MISSION VIEJO, CA — “Show me the money!!”
In his movie role as a high-maintenance NFL star in “Jerry Maguire,” Cuba Gooding Jr. won an Oscar and created an enduring pop culture catch phrase with his unique delivery of that memorable line — four words that perfectly sum up the objective of a successful sale. In the final analysis, sales management is all about maximizing the ability of your sales force to “Show me the money!!”
Sales force automation technologies provide a means for efficiently sharing knowledge to make your sales people work smarter. Regarding the efforts of the people “on the street,” many companies still mistake activity for productive activity. Or, they think that throwing still more people into the field without the tools they need to perform well will benefit the sales effort even though that practice may not be cost effective. Technology can ensure that the individuals who represent your firm focus their activities on the best bets for showing you the money by leveraging the power of the Internet and wireless devices.
“If we only knew what we know” has become the mantra of knowledge management and knowledge sharing, which is all about tapping into the information already available somewhere in your organization and making it readily available to those who need it to perform their jobs better. It is increasingly understood that those who can mobilize and focus their corporate knowledge have a distinct competitive advantage. Despite the acceptance of this idea as a valid business concept, adapting it in real-life is highly variable from company to company. Time and again we hear that critical business knowledge is still stuck in well protected corporate silos, inaccessible to the people who need it most.
Today, most people recognize that knowledge sharing is a key issue for knowledge management and thus for organizational success. But real knowledge sharing requires the combination of a corporate culture supporting the concept as well as the technology tools to implement it.
Portable technology devices integrated with your in-house computerized business management system provide your sales force in the field with the ability to target qualified leads, spend meaningful face-to-face time with customers and prospects, and efficiently report the results and place orders, instead of struggling with paperwork, shuffling missed messages and wasting time.
A “DST Difference” is the ability of DSTWare warehouse distribution and inventory management users to share critical data with those who can benefit from it. Wireless access to databases, ordering capabilities, inventories and other critical information stored on your enterprise systems enable your sales force to manage the organization’s knowledge so they can:
* Check inventory, product information, price, order status and more on the go
* Take orders in the field and funnel them directly into your order management system
* Solve business problems by accessing critical real-time information and communication tools
* Confidently promise delivery without making calls, faxing orders or returning to the office for information
* Spend more time with prospects and clients and less on administrative tasks
The reason that telephone conversations have replaced correspondence as the preferred method of human interaction is the immediacy of conversations that only the real-time factor can deliver. Likewise, sales automation devices provide sales people with the ability to work “live” with both their customers and their prospects and their central office without unnecessary delays and postponements while awaiting or searching for relevant data. Streaming video demonstrations can be presented on hand-held devices; real-time orders can be processed on laptops.
Your sales people should be able to access current customer balances, the products or product groups that they purchased last time and profitability histories. They should be able to identify cross-selling opportunities. They should have the information at hand to determine which 20 percent of the customers are generating 80 percent of the revenue and profitability for your firm and route their itineraries accordingly. Knowing which customers or prospects to not spend a great deal of time with is as important as knowing which ones deserve attention.
One thing that technology will never replace is the power of relationships in conducting business transactions. But sales force automation technology is better termed “business building technology” when it comes to empowering your sales people to spend more time bonding with customers and less time struggling to get their jobs done.
Sales managers benefit, too. The immediacy of receiving real-time results enhances their ability to modify pricing structures, design appropriate promotions, judge personnel effectiveness and solve minor problems before they become overwhelming obstacles. Critical customer data can be documented and stored in a centralized database without being lost or stolen if a sales person decides to move on.
By arming your sales force with the technology to propel their efforts, you can issue the instruction to “Show me the money!!”
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“DST Asks” is written and sponsored by DST Inc. The opinions expressed in “DST Asks” articles appearing on aftermarketNews.com do not necessarily reflect the opinions of AMN or Babcox Publications.