The sales team plays a pivotal role in educating people about your products/services and persuading them to buy. Even though both inside and outside sales teams’ responsibilities revolve around this, there is a slight difference in the methods they follow to achieve them. While the inside sales team focuses on cold calling and email marketing, the field sales team focuses on door-to-door sales and demo presentations in clients’ offices. Some industries such as FMCG, pharmaceuticals, service providers, etc depend largely on field sales.
Sales teams management is all about monitoring their daily activities and helping them stay on track. In this blog, we are going to discuss the outside(field) sales team – the various difficulties in managing them, and tips to overcome them.
Responsibilities Of A Outside Sales Representative
The main responsibilities of an outside sales representative include,
- Travel to client places periodically
- Build strong customer relationships
- Engage with existing customers
- Focus on account-based marketing
- Update meeting outcomes to sales managers
- Find prospective customers and educate them about your products and services
- Perform competitor analysis and market research
- Achieve targets on time
Challenges In Managing Outside Sales Team
How to manage a sales team? Managing an outside sales team is a bit more difficult than managing an inside sales team. But, with the right tools and techniques, you can manage them effectively. 37% of outside sales managers feel that enabling the outside sales reps with the right tools and software will make them more successful. The major barriers to managing a field sales team are:
1. Lack Of Communication
Communication is one of the most common problems that field reps encounter. Be it with their colleagues or updating their managers about the tasks and meetings statuses etc. They find it difficult to convey everything in messages or calls as there are chances of missing out on details that may lead to miscommunication.
2. Optimizing The Traveling Distance And Time
Field reps have to travel to different customer locations as a part of their daily tasks, which means they spend a lot of time on the roads. This is a threat to their productivity and accountability as they spend less time on actual selling.
3. Less Supervision
Unlike the inside sales team, the outside sales reps cannot be supervised most of the time. Due to their mobility, it is difficult to keep track of their activities. Hence, there are higher chances of making mistakes in the sales process.
4. Lack Of Motivation
Due to lesser interaction with the sales managers, outside sales reps may feel demotivated at times. It may affect their performance as well. The sales managers have to find ways in which they can keep the outside sales reps stay motivated and enthusiastic at work.
5. Objection Handling
In field sales, there are higher chances of meetings getting postponed or canceled at the last minute by the customer. This may be disheartening for the sales reps who prepared well and reached the customer’s place in advance. But, they should have the willpower and optimism to overcome such unfavorable circumstances. Also, when a customer rejects your product, try to convince them politely and stay calm for their response.
Tips To Manage Your Outside Sales Team
Now that you know the various challenges faced by the outside sales teams, here are some sales management tips on how to overcome them and attain success.
1. Consistent Training
Training your outside sales representatives periodically is what makes a successful sales team. Since there will be less time for interaction with your outside sales team, it is essential that you conduct adequate training sessions to train them on the latest techniques and strategies. This will make them feel empowered and confident. Consider a sales enablement platform from allego.com to help with your training efforts.
2. Rewards And Recognition
Sales team management includes encouraging them when they perform well with timely rewards and recognition. This makes them feel connected as a team. Attaining sales quotas should not be the only measure of performance. The consistent effort of all salespeople should be appreciated by the managers.
3. Use Appropriate Sales Tools
In the sales process, there are some daily activities that are repetitive. Those activities can be automated with the help of sales tools available. For example, the Lystloc app has task management and automated reports features which reduce the burden of salespeople and improves their productivity.
4. Measure Performance With Right KPIs
Each business is unique. Hence, choose the metrics that suit your business and measure them periodically. This will help you understand how your sales strategies are performing. For example, there are revenue-based metrics such as customer lifetime value, average deal size, etc., and performance metrics like closing rate, no.of new customers earned in a specific period, etc.
5. Route Optimization
As we discussed earlier, outside sales reps travel to different customer locations. Hence, optimizing the route to be traveled by them in a day will save a lot of time and fuel costs. Taking the shortest route available will make them reach more customers in a given time, which improves their accountability.
6. Invest In Team Building
Team building activities such as games, day outs, casual meetings to discuss something about their life happenings, problems they face in professional and personal life, their ability to work along with colleagues, etc will make them feel more comfortable. They feel that they can share their concerns with their manager and that improves their morale.
Outside sales team management can be done effectively by following the above tips. Every sales manager should be empathetic towards their sales representatives and help them achieve their personal as well as professional goals. Using the right tools and techniques will help your field sales team to hit their sales quotas every time. To end with a quote that you can relate to, “Great teamwork is the only way we create the breakthroughs that define our careers”.