectively and efficiently create, store, and retrieve an invoice when needed.
In a study, it was found that,
“Sales reps take 2-15 min writing and making invoices in known outlets and about more than 1 hour per day for making daily reports”Sokrio Technologies limited
To solve this long sequence of tasks, SFA offers auto invoice processing and report generation features. It saves sales reps significant time and reduces the chances of human error.
Manage contacts effortlessly with SFA
Clients have many numbers and emails to contact, sometimes it really gets messy while managing them. For this, a well-designed contact management system for Outlet/POS will reduce this burden off the shoulders of the sales reps along with the sales operations team. SFA lets sales reps enter all the necessary data like address, GPS location, mobile, fax, email, landline in one place so that they don’t have to worry for them in the future. This contact management feature is very handy and relaxing, saving tons of hours to store and sort them manually when needed.
Increase your conversion rate with Automation
Whether you have a B2B or B2C sales funnel, marketing automation leads to a higher conversion rate.
A study shows that the conversation rate for email campaigns after purchase is about 5-10 %. SMS marketing, pop-up features can be effective to optimize conversion rates. Lead needs to be scoured, then target the potential one for achieving a higher conversion rate.
Create Up-selling and cross-selling opportunities
The strategy behind upselling and cross-sell depends on how you approach the client. Making customers buy more is much easier than finding a new customer. According to entrepreneurs, more than 70% of revenue comes from upsells and cross-sales.
By analyzing sales history through SFA and directly interacting with the client, an intelligent salesperson understands if there’s any chance of offering more products to that particular customer. For example, if a customer has purchased a bat, now it’s time to check the product list from the SFA app and offer him cross-selling materials like a ball, gloves, pad, etc relating to that product. On the other hand, if the customer is willing to purchase a wooden chair then a better model of the chair at a slightly higher price can also be up-sold to him.
Both upselling and cross-selling can be done with the data help of a modern SFA system. Products can be segmented based on similarity or essentiality. This will help to understand which products to offer along with the main product to make a cross-sell opportunity.
Find all Product detail in one platform
Customers want to know different features of the product like packaging, sizes, color, trade promotion, product survey, etc. Products with detailed specifications are embedded in cloud-based Sales management platforms that help to show any information to the client in moments. As a result, sales representatives are not overburdened with unnecessary product Infos, promotion offers, etc, and could only concentrate on sales.
Improve customer satisfaction and make them loyal
A company that shows care for its clients is also trusted by its clients. Automation indeed helps the customer to be loyal and trust a company for its customer-centric approaches. This improves customer satisfaction, grows loyalty, and ultimately increases sales. As all the data are available online, it helps in building a good relationship between the customer and the company through trustworthiness. With the help of an SFA, a sales representative has better market insights and market intelligence. This helps them to make proper sales moves and approach new customers more strategically with attractive deals customized according to client needs.
Sales representatives have multiple tasks other than selling and these additional activities impact their productivity. Sales force automation has many dynamic features to boost up sales and productivity. Most importantly, any company that has a sales department and manages distribution channels can not survive efficiently without salesforce automation. Reinforcing a sales team with the latest technology and equipping them with marketing integration tools to increase their productivity will surely bring good results for both employees as well as the company.