For wholesale distributors and manufacturers, mobile technology has introduced opportunities for sales innovation and differentiation. Mobile sales teams that have embraced mobile solutions are reaping the benefits of increased productivity, enhanced team collaboration, and new levels of professionalism.
As mobile technology continues to evolve, it’s crucial your sales team evolves along with it. New technology brings new methods of conducting business that can provide you a competitive edge in sales effectiveness, sales inefficiencies, and customer satisfaction.
In working with over 1,000 brand manufacturers and wholesalers worldwide, we have collected what we’ve learned as the 8 essential tips for the mobile sales team.
1. Know your customers before you meet face-to-face
There is absolutely no excuse not to know critical information about your client before you next meet. Mobile CRM provides field sales reps with on-the-go access to all pertinent customer information, such as prior purchases, buying patters, outstanding debts, top-selling items, product returns, and more. Use this information to plan your customer visits so you are prepared to make the most of the opportunity: which products from the catalog to focus on, specific bundles to offer that will increase sales order size, and customer service issues to address while onsite.
Leverage your mobile CRM to take detailed notes about each interaction with the client so you can recall that information for follow-ups and in future visits: did your client mention a specific problem? Did they request a quote? Do they want more information about certain products? Did they provide feedback about the new product line they introduced to their customers last month? Spending a few minutes researching the client before a meeting can help you better service their needs and strengthen your relationship.
2. Team collaboration relies on effective communication
It is quite common for multiple reps from the same sales team to sell into the same customers. Ensure that information about prior sales meetings that other reps had with your customers is available to you and that you familiarize yourself with it. Give your customers the confidence that you are working collaboratively as a team in serving their business.
Likewise, if there is information another rep should know about following your meeting with a shared customer, make sure it is effectively communicated - open a CRM task for the sales rep associated with the customer, to ensure that it doesn’t fall between the cracks.
3. Social media is a crucial tool, but only if you know how to use it
Social media marketing is likely handled by more than just the mobile sales team, but mobile reps are uniquely positioned to leverage social media in ways other employees cannot. They can share updates, photos and videos to evangelize their business, at live events such as at trade show events and in-store demos; share promotional content about new collections; and welcome new clients the moment a new business connection is born.
Using social media for sales and marketing seems like a common sense activity, but there are a few basic rules (and sales tips) you need to follow:
- DO get admin rights for your company’s Facebook, Twitter and other social accounts so you can post to the official company pages.
- DO get permission from the client to share photos and information.
- DO ask clients to join you on your company’s social channels. Provide incentives for initially following your brand, and continue to provide ways to keep them engaged.
- DON’T use your personal Facebook or Twitter account for your business interactions. If your company is not engaged on social media, it is acceptable to use your personal LinkedIn to build connections and keep in touch with clients.
- DON’T post private information about your company or the client’s business that could potentially hurt sales or reputation. When it doubt, ask.
4. Stay confident
There’s no quicker business-killer than a field sales rep who seems desperate or under-prepared. Technology failure, traffic delays, the inability to answer questions in a consultative manner can, and being too aggressive can each lead to a drop in confidence.
By no means should a lack of self-assurance ever be conveyed to your customer. Selling on-the-go means a lot of direct contact, and if your client senses something isn’t quite right, you’ll lose trust.
5. Quiet observation can lead to upsell opportunities
The more you listen, the more you learn. That is hands-down one of the best sales tips around. When you’re visiting a client, take a look around and get a feel for their business. Chances are, you may spot opportunities where you can save them money or help them solve a problem simply by observing the way they do business. And when you do find these gems, document them well.
6. Set the ground for future business
Gaining a new customer costs nearly five times that of keeping an existing one, so focus not only on how you can generate new business but how you can turn that initial sale into future business. Don’t be the sales rep that pulls the bait-and-switch for a one-off sale. Instead, continue to build value and nurture the relationship so the next time the client needs something, they’ll know exactly where to turn.
7. Make friends with technology, but keep it simple
There are thousands of apps and solutions guaranteed to simplify the mobile sales team’s job, but trying to integrate too many will only complicate things. Instead, do a little research and implement a key few that truly will lessen the workload. If you find yourself more immersed in data entry than actual selling, rethink your app strategy.
8. Don’t let technology become a substitute for human connections
Potentially the most important facet of an outside sales rep is the ability to make person-to-person connections. And while mobile technology can certainly help you streamline some aspects of your job, there is no substitute for those personal human connections. Your customers still need a human touch, and with companies increasingly turning to technology in order to automate manual processes, your personal service could well be your competitive advantage.
Mobile technology has already left its mark in the business world as a catalyst for digital transformation. If you want your mobile sales team to reap the full benefits of mobile technology, evaluate mobile sales tools that can be adapted to meet your sales team’s needs today, and are equally flexible to meet your changing needs in the future.