Early in my career, I was doing trade marketing and there were only two reasons I ever started work before my typical schedule—a tight deadline or a field visit. We treated field visits very seriously as they were a prime opportunity for sales. All field visits were guided by a salesperson responsible for the territory. I saw dozens of them at work and got to know their everyday challenges. There was also one more thing I realized: to be successful in outside sales, you need to have talent and grit.
During my field visits, I had the opportunity to observe the most common challenges faced by these outside professionals. Among some of those challenges, I consider the following four to be the most pressing and the ones that should be tackled to improve the customer experience provided by outside salespeople:
It’s surprising, but a lot of outside salespeople are not mobile-ready. Many organizations think if they provide their sales teams with a smartphone and a SIM-card, or cover phone expenses, their part is done. In reality, salespeople end up using their personal numbers for work or two separate devices to manage personal and business calls. Neither way is good and might adversely affect the sales process. Imagine a missed call from an important customer got overlooked because it blended in with personal ones; the salesperson doesn’t follow up and loses an opportunity. Even when employees have separate business and personal phones, that’s two devices they have to juggle all day long.
The confusion is real! So is the impact on sales. The easiest and cheapest way to solve this is to adopt a mobile-ready customer experience app with the ability to create and choose outbound caller IDs. This way, all your team needs is a single phone. They can use the app to make calls from a company number and manage customer interactions separately from personal ones.
Outside sales teams spend half of their time in the field. It’s normal to drive hundreds of miles to visit stores and meet with different accounts. However, it doesn’t mean that their work stops while they are driving; it’s quite the opposite. A lot can happen during a car trip. Once, I was on a 40-minute field trip with a sales agent whose phone wouldn’t stop ringing. During the drive, he must’ve taken about 10 calls. The inconvenience can be solved by providing the sales team with mobile tools that follow voice commands, so they stay safe on the road and still available to customers and colleagues.
There is another challenge outside sales employees face when communicating with customers en-route and it can have a huge impact on the customer experience (CX), and therefore, customer satisfaction (CSAT). Your sales team is a main point of contact for customers. They will be the first ones to know if there is a problem in a store, with an order or a contract.
Resolving customer issues often depends on how fast a salesperson is—and how good their memory is. On that same road trip—when my colleague’s phone was ringing non-stop—almost every call turned out to be from an unsatisfied customer. But he didn’t pull over to take notes; he kept answering, call after call, trying to memorize details. In case my colleague needed to refresh his memory later on anything that had been discussed, a customer experience app with built-in call recordings could have really helped.
I bet you’d be surprised to know how much your outside salespeople know about your customers and how close their relationship can be. In one sales meeting I attended, the customer invited my sales colleague to a family wedding! It’s true that outside sales teams have higher quotas, and to be a valuable partner they always need to maintain a meaningful relationship with customers. This can be difficult when “creating value and insight during the conversation with the client” is cited as the top challenge for uncovering and exploring client needs. A CRM system is no longer enough. You need to make sure it’s mobile-ready, so your on-the-go sales employees have critical customer information in their hands, with the ability to contribute with new field insights. Having access to information like their client’s negotiation tactics, last orders, historical contact center requests and their ups and downs with your service will help them have a more successful meeting—which leads to a positive outcome and loyalty faster.
If, while reading this, you realized your outside sales have solutions to all these challenges, consider this: Do they have everything—outbound ID, call recordings, AI assistance and key customer data in one mobile-first application? Or, are they turning to different tools to meet their needs? The sales tech landscape reached almost a thousand solutions last year and is still growing. The more tools salespeople have to manage, the less time they spend selling your product or service to customers.
After working so many years with outside salespeople, I’ve found them to be very flexible and adaptable to any situation. What they do to overcome these challenges daily shouldn’t be taken for granted, as selling becomes more difficult every day. In fact, 60% of buyers, salespeople, and managers expect a decrease in hitting sales quota. An all-in-one mobile workforce solution like Talkdesk On The Go puts real-time communication tools in the hands of outside sales employees so they can provide a consistent, professional, and seamlessly connected customer experience, while being more productive and efficient.
Learn more about how to choose a perfect solution to support your mobile workforce in the ebook How to Empower Mobile Workers to Enhance Customer Experience.
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