‘Field Sales’ is a traditional term that sums up all the sales and marketing activities executed by different sales representatives on ground. From visiting retailers to execute marketing campaigns, every field activity undertaken by the sales team in the distribution and retail market comprises field sales. While a company may execute a wide range of activities from order collection to loyalty or returns management, it can be difficult to track and monitor the progress of every activity/representative in the field. This is where the Field Sales App comes into play. Today, FMCG companies use field sales apps to track, automate and increase productivity of field sales teams, to analyze the market trends and increase their product sales accordingly.
Thanks to the presence of Field Sales applications, retail oriented businesses no longer need to gather pieces of data from multiple teams in a piece of paper. These applications collect the entire sales aspect (usually on the field), allowing the business owners to manage production & sales effectively.
Now that we have an idea of the application’s primary function, let’s understand the application to its core.
What is Field Sales App?
Field Sales application is a program that is engineered to offer on the go workflow automation and digitization of field sales operations to sales representatives in their mobile phones. This application enhances their productivity by allowing the field managers to effectively manage different aspects of retailer visits in their territory while boosting productivity and reducing costs. With businesses touching new peaks and cut-throat competition, the technology used by Field Sales apps, provides FMCG organizations with an innovative set of tools & mobility to simplify the everyday tasks performed by their sales force.
The field sales application’s primary focus revolves around reducing the time taken around executing different sales representatives’ core activities. Such applications reduce the time spent around various administrative tasks and the paperwork involved in the process.
Most importantly, using such an application for executing dynamic operations, allows organizations and their employees to collaborate closely with their central sales team and manage day-to-day field operations seamlessly.
Considering the range of activities performed by an individual sales rep like Scheduling visits, Onboarding Retailers, Collecting orders, Accounting for Claims, Managing Loyalty etc., the need for a field sales app is quite evident for FMCG and Consumer Goods companies in the digital age.
Let’s find out some relevant reasons to back our claim in the next section.
Why do FMCG Companies Need Field Sales App?
FMCG companies appoint field sales representatives to undertake a multitude of field activities such as contacting prospects, visiting distributors and retailers, executing visual merchandising campaigns, collecting orders while trying to upsell/cross sell leveraging company’s schemes and offers. A field sales app is essential for the automation of all these workflows and it also enables the company to get insights on field sales activities in real time. Moreover, some field sales app provide reports and analytics to help companies understand flaws in the sales execution in the field and resolve them beforehand.
Today, the FMCG & CPG segment’s key players have adapted to a field sales management application to unlock their field sales potential.
Here are some of the major capabilities which a Field Sales Application provides:
- Workflow Automation
Field Sales applications provide businesses with the flexibility to plan their operations in advance. The automation of workflow eases the workload, and streamlines sales tasks. A field sales app empowers the company to prevent wastage of manpower in mundane tasks and enables the sales representatives execute ordered field activities.
- Market Expansion
A field sales app helps the company to explore new territories and provides insights about new outlets. It enables the company to conduct viability test before expansion thereby enabling successful expansion.
- Effective Trade and Promotion Marketing
Field sales app aids target marketing and enables the company monitor the progress and flaws in their marketing campaigns. It enables FMCG companies to carry out effective marketing operations through analysis of utilization of schemes and activation programs.
- Understanding market trends
It is important to understand the demands of the market and even forecast the demand in order to sell FMCG and consumer products. Distributor, retailer and consumer engagement plays a significant role in determining market trends. Therefore, some new age field sales app contains functions for promoters to aid the company with insights about consumer demands in general and modern trade.
- Wider Reach at lower cost
A field sales app empowers the business with greater reach through optimized sales process at lower cost. Features like Route Optimization and Whatsapp BOT enable companies to get a better reach in a cost effective way.
Challenges Associated with using Old Field Sales App
Technology evolves every minute with innovation. Earlier, when the concept of field sales app came into existence, it was mainly a field sales tracking app. However, the field sales app has been modified and upgraded with the passing time and you can find a lot of new features in today’s field sales app. Some of the challenges associated with old field sales apps are as follows.
- Adoption issues
Even after a field sales app is deployed with thousands of gimmicky features, companies often face the issue of their sales reps not being able to use the application to its full potential. Usability of interface makes a huge difference when it comes to adoption. A field sales app must be designed to be easy-to-use for the end user i.e. the sales representative.
- No insights about sales behavior
Most field sales apps enable a company and it’s sales manager to monitor field activities. However, they do not provide any insights about sales behaviour of teams working on ground thereby incapable of taking their sales output to the next level. An advanced field sales app must be so designed that it provides insights on key behavioural indicators (KBI’s) besides KPI’s, which then can be worked upon to improve sales output automatically.
- Misaligned action
While most FMCG companies adopt field sales apps, very few could avail all its benefits. The reason behind is that, although the field sales app bridged the communication gap, it fails to align the actions of sales reps with business goals that companies set for themselves. The best solution to this problem is adopting a Goal-Driven CRM SFA Platform to aid the companies to align their sales reps in accordance with their field business goals.
- Lack of effective insights
Most field sales apps provide real time data and reports. However, it can be difficult for the company to analyze the field data and identify a problem in real time basis. Field sales app features like BeatRoute’s CuesBOT aids a company with problem detection through automated analytics and aids field managers with consumable insights on problems in their territories, also helping them with possible solutions to take immediate action.
Choose the Best Field Sales App for your Brand
Considering the wide variety of options that the market is flooded with, you might get confused about the options to go with. While all the software’s might look promising with their approach, remember, not every application will come in handy for your particular business.
Further, collaborating & executing operations over such a vast lineup of operations becomes a mammoth task if you don’t have access to the right tools at play. Therefore, we suggest the use of BeatRoute’s Goal-Driven Field Sales Application.
BeatRoute’s Goal-Driven Field Sales application is focused on scaling operations by augmenting entire field sales and marketing operations. Its intuitive UI makes this application easy-to-use and it’s out of the box zero code capability saves time for FMCG & Consumer Goods Brands while deployment. Its unified approach towards marketing & field sales allows you to stage route-to-market programs with all your retailers, dealers & distributors, over a single mobile platform.
Use the following criterion in choosing your ideal field sales software for your business;
- Performance & Scalability:
Remember, your Field Sales software should be able to support the overall size of your team and sales operations in GT, MT & B2B/HoReCa. Your ideal application should have all the necessary performance capabilities to support your entire sales bandwidth simultaneously. Even if your company has just begun with a small team, we advise you to base your decisions around the future & scalability while selecting the field sales software.
As mentioned earlier, the Field Sales Application requires integration with a variety of upstream and downstream applications & softwares like Distributor Management System, ERP, Retailer App etc. to function effectively. Therefore, while you are selecting your ideal solution, keep the possible integrations in mind or even better to pick a holistic platform with SFA, DMS, Retailer App capabilities built into it.
- Multi-device support
Mobility is one such feature that makes the Field Sales software a reliable option. Therefore, you must choose a field sales app that is compatible with Android and iOS so that it can be handled by sales reps easily on their smartphone. You may further inquire if the product requires application downloading or is web-based.
- Online Reviews & Free Demos
The best way to know the advantages and disadvantages of a field sales app is knowing the first hand user experience and checking it for oneself. You may check out the online reviews of a product on Google play, Capterra and other such platforms available on the internet. Moreover, you can submit demo request to see whether the field sales app is going to be a good fit you.
The impact of FMCG sales on the customers, goes simultaneously with the exposure of field sales software. With such an amazing technological adaptation to work, businesses (especially the FMCG & CPG sectors) have increased their productivity & sales.
Considering the function, operation & execution of GTM workflows over Field Sales Applications, it is indeed the future for 2021 & beyond!