As often happens when big changes occur, misconceptions and myths can prevail. Allow me the opportunity to dispel a few which have crept into the field of sales management.
Software applications have become a ubiquitous part of our daily lives. Not only do we use them for activities as diverse as playing games, controlling our computers, and taking funny pictures, but we also use them to help manage our businesses. Apps have become such an everyday part of normal business activity, that they are now a necessity to remain competitive in the modern business environment. Yet, there are still those wary of technology and the benefits that an excellent sales management system has to offers. So let’s have a look at the top four misconceptions standing between you and the next level of conducting business.
Myth #1: The new technology is too complex to master
Many people have become sceptical of technology, afraid of complex new features that are difficult to learn and impossible to master. There is a marked resistance to adopting new technology in the workplace for fear of the massive challenge that such an undertaking will imply, and to avoid complexity at all costs.
The fact is, however, that sales management systems such as Field Office’s Honeybee is designed to be very simple to use. Modern sales software also uses standard user interfaces, which means that if you can effectively use Whatsapp, Skype or Dropbox, then mastering the new sales app should not be too difficult at all! Modern sales management software can actually be easier to use than a pen and paper, when masses of details that need to be filled in.
Myth #2: It will be like having a policeman on my device
One of the major barriers to using apps is the fear of having privacy compromised. Some sales forces do not want to be tracked and prefer to be left alone completely while they’re out in the field, sometimes feeling that their freedom is being limited, and that they are being policed. This fear is understandable and also encouraged by “time tracking” apps specifically designed to monitor sales forces in minute detail, portraying managers as hawks ready to strike if the smallest deviation is made from a route.
The reality of the matter is that a new sales management system will not change the personality or management style of a sales manager, and although GPS location tracking is a necessary part of sales management systems (to simplify time and attendance reporting and to plot routes to customers), it is far more beneficial to sales forces than not having it. The key is to take a bird’s eye perspective, and while the GPS functionality is only a tiny fraction of an effective sales management solution, it still adds significant value to sales forces. It stores client locations and also logs kilometres travelled, which simplifies a sales executive’s daily activities by automating a mundane function, and being able to automatically navigate to accurate client locations, without having to go through difficult search processes. In addition, managers now have a valuable tool which enables them to see where their sales forces are in real time, and therefore which rep should be assigned to specific tasks, based upon their current location. It simplifies daily time and attendance reporting, and gives valuable data to both sales forces and managers, it is definitely not a mobile policeman.
Myth #3: Our systems are working just fine as they are
“If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.” Human beings have a natural resistance to change, coupled with a strong fear of the unknown. Adopting a new system is often seen as an insurmountable obstacle with new and difficult processes to master. People also feel that they want to deal as little with technology as humanly possible.
However big the fear though, technology is here to stay, and if you are unwilling to change with the environment, you will be left behind in the wake of progress. Luckily, getting to the next level is not that difficult! Modern sales management systems can be adapted to suit individual businesses. These systems can also be quickly implemented which means with a minimal amount of time and effort, your business can be ‘upgraded’ and shifted into the 21st Century. After that, it’s business as usual but with huge competitive advantages and without mountains of paperwork.
Myth #4: Technology eliminates human contact
A big counter-force to integration with technology, is the fear of people being made redundant by technology and that their individuality will be lost. People often cite phrases similar to “we are humans, not robots.” Although this fear is fanned by sci-fi movies exploiting fears of being dominated by machines, it’s simply not true.
Technology is essentially designed to make processes simpler. A sales management system can never replace your sales force, but it can empower them to perform better and deliver better results. Human contact will always be crucial to making the sale, but how much more effective is your sales force if it’s not restricted by time-consuming and mind-numbing administration? Imagine how much more productive your sales reps would be if they are freed from this but empowered by instant access to customer histories and by being able to do anything from placing orders, quotes, etc, while they’re on the move and which they can share instantly with the client and head office. Computers cannot build relationships, or turn a “no” into a “yes”, but they can do admin (a lot of it!), and they can do all the really nitty-gritty work that sales forces prefer not to.
Technology has completely changed the business environment, and it needs to be adopted to remain competitive and relevant. However, software developers should also be mindful of making a product too complex, and remember that a sales management system needs to be as simple as possible to use in order that the organisation may be empowered from the ground up. Luckily, such solutions do exist, and will continue to drive growth and development in the business landscape.
Written by Duaan Dekker, Marketing Manager at Field Office, known for its game-changing sales management system, Honeybee.