Today’s business software is more powerful, accessible, and user-friendly than ever. This is especially true of customer relationship management (CRM) software, which has rapidly morphed from a simple contact database into an all-in-one sales management tool.
For businesses that employ outside sales representatives, most of whom spend much of their time away from the office, mobile CRMs play an integral role in streamlining daily workflows. Having access to vital account information in a mobile format empowers field salespeople to maximize efficiency.
However, a mobile CRM is only as good as the insights you can derive from it. For managers of field sales teams, it’s about more than just the bottom line; knowing how the team got to their results is just as important, especially if a company wants to identify inefficiencies and iterate on its successes.
The 3 Types of Data a Mobile CRM Can Offer
To maximize the value that mobile CRMs offer, managers should take a step back and think about the types of data people enter into the system. Mobile CRM data can be bucketed into three distinct types:
- Activity Data, which measures how reps spend their day and includes metrics such as visit frequency, total territory coverage, and time spent on-site.
- Observational Data, which is more qualitative in nature and encompasses what actually gets done at each account visit. Data points might include notes on client health, photos detailing merchandising efforts, or competitor activity.
- Sales Data, or the raw number of what was sold in a given time period. This can be measured by units, SKUs, service contracts, dollars, etc.
Next, let’s see how managers can use these three types of mobile CRM data to paint a clearer picture of the success of their field sales organization.
Tip #1: See how reps are spending their time
Here’s where Activity Data comes into play. This data type can help organizations build more effective cadences for turning prospects into new accounts in the following ways:
- Identify top performers by analyzing how their time spent at accounts impacts sales.
- Discover which accounts are most demanding by investigating time spent on-site and frequency of visits to that account.
- Better predict the length of a sales cycle based on the number of visits made to a prospect.
Create more efficient schedules for reps, using information about travel time and time spent with clients/prospects.
Show prospects how much time reps are dedicating to serve current clients with hard numbers.
Identify what types of account visits drive sales.
Although these data points are certainly valuable on their own, they don’t tell the full story about what actions are being taken in the field. Hence, they are most useful when analyzed alongside Observational Data.
Tip #2: Track what’s getting done in the field
Field sales reps often act as the “eyes and ears” of their managers who have very little interaction with customers and prospects. By standardizing the pieces of information sales reps are gathering on-site, managers can easily delve deeper into any one account or one data point.
Let’s explore how Observational Data adds value:
- Photos give managers a visual of any situation that needs attention (e.g., out-of-stock products and damages).
- Photos also show a job well done (e.g., a flawlessly executed display at a retail store).
- Photos supplemented by notes and questionnaires track what the competition is doing in detail.
- Reps can document where there are opportunities for expansion on a given account and prepare accordingly before their next visit.
- Reps can keep detailed records of their past visits to a specific customer or prospect, helping to improve the quality of future visits.
- Managers can quickly identify the health of an account based on the information in a rep’s record.
- Managers can spot where more information is needed about a particular account and notify a rep before their next visit.
- Managers can check up on the execution of a particular campaign.
Observational Data provides a level of detail that can otherwise be easily overlooked. It becomes even more powerful when, together with Activity Data, you can see the effect of your reps’ work on sales.
Tip #3: Monitor the impact on sales
To get the most comprehensive understanding of your field sales team’s performance, managers need to take a look at the numbers. Sales Data tells you more than just what was sold; when compared to Activity Data and Observational Data, it can reveal essential business insights such as:
- Which accounts are the most high-value in terms of revenue generated
- Which cadence plans are working and which need re-adjusting
- Which campaigns lead to increased sales and for which accounts
- Conversely, which campaigns did not positively impact sales
- Where to focus attention based on a sudden drop or spike in sales
- What types of similar accounts might make good prospects based on past successes at others
Understanding how certain initiatives drive or detract sales is key to making smarter decisions moving forward. The last piece of the puzzle is how you use the insights obtained from your mobile CRM data analysis.
Putting It All Together
Having hard data on a field sales team’s outcomes enables managers to optimize the entire operation. For example, you might decide to rework territories or develop rep scorecards based on what you find. You might also work more promotions or discounts into your strategy if they increase sales.
The tips provided above just scratch the surface on the insights that can be drawn from a Mobile CRM. If the data your team is collecting is consistent and regularly analyzed, your company is well on its way to winning in the field.
Victoria Vessella 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.