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Thanks to rapid improvements in technology, B2B sales reps are much more effective in the field today than they've ever been before. Field sales software offers innovative methods to improve your sales process from beginning to end, giving you far more control, boosting productivity and increasing sales.

It will also ensure that your sales reps no longer make these 10 costly sales mistakes…

1.     Using business sales tools in silo

Brands today use different channels when working with their retailers and distributors. They have sales reps and retail execution staff in the field or the office and offer self-service B2B eCommerce as an option. In most cases, these channels are managed by different groups within the organization such as field teams, marketing and sales.

The issue arises when each group uses separate business tools in silo to manage these channels. Every change the organization makes, such as introducing a new sales campaign or adding a new product, must be managed separately for each channel, by each department and in each solution individually.

When you add field sales software to your suite of business tools, consider instead one platform of all your sales solutions, so you manage all channels at once, from one single management console.

2.     Selling without researching your customer

We’ve all seen salespeople jump onboard any sales prospect without doing any research about them at all. They race round to the customer ready for a quick sale, only to find out their product is not what the customer needed or wanted. Without knowing key details about a customer, sales efforts won’t gain many victories. If you are willing to say and do anything, even making empty promises and outrageous guarantees with no research to back it up, you’re doing it wrong.

‘Know your customer’ is surely one of the most repeated phrases in B2B sales. The way to build and maintain long-term B2B customer relationships is to make customers feel cared for, listened to and special. To make them feel that way, you need to know them.

With sales software, sales reps can access each customers’ complete purchasing history, develop an account strategy for each one and create a viable action plan including reminders of follow-up activities on specific dates.

In the future, successful companies will be the ones that capture prospect data and turn it into actionable insights for sales reps, so they can research them effectively before every meeting.

3.     Not supplying enough product details

In the ‘olden’ days of B2B sales, it was impossible for sales reps to carry every sample with them to every customer, making selling much more difficult. Nowadays, selling is helped enormously by using visuals and beautiful images. Displaying your products within beautiful e-catalog software will make the life of your sales reps so much easier. Your customers can be clear about product benefits and each item can be enhanced with technical specifications, individualized pricing and relevant promotions.

An e-catalog gives flexibility to add or remove products, correct mistakes and update features, all without reprinting paper brochures.  Sophisticated search capabilities are key to helping your sales reps assist customers to find what they’re looking for quickly and efficiently.

All leading to consistency and accuracy across the entire purchasing process.

4.     Not solving customers’ problems

The key to successful selling is to ensure your customers understand what your product does and more importantly, which of their problems it’s going to solve. This means not just understanding targeted demographics, but also your customers’ unique pain points and how your product or service can alleviate them.

To do this, you need to know their problems and understand their individual requirements. Don’t focus only on what the initial sale will bring but think of other ways you can provide ongoing value to each customer. By delivering creative, honest solutions you can secure a long-lasting relationship that is valuable to both sides creating loyal and repeat customers.

5.     Making data entry errors

Data entry is one of the most critical day-to-day operations for brands and wholesalers and one single error can have huge ramifications for your company. Wherever a company employs people, there’s the potential for human error, and data entry errors are some of the costliest errors for your business to have.

Order entry software that automates much of the data entry and processing and integrates with your other software solutions, solves many of the problems manual entry creates. When customers and sales reps enter their own orders, it removes several steps where mistakes in data entry could have been made.

Having a centralized, automated way to enter and keep information helps everyone do their job quickly and efficiently. Changes are automatically updated where they are needed. Especially when the order software has search capabilities, information is easily located.

6.     Not seeing the full picture

In the days of manual processes, customer information would be in paper files back at the office, or sales reps would write down bits of information on slips of paper that might get lost in their car. The data was disjointed with the result that no one knew the full picture about customers.

Field sales software has changed all that. Everyone has the full 360° picture of each customer and immediate access to it.

7.       Not monitoring your sales team

When your staff are office-based, it’s simple for management to take a quick stroll through the office to check their productivity but with a team out in the field, this is not so easy. It’s even more important to maintain constant communication with them so they feel accountable and know they can pass on their concerns back to you.

It’s equally important for you to be aware of your teams’ performance if they aren’t around.  You can ensure accurate accounting of all your employees’ productivity with geo-stamping and time-stamping providing full control and visibility of your staff activities.

8.     Lack of customer data can lose the sale

Successful sales management is about keeping track of each order and managing the surrounding customer data. For a sales rep out in the field, this is vital information that can make or break a deal, so sales reps need information immediately, wherever they are. Having to call the back-office and wait to find out the answers to these questions is no longer acceptable.

That’s where field sales software comes into its own. It will tie together all the relevant people and processes providing one mobile source of information, providing inventory, campaigns, pricing and sales history information that can seal the deal.

Any effective sales solution must have offline capability too avoiding any delays or restrictions in doing business if Wifi isn’t available or poor quality.

9.     Thinking B2B customers are all the same

Obviously, as a brand or wholesaler, you want to maximize your revenue and the way you reach out to your potential and existing customers can have a major impact on your sales.  Personalization is key in B2B sales as not all your customers are the same.

Promotions and discounts are a great sales tool but it’s vital to your success that your customers only see the promotions and campaigns that are relevant to them. They need to be set up quickly and efficiently, so your customers always have the latest offers available to them online, to maximize revenue.

Furthermore, B2B buyers have negotiated individualized payment terms with you and the buying processes are usually far more complex. There are more stakeholders involved in B2B purchases, the buyer may need approval from their manager and someone else may be in control of payments.

Your customers will expect the convenience of individual electronic invoicing and payments, allowing them to easily track their payments and expenses and to report on them.

Your sales software needs to allow for multiple price lists by customer, to provide the ultimate flexibility. Find a solution that allows you to customize your e-catalogs, again, by customer, assigning different ones to different customers according to their specific needs. Segment your products further using business filters such as stock levels, price levels, and valid-through dates.

10. Forgetting about the future

It can be a daunting choosing a new software solution for your business. Selecting whether to design and build your own software in-house or to use a customizable off-the-shelf solution is a key decision for B2B companies when choosing how to introduce modern technologies.

Undertaking an in-house app development needs very specific expertise involving the employment of a team of specialized, and expensive, IT professionals.  The whole process is likely to take up to a year, not including user testing, adoption measurement, and changes after user feedback.

With technology advancing so quickly, you will have to continuously develop and support new versions of your solution. For example, a new version of Android or iOS may require you to enter a whole new development cycle.

So, opting to build a new solution doesn’t make much sense given the rise of ‘off-the-shelf’ solutions. Buying a software platform represents an excellent win-win option for businesses hoping to introduce and use world-class technologies that would otherwise be unfeasibly costly to develop in-house.

It can be configured without expensive and time-consuming coding to meet your businesses’ unique needs and allowing you the flexibility to respond quickly to new and changing future needs.

About The Author

Stacey Woods
Stacey Woods
Stacey Woods is the Senior Business Development Manager at Pepperi. She has extensive experience in B2B sales and understands the many benefits that can be gained by automating and syncing the different sales channels in a company.