Too many business leaders consider themselves full-time firefighters and part-time managers. The old “putting out fires” expression is a way to describe managers who spend most of their time shifting quickly from one problem to the next, without ever having time to focus on innovation or growth. Not only is the process frustrating for the manager, it can also lead to what a Fast Company article called an “ad hoc [solution] for every project.” or an unhealthy dependence on management.
This phenomenon is not exclusive to office environments; Managers with teams in the field also experience it. Learn three ways dispersed teams can take advantage of a software solution, so reps can solve problems independently and managers can get back to core focuses.
1. Visual Guidance
A number of dispersed teams are often away from a central office location setting up some type of visual presentation. For example, beverage industry field reps merchandising shelves are expected to do so with the appropriate number of facings, on the correct shelf level, etc. Imagine a new rep out on his first solo merchandising project. He may not recall the specifications of the project. Instead of calling up a manager, a field rep with a Field Activity Management software solution he could look up photos taken by previous reps of finished projects. That way, in that moment of doubt, he could turn to a clear answer without interrupting a manager.
2. Document Availability
Other “fires” that many field managers have to put out are incorrect product orders. If the rep does not have immediate access to documents like these, this process can be lengthy. First, a rep receives a complaint from a client. The rep calls the manager to check on the accuracy of the original document, and then the rep must relay that information back to the client. Last, the error must be rectified. By the time the root of the issue is determined, the client could become very frustrated. With a Field Activity Management software solution, a field rep could immediately pull up a digital purchase order in question on a mobile device to determine the cause of the issue. Additionally, many of these tools can require the client to add an e-signature to the document. This proactive step allows the client to catch any mistakes before the order is even sent out, and when errors do happen, reps will easily be able to fix them on their own.
3. Client History
While it is wise not to shuffle sales territories too often, it is inevitable that managers will do so periodically. During these times of shifting, field reps may take over accounts that were once held by another rep that have expectations the rep is not used to performing. A whole fleet of reps with new accounts will have a pile of questions for a manager if that person is their go-to problem solver. With a Field Activity Management software solution, entire client profiles can be shared in real time, so all the data and notes associated with an account can be seen by a rep before they even meet their new client.
This article was syndicated from Business 2 Community: How A Software Solution Helps Your Team Be Their Own ‘Fire Fighters’