Managing field sales and its team is one of the key elements of a successful business. It can generate more sales and contribute to a collaborative, well-organized, and strategic environment for field staff.
Organizing the on-field teams can be complex as they operate in the outside world, out of your sight. You require special strategies and proper acknowledgment of their roles and tasks for this purpose. It becomes even more crucial when they are responsible for driving most sales.
What is Field Sales Management?
Field sales management is tracking, managing, organizing, and collaborating with the mobile sales team to generate revenue.
It helps the sales representatives to better engage with the customers and communicate with the team leaders.
Furthermore, it helps a business to follow a lead for conversion and create better customer engagement.
Who is Field Sales Manager
The field sales manager tracks, controls, and supervises the sales team operating on the field. They ensure the sales representatives perform well, have the necessary information to perform their job, appear in the right place at the right time, and successfully complete tasks.
Their responsibilities vary depending on the company’s industry and the nature of its products/services. But they are primarily responsible for the following:
- Monitor sales reps’ activities
- Assign them tasks, set targets, and define objectives
- Receive next goals from C-suit members and strategize to implement them effectively
- Call meetings to discuss plans and ideas
- Train and motivate sales reps for productivity and efficiency
To operate according to expectations and lead the sales team excellently, the field sales manager requires some essential skills. One will be the industry’s primary skill that secures their position in the first place; the other is the soft skills. They are:
- Business Development
- Marketing & Sales Knowledge
- Critical Thinking
- Problem Solving
- Understanding to Use Technology Efficiently
Who is Field Sales Representative
A field sales representative’s job involves two main activities:
- Researching and qualifying potential leads by traveling to their place of business and offering products or services
- Regularly meeting with existing customers face-to-face to build relationships, satisfy their needs and wants (ex., help with maintenance, place replenishment orders, negotiate prices, etc.), and maximize profitability
Field Sales Representative Responsibilities
- Negotiating & closing new deals
- Meeting personal and team sales quotas
- Building relationships with customers in their territory
- Researching and cultivating new leads in their territory
- Regularly traveling around their territory and meeting with customers
- Acting as a reliable brand representative across customer-facing interactions
Field Sales Representative Skills
- Problem solving
- Business Development
How to Manage Field Sales Teams?
1. Communicate Transparently
One of the most crucial steps in managing a remote sales team is properly communicating with them. The practice further gains significance as it helps the managers and owners to track the activities, progress, complexities, and results of the salesperson.
Try to opt for clear communication and data transparency by integrating CRM and mobile CRM technology that keep everyone on the same page regarding clients information and sales funnel. You don’t want to suffer confusion or miscommunication while giving instructions to your sales team.
2. Use Team Management Tools
Managing field staff is almost impossible without using tools and software. Use the right team management tools for improved organization, tracking, and updates.
It will help you to maintain communication with your team on the one hand; you can also assign tasks and streamline sales processes on the other hand.
We mentioned CRM solutions that should be a must for any sales team. But keep in mind that field sales representative can’t always use their laptop and often operate in location without internet connection. That’s where mobile CRM solutions can help sales reps.
“Before, our sales reps needed to be at home after their daily visits to document and follow up their visit reports on a notebook. Now with the mobile CRM app, they can do it during the day straight after each visit,” says Marcel Federlein, Inhouse CRM Consultant at Hoffmann Group
3. Get the Right Candidates
In the end, converting leads into customers comes to the sales representatives who are personally engaging with the people. So, hiring the right and creative sales reps for the job becomes essential.
Give a chance to merit-based hiring, which relies on the necessary hard and soft skills needed for the open job position. This type of recruitment will also be a bonus in management, as they will better know their responsibilities, and you will have to make less effort in managing them.
Additionally, the skillful members will have the required soft skill that tremendously contributes to the business’s success.
4. Provide Feedback
When sales reps get reasonable feedback from the managers, it gives them huge motivation. They become willing to deliver more and learn about the dos and don’ts.
So, make sure you implement a system that allows to provide feedback to the field reps. It can be in the form of short, concise messages or/and one detailed meeting analyzing each representative’s work.
This way, praise or constructive criticism will increase trust and collaboration in the team.
5. Train & Reward
Lastly, another great method to better manage your sales team is by training them to follow your instructions correctly. Training will not just increase management’s potential and drive more sales, but it will also help reps to adopt the company’s style.
And those who will learn significantly from the training will perform better than others. So, don’t forget to reward them for their efforts. Make special prizes for different achievements, which will drive the reps to obtain them, resultantly increasing sales.
How to Have Effective Field Sales Management?
1. Bring Transparency
Being transparent with team members leads to higher productivity and better customer relationships.
Additionally, having access to up-to-date information ensures that your reps are using the most efficient methods when working with customers or developing new strategies. It ultimately leads to increased revenue and a more successful field sales department overall.
For example, Southern States Toyotalift, an authorized Toyota Forklift dealer based in Florida and Georgia, US, were able to increase their month revenue by $350K by improving access & collection of customers’ data.
Implementing a new mobile solution into their workflow, they were able to add information from their contacts directly via digital forms.
“It created an efficiency for us that took what was often a 30-minute to an hour-long process down to about 4 minutes per form,” Jason Johnson explained during his presentation at resco.NEXT conference.
2. Conduct Development Sessions
You will require your sales representatives to stick to the company’s core values for effective management. Here, development sessions play an important role in their training.
During such sessions, managers and sales reps can work together to understand the company’s goals and objectives better and develop strategies to increase sales.
They discuss any challenges or issues they may face in their roles, further increasing collaboration. Moreover, by engaging in these types of conversations, managers can better understand their team’s lacking and guide them to achieve their goals.
3. Analyze Team Members
You require an in-depth understanding of the individual team members and their skills to create a successful field sales team. Identifying each member’s strengths, weaknesses, and preferences is essential to ensure the team functions at its highest capacity.
A well-thought strategy for analyzing individual team members can provide a comprehensive overview of how to manage them and guide them toward success.
Sometimes, knowing employees on both a professional and personal level becomes a key to effective field sales management. It helps develop trust, better communication, collaboration, and ultimately greater productivity.
4. Adopt Automation
Automation can also play an important role in improving your field sales strategy as it streamlines operations, increases visibility, and improves customer service. You can better support your teams with automation by tracking the sales reps’ progress in real-time.
It allows you to identify trends and make timely changes that can help maximize returns from the team’s efforts. Furthermore, automation enables you to assign tasks more efficiently, analyze data quickly, and accurately forecast future outcomes of various strategies. Therefore, you can save both time and money while making informed decisions.
5. Improvise Sales Process
The sales process is critical in field sales management, as it converts leads into customers. You should ensure your sales process is as simple and effective as possible to optimize your field sales team’s performance.
It includes streamlining processes that involve customer interactions, such as qualifying leads, engaging in meaningful conversations, closing deals, and gathering feedback.
In such a way, your sales reps can ensure they properly and confidently attend to all potential customers, thus improving customer service and satisfaction levels. A more straightforward sales process can also decrease time spent on non-essential tasks.
How to Make a Field Sales Team More Effective?
1. Utilize Technology
Never shy away from using technology to make your sales teams more effective. Your field sales teams can easily collaborate and share critical information in real time via communication apps such as Slack or Microsoft Teams.
Modern CRM solutions will allow them to access client data quickly, enabling better customer engagement. Furthermore, mobile analytics applications can provide advanced insights into customer behavior patterns so that reps can tailor their approach accordingly.
“Mobile access to all data has significant impact on the time sales representatives spend obtaining information about customers or analyzing their behavior. Ultimately, we have doubled the total number of our customer visits, from 2,000 to 4000 per day,” explains Piotr Dyrda, B2B Sales Systems and Finance Coordinator at Inter Cars S.A.
2. Set Milestones
Setting milestones is another way to progress in the business continuously. Managers can provide an attainable yet demanding goal for each team member to strive towards daily. And because your company generates profit as the calendar rotates, the process becomes highly productive.
Moreover, it allows you to track progress more proactively rather than just watching the big picture. And when done with determination, it ensures the teams meet both individual and collaborative goals on time with minimal effort.
3. Stay Ahead of Deadlines
With the right strategies in place and organized management, you can ensure your field sales teams are equipped to manage their workloads and meet deadlines before time. They can plan their activities and set priorities for themselves since they will have clear deadlines for tasks.
Hence, they will stay focused on completing their goals earlier and start working on the next tasks early as well. The best part is, your teams can identify and address potential problems way before they get worse, helping prevent delays from occurring in the future.
4. Assign Regions
This strategy becomes effective when your business grows and you have to expand your sales teams. By assigning territories to each rep, you automatically progress in a strategic and systematic manner.
A territory assignment ensures that reps clearly understand which customers or regions they are responsible for servicing. So, they focus on the specific needs of their assigned customers and build deeper relationships with them. It also frees up time by allowing reps to plan out efficient routes ahead of time.
5. Identify Quality Leads
Quality leads ensure they will bring more profit to your business rather than a random, irrelevant customer. Knowing how to identify these leads helps your team target the right potential customer, resulting in better sales outcomes.
In this way, field sales teams can take quicker and more effective actions to maximize their efforts and get value from specific (likely to-be) customers. So, they will likely make more conversions with the right prospect identification instead of cold leads.
6. Celebrate Together
Celebrating successes with your field sales team also makes them more effective. It not only enhances unity and boosts team morale but also increases motivation and productivity. Celebrations can be big or small, from throwing a party to giving out awards and certificates.
The important thing is that everyone is included in the festivities; thus, everyone feels appreciated for their hard work. So, don’t overlook this special moment of connectivity and in-team engagement.
Maintaining good field sales management comes with its benefits and also challenges. By following the before mentioned advices your company will enjoy the benefits of well-organized field sales team. On the other hand, managing any type of team has its own challenges, however by acknowledging them early on, it is possible to avoid any problems in advance.
As the term suggests, it helps a business to generate more sales by managing the field workers. Companies can ensure that their sales representatives effectively engage with customers and accurately represent the company’s values to convert them into buyers.
Get Customer Attention
You can have direct access to potential customers and create relationships, increasing brand visibility and recognition. A well-executed sales management program can help your business capture the attention of desired target market, practice the right strategies, and generate leads.
Create Better Customer Engagement
With better management, you can direct reps better to meet customer expectations. It enables you to develop effective strategies that drive higher levels of customer satisfaction and loyalty. Also, your company can strengthen relationships with current customers while also cultivating new ones by utilizing field sales management.
Ideal for Companies with Complex Sales Systems
Companies with multiple products, a wide geographic reach, and long customer cycles can benefit greatly from well-structured field sales management. It helps them remain competitive in their industry by actively engaging with more customers, building long-term relationships, and understanding common customer needs.
Provides Better Organization
Sales management constructs a well-organized team through better communication, correct guidance, and streamlined projects. The representatives operate strategically and systematically with defined goals and milestones. Hence, potentially increasing productivity and supporting teamwork.
Improves Time Management
You better manage time and the company’s resources to maximize productivity. Through proper scheduling, tracking, and reporting, you can ensure that salespersons complete tasks on time while monitoring progress throughout each sale cycle. Resultantly, you improve overall efficiency and practice time-efficient methodologies.
Gathers Vital Customer Data
Sales management also effectively gathers valuable customer data that you can use in advanced decision-making and creating targeted campaigns. So, you can develop more personalized relationships with customers, collect feedback on products or services, and identify potential areas for improvement.
Increase Teamwork & Collaboration
In the end, it plays a significant role in developing trust among team members and enabling them to work together more effectively. Techniques such as regular meetings, performance reviews, and problem-solving sessions act as key methods for improving collaboration that can lead to increased coordination.
Monitoring Sales Reps
Monitoring reps is a great challenge for field sales managers as they mostly spend their time meeting different prospects and customers. They cannot precisely monitor their activities to get accurate results. However, you can solve the challenge by investing in technology and suitable tools.
Motivating Sales Reps
Another challenge is motivating sales reps because their job can quickly demotivate them. Many factors come into play in this regard, like tiredness from travel, constant rejections, personal issues, etc. Although some things are out of hand, you can tackle the non-sales part by providing them with an exceptional sales plan and strategies.
Sales reps took 3-5 years on average to reach their top performance. Sadly, when they do, they usually move out to new opportunities. Thus, retaining the best performers is always a challenge. But you can counter it by making the reward system enticing, offering tempting commissions, and reducing their workload.
Training is always exciting to introduce newcomers to the company’s goals and sales process. But this coaching is mostly time-consuming and largely depends on the freshman’s learning curve. You cannot do anything with the latter, but ease the training by making sessions simpler yet more concise.
How to Increase Field Sales?
Increasing field sales can be a challenge for many businesses. However, it is possible to build a successful and profitable sales team with the right strategies in place.
You only have to prioritize your company goals, pay attention to customer’s requirements, and offer quality that outperforms competitors.
You can ensure that all sales reps have access to accurate and timely information regarding customer needs, preferences, and trends in their respective market. It will help them to meet the customer’s demands actively.
Next, you can craft a clear set of processes and guidelines for each stage of the sales cycle. It can include prospecting, qualifying leads, pitching products or services, and closing deals.
In the end, regularly provide feedback to the reps on their performance to enhance their skillset while meeting or exceeding goals.
Although almost every industry that relies on an on-field working team requires field sales management, some industries particularly can’t even progress without it. The most common are:
- Emerging Businesses
Managing field sales teams not only help increase sales but also makes ground team members productive and systematic. To make your sales teams more effective, communicate with the sales reps properly, train them better, praise performers, and utilize technology. Work on techniques that improve your field sales management, and make your business grow by leaps and bounds.