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Using mobile devices to improve sales efficiency
5 Aug, 2013 10:15 am
By bringing salespeople precise information on each of their clients and their clients' habits, mobility can improve efficiency. All while allowing an improvement in visibility.
The main aim we had was to get as many needs as possible covered by one technology platform. While users always find a way to meet their needs by pulling together different legacy systems, this carries a risk - and the role of the CIO is to bring in new ways of doing things, eliminating local applications while allowing users greater freedom to construct their reports. In addition, we wanted a web application that was capable of running on all browsers and devices.
Linking CRM and decision-making
Even if mobility was not initially included in the project, the fact is that the technology used was able to deliver information and facilitate our move to mobile devices. If our businesses were to have a customer relationship management (CRM) tool in the cloud, then it would need to be constantly connected; a real obstacle to the adoption, especially for those located in rural zones. Hence the idea of developing a mobile ad-hoc application, which can run without connectivity and then synchronise with the central database when the network is available. This application aggregates information from CRM to business intelligence data (including historical sales and wholesale sales).
Each delegate (our name for employees who promote products) benefits from a complete vision over the territory he or she covers: a report on actual sales for each veterinarian, measuring the effectiveness of their actions and visiting plans (with the possibility of reprogramming travel in the case of cancelled appointments), and in addition there is a tool for writing a report at the end of each meeting. This application is already being deployed to over 100 delegates in the United States, covering over 20,000 customers there. It will eventually encompass half of our 700 businesses worldwide.
We also plan to expand the system to include the sales pitches of our products. Even though there will always be a very good operation that manages to sell without these tools, such a tool can help 80 per cent to improve their effectiveness.
Anticipating changes in wholesale inventory
For business managers, the deployment of this application, which offers them real-time visibility on delegates' activity, offers an opportunity to look at and measure the effectiveness of their sales, incorporating qualitative elements from the visit reports.
But if we were to consider only the US subsidiary, for example, it would mean more than 1,500 reports to analyse each week. The challenge is to transform this mass of information into structured data, which a sales director can analyse and sort by product or country.
Measuring the performance of visits is even more crucial when stocks are at wholesalers who only reorder once product lines have been depleted. A better assessment of market acceptance will help to predict the rate at which stocks will be depleted.
The application is also very useful in quickly assessing the impact of a campaign or the effectiveness of a launch. By quickly absorbing the sentiment of veterinarians after visits, mobility shortens the decision-making cycle and improves performance, enabling us to quickly adapt a campaign when initial results are disappointing.
Article translated from the French adfeature on Les Echos : "Technologie: accélérateur de croissance" in partnership with Capgemini France and published originally on 10 October 2012
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