In the CRM (Customer Relationship Management) sector, businesses have been moving at a rapid pace over the years with Sales Force Management drastically changing in the last decade. However, things have changed with the trends that have rolled in recently (especially post the events of the global pandemic). While it is true that sales force automation has made a mark on a retail focused industry with distributed field teams irrespective of products, it is also true that the traditional approach to automation itself has become a thing of the past as FMCG companies have moved beyond the need of just automation & digitization.
Yes, we are living in a post-Covid world when a pandemic and digital transformation have played a significant role in shaping up the entire business landscape, especially the FMCG & Consumer Goods industries. Today, the market demands something more than just plain and conventional field management.
Moreover, when you are part of the FMCG industry, sales analytics and moving trends of customers are things that need to be monitored closely. Beyond the need to monitor, the ways we operate have changed since the disruption in the global supply chain at the fall of the last decade.
Sales force automation is the NEED for the present!
Wonder what that is?
Let’s have a look at what Sales Force Automation really means and why has it become a mediocre over the past decade:
What is Sales Force Automation?
Sales force automation is the way to digitally manage distributed field teams efficiently in today’s world. It refers to all the software applications that automate the sales management. The comprehensive list of features covered by the Sales Force Automation Software includes every step in the process of sales, beginning right from in-field customer profiling, visit scheduling/beat planning, relationship management & follow-ups with dealers/distributors, tracking deliveries, collecting leads, or updating sales opportunities.
Interestingly, this is only the start as these software can be customized and tailored to cater to your business needs and keep up with every step of sales process. When it comes to running businesses effectively, sales force automation is your best chance at procuring a technological solution that can easily manage, control, and communicate relevant instructions to the bandwidth that is responsible for the revenue of a FMCG or Consumer Goods Company.
Why has it become mediocre over the years?
Even though sales force automation has empowered companies to manage their sales teams better, it has failed to fulfil business goals effectively to its full potential. The market demands from sales force automation have changed over the last few years as it faces some new challenges now. With the automation and digitization of mundane sales tasks, sales teams can now focus on their respective targets and performance but they may not be directed to the best direction if the sales force automation software is not adapted to the business needs.
Some of the emerging challenges for successful execution of sales force automation are as follows;
- Inconsistent sales behavior: Most SFA fail to track or improve sales behavior thereby failing to drive productivity right from it’s core i.e. the sales rep
- Misaligned ground execution: It often happens that headquarter level strategy does not match up with ground level execution, clearly due to inflexibility of conventional SFA solutions in incorporating company goals on the field sales targets.
- Adoption issue: With the elimination of paperwork and expected adoption of fancy interfaces of SFA software, the sales teams may find it tough to operate in case of inadequate training.
- Policing instead of problem solving: In most cases, managers only check the data on SFA software to track the sales reps activity or attendance instead of identifying the real sales related problems in their territories. Modifying SFA software with automated on the go analytics and problem notification with an AI assisted bot can help organizations to overcome this challenge.
- Failure to understand key customers: Lack of CRM integration into SFA software prevents sales teams from gaining insights about customer behavior, experience and demands to optimize their sales.
Even though sales force automation has streamlined marketing and sales operation, it may not fulfil business goals if these challenges are not outplayed. When the prime focus is to drive efficiency and boost sales, it is essential to adopt sales force automation software that offers solutions for the emerging challenges.
Wonder what does the future behold for FMCG industries? Relax, we have you covered for that too!
What is the Future?
The future of the business sector relies on CRM sales force automation software’s that can be operated over cloud-deployment! However, the market is flooded with options, making it a really daunting task to help select the right sales force automation software solutions because all of them offer a similar basic functionality that is limited to analytics, data capturing, or digitization among others.
Hmm… we understand the confusion that you might come across in selecting the best sales force automation solutions from the existing CRM SFAs. We suggest you try out the BeatRoute application as it is the ultimate next-gen solution for your business.
Don’t believe us? Check out yourself:
- Goal-Driven Sales Approach
Being a business leader, automation might be your best bet at improving business efficiency and aligning sales force to your business goals. However, the former is the most basic function for almost every sales force automation software, the later goal may not be fulfilled by any basic SFA software.
Shouldn’t the best software not only help in business automation but help secure in achieving scalability and sales goals as well?
BeatRoute’s Sales Force Automation Software helps you formulate a goal-oriented sales process and helps define company sales goals (long and short-term), which are then integrated with the current course of action and converted into individual sales goals to achieve for field sales teams.
- Hybrid approach on Market coverage
While the order taking process has become simpler with the help of SFA software, a sales rep is still required to make a visit to the retailer, but what of those last mile outlets where the cost to service exceeds the budget. Physical visits to the retailer require human resource, time and transport which come at a marginable cost.
When more than 80% of retailers across territories are using WhatsApp on a daily basis why not enable them to place orders directly via WhatsApp, which directly saves cost as fewer executives can cover more stores and low revenue stores can be served without wasting resources for regular physical visits. Furthermore, BeatRoute’s WhatsApp BOT also allows you to conveniently target offers, schemes, loyalty, product information, reminders, etc
- Route Optimization
The conventional route optimization technique allows the different area managers to manually mark out the territory and then start with the planning of their routes for the sales drivers. This way, the unorganized approach increases travel time and also adds to the cost of visit whilst reducing the productivity.
However, BeatRoute’s Route Optimization algorithm helps you calculate the logistically most efficient way for covering the stores in a territory, along with the number of resources required to cover all routes in a streamlined way for more face time than travel time. Take for example, a typical consumer goods company gains 15-20% optimization in their coverage strategy with this, which means if 20 people in a territory covered 300 stores each can save 3 persons worth of effort and cost after Route Optimization.
With the sales force automation meeting its dawn, it’s time to move ahead with the technology, it’s time you stay upgraded with the latest CRM SFA software’s to keep up with the competition. However, it is important for you to understand all the different aspects of such software’s before integrating them!