These days being efficient as a door to door (D2D) sales rep is even more critical than ever before. Rising costs of gas, insurance, and supplies cuts into the bottom line. Sales Managers are asked to motivate teams to produce more than before and many times with fewer reps. Sales reps are asked to "get that extra sale" in order to pick up the slack and keep up with his / her competition both inside and outside of the company.
Being efficient as a sales rep becomes increasingly important. This goes beyond simply having a neat calendar and being organized. Companies must take that next step with technology which goes beyond the pen, paper, and clipboard method to keep up.
The answer to the efficiency problem is not another study in process improvement or to hire more (even on a part-time) basis. The answer to increasing the efficiency of D2D sales reps lies in that smartphone in their pocket. A mobile app not only allows a rep to view his or her leads in an organized fashion but also allows him or her to optimize the stops for the best travel scenario. The rep can also put in a disposition for a particular unit that will show the result in the database. The entry is time stamped for manager approval if needed but more importantly it will tell the rep if he or she needs to go back and allow for a better estimate of a time to reach them at home.
Wow, look at all of the time that was saved! Once a rep is fully versed in using the program it becomes second nature. The rep now has time to make more contacts per day and be as efficient as possible about it. This results in more sales simply based on sales call volume. The real savings comes for the rep when it comes to quality of life. Smartphone apps for field use incorporate the admin time through the day. No longer will a rep need to come home and enter his or her info into a database. Results can be viewed instantly by managers and lets anyone pull data on levels of productivity in real time.
Clearly these programs are in their infancy but are gaining traction. A few drawbacks are the initial expense of setting up a system and training as well. Another issue can be with smartphone reception and data use. Some reps see it as "big brother" as well. These challenges will be overcome as time goes by and the developers build even better systems.
As a sales manager at Nielsen my reps would spend far too much time on admin tasks and the sales numbers suffered. Once the smartphone program was put into place and all of the reps were trained the quality of the job went up along with the sales. Using technology can really benefit a company especially when every sale counts!