A field rep is a very expensive resource to a company. As an expensive resource, most organizations invest a ton of time and money to make them as effective as possible.
Unfortunately, making reps effective has become synonymous with loading them up with technology. Every marketing and sales managers want their reps to show up to a knife fight with a nuclear bomb. As effective as that might seem, as I will illustrate below, it is a false parallel.
So the question that persists is how can you arm your reps with the right amount of technology so they are more efficient not less. Concurrently, without proper user adoption, it doesn’t matter how effective the new tool may be, it won’t generate the results or ROI your organization is looking for.
Having worked with numerous field teams, we’ve uncovered three ways that effective sales and marketing leaders deploy technologies that have helped their teams become more effective with their prospects allowing them to close more business, faster.
Deploy the Right Technology to the Right Reps
Often sales & marketing leaders find cool technology they think will help their reps but when it gets into the reps hands, it becomes a digital paperweight.
Having a sales enablement technology be an asset, not a burden, to your reps requires that your technology solve a headache. The more persistent the headache, the better.
If your reps are selling parts and supplies, they likely need a tool that can quickly and easily help them find the right part with the correct variances.
If your reps are selling a less commoditized product line or selling services, they will need a tool that can help them quickly and easily find the content that they need.
Two very different selling cases require two very different technologies.Use the right tool for the right job.
Provide Efficient Initial Access
Once your team has assessed the tool that can help the reps, the reps need to see that it works in the field.
Working with field reps and dealer networks, we have found that the most effective way of getting field teams to work with new technologies is getting their regional managers and team leaders early access. With this initial subset of users, who are usually incentivized to have their team crush quota, two things fall into place:
- First, any issues that are unique to your selling culture will be ironed out with the team that won’t quickly dismiss the technology at the first hiccup.
- Second, while this group is on their ride alongs with their reps, dealers, wholesalers, or distributors, and they use the tool effectively, it is almost guaranteed that when the field rep sees the tool that closes business for them, that rep will ask, “hey boss, how do I get access to that?”
Make the Tool the Channel
Last but not least, is making your tool the key channel for your reps.
Why do so many companies rely on hard to navigate portals?
Why do organizations rely on email?
Training. Companies have trained reps to look in those spots to find the material they need. However, those channels work so poorly that reps don’t bother logging in; instead, they pick up the phone and call managers or colleagues for crucial information.
What a waste of everyone’s time!
If your tool is used to help promote new product launches, make sure that it is continuously updated with the relevant information.
If your tool is used for product pricing, make sure it is up to date.
If your tool is the source for case studies, make them easy to find.
When requests are made for that material, point reps back to that channel. Train them that this is the channel for that information.
Provided the tool does what it was commissioned to do reps will adopt the tool, and they will be efficient with it.
Tying it Together
There are two competing factors in sales departments today:
- First, reps are being asked to sell more, faster.
- Second, reps are being asked to adopt an ever-expanding ecosystem of sales enablement tools.
Rest assured when push comes to shove; reps will always default to activities that will have a direct impact on their paycheck. Whenever you provide a tool for a rep to use, it isn’t good enough to say that it will help them, you need to show them that it will help, prove to them it will help and dedicate yourself to making sure it does help.