Over a third (38%) of UK field sales reps believe technology is “more of a hinderance than a help”, according to new research from cloud-based mobile sales software provider Skynamo.
This hindrance is creating technophobia in the sales environment, fuelled by the bad experiences reps have had using the tools deployed by their organisation. 18% state that cumbersome technology directly impacts their ability to enter work-related data accurately.
In its survey, Skynamo found that sales organisations are placing a high reliance on ‘low-tech’ such as Excel spreadsheets (48%) and email and instant messaging (41%) for day-to-day updates. Many of these spreadsheets and emails are printed onto paper and used as the basis for formal reporting. A further 7% admit to relying on purely paper-based filing and handwritten notebooks. All these disjointed tools contribute to distrust in the data that field sales reps and their managers are using to make informed sales decisions.
Just under half of sales reps (43%) are required to use more sophisticated and professional customer relationship management (CRM) platforms from vendors such as Salesforce, SAP, Microsoft Dynamics and Zoho. A further 29% have to use enterprise resource planning (ERP) software/accounting packages like Sage, as well. The stipulation to enter data into multiple systems means inconsistences are rife, especially as these tools can’t always be accessed easily while reps are out on the road.
“With more than 20% of the UK population employed in sales it’s jaw dropping to think that more than a third of these men and women are being let down by technology,” said Brian Howe, Alliances Director at Skynamo. “For salespeople on the road it’s really no wonder that they find technology a hinderance. In so many cases the wrong tools are implemented for field sales reps who need an application designed specifically for use on a mobile device and to support their unique set of tasks while on the road.”
“Massive advances in technology, including cloud computing, mobile phones and the internet give us all the essential components to make it easier for salespeople to access everything they need to present and update accurate information – but this isn’t happening! Improving the technology available to support reps selling in the field has the ability to reduce idle time and hours spent on admin, so they can spend more time in front of customers building relationships and selling,” continues Howe.
For field sales reps to sell effectively they need access to accurate information about products and customers, the latest pricing and stock information, and the ability to act on that data. The solution is a single interface that they can use to easily access the data and functionality they need to do their jobs well instead of jumping between various systems on their mobile device to check and update data.
“Often problems experienced with technology in the field sales environment are rarely due to any fault of the technology itself and more due to the way it is being deployed in conjunction with other tools. When technology is trusted, mobile-first and field sales focused by design it is easier to get users to adopt. Sales professionals need a single interface to easily access and update the information they require to do their jobs well instead of jumping between various disjointed systems when they are on the road,” concluded Howe.