Dear Community Members,
Does your business feel like it needs a little extra push lately? Constantly struggling with the time-consuming processes of order taking in the field, notifying customers about delivery dates, checking on inventory, back orders, sales order errors, and more?
Best-in-class wholesalers mobilize their processes
Best-in-class wholesalers improve their sales operation efficiency by mobilizing their order taking and management processes.
Wholesalers that embrace the mobile sales force increase sales, while improving the sales experience for both the consumer and the sales reps.
Top-4 challenges in order taking
Wholesalers must overcome multiple hurdles in order taking:
- Re-keying in of paper-based orders taken in the field
- Orders not being “visible” until they’ve reached the ERP
- Hassles in dealing with paper catalogs
- Presenting the company’s brand in the most professional way.
Mobile sales force automation
With the introduction of cloud computing and SaaS, sales apps on mobile devices are increasingly affordable and flexible. Leading mobile sales force automation (MSFA) solutions offer free trials with no risk or commitment, which means only-gain-zero-pain for you, the wholesaler.
MSFA solutions enable you to conduct sales activities, engage customers, fulfill and process orders anytime and anywhere. These solutions enable you to present your brand via interactive e-catalogs with real-time visibility into inventory, so your sell only what you have in stock. As a sales manager, sales activity planning and management provide you full control into which customers your reps visit and when, which products your team promotes to your customers, what activities they perform, customer satisfaction, stock levels at the retailers, and more.
Moreover, MSFA solutions take advantage of the mobile device by providing location-based services, presenting your customers by type on a map, enabling you to easily schedule customer visits; allowing sales reps to take pictures of the customer store to capture how their products are being showcased; and to leverage bar-code scanning for quick ordering at trade shows or stocktaking at the store.
Mobility also introduces technological challenges
With the addition of mobile technologies come some imposed challenges:
- Internet access is not always available, so MSFA solutions must be capable of working in off-line mode and to synch automatically and efficiently when back online.
- Businesses need to support multiple device operating systems- iPad, Android, and Windows 8, in support of BYOD initiatives.
- Presenting catalogs and inventories, taking orders, and more, requires bi-directional integration between the MSFA solution and your ERP. Moreover, the MSFA solution must be configurable to support the workflows that you have customized in your ERP to support your industry-specific needs.
The benefits are clear
Sales process will be streamlined, and should expect an increase in field sales. When dealing with a customer, your sales reps will be a lot more self-sufficient in accessing the financial data relevant to their customers, without having to interact with your back-office. Win-win for you and your customers.
A case in point
A successful mobile sales automation implementation to learn from is Spanish company Escorpion. Escorpion is a world renowned manufacturer and distributor of women’s fashion knitwear. Their global sales team was able to incorporate mobility into their entire sales process. They saw a significant branding enhancement, representatives were granted instant access to data and graphics about clients and products, and all of the order confirmations were sent directly to the customer by email. “It has been very positively received by both our sales network and clients due to the image quality, ease of operation, and the range of management features available.” The new MFSA solution is seamlessly integrated with Escorpion’s SAP ECC 6.0 system for product, customer, inventory, and invoice information.
Jump on the bandwagon, now!
According to the National Association of Wholesaler Distributors (NAW) 40% of the business in this industry will deploy new technology, including mobility by 2015. If you aren’t already planning on extending your order taking processing with mobility, chances are that your competition is speeding past you.
We would love to hear about your case studies, how the switch over to mobility for processing orders has improved your business as well.