Disconnect between managers & reps
Managers found it difficult to maintain contact with reps during field visits. They had a rough idea of their daily travel routes, but didn’t always know how things were going and whether service delivery was going according to plan.
Although sales managers had a lot to offer reps in terms of customer information and selling strategies, they were unable to communicate it to them in real-time in a way that was relevant to their situation. “As experienced managers who have been working in the business for a long time, we often have a better idea of customer histories than our reps and are able to inform our people on how to deal with which customers, or what to remember when they visit different customers,” shares Adele Norman, Retail General Manager at SafeTop.
In the past, SafeTop’s sales communications were exclusively via fax and email and proved to be problematic as errors crept in and messages didn’t always reach intended destinations in time. The lack of a streamlined system caused a lot of confusion and admin processes lagged, resulting in many reps and merchandisers having to work into the evenings to complete tasks.
SafeTop did try a mobile order scanning system at one stage but experienced troubles with it. “It was just not very functional. It could take orders, but wasn’t user friendly and still produced paper receipts our reps had to carry. We were looking for something effective and uncomplicated,” recalls Norman.
Incomplete and undecipherable reports
Ineffective, disparate and mostly manual systems resulted in late or incomplete sales reporting. Those reps who did hand in their reports on time, did so with very little useful information. They found taking the time to fill out their reports properly too frustrating, time consuming, admin intensive and the reports never seemed to offer any advantages. It was reporting for reporting’s sake.
Reps used their own individual reporting styles which left managers and internal staff confused. Handwritten field notes further complicated this, as they were often undecipherable. “By the time the rep who drew up the original report is asked to confirm the correct details, they can’t remember exact details anymore or were already busy dealing with another customer. Reporting was simply inaccurate and as a result, unuseful,” shares a clearly frustrated Norman.
Gaining the competitive edge
Skynamo was the obvious choice for SafeTop as it was effective, uncomplicated and offered more than they expected at an affordable price. “The standard version gave us all the basics, plus further functions which we didn’t consider at first but realised would be very useful,” says Norman.
Reps were given the means to play a more active role in structuring and managing their own schedules and routines. Skynamo has reduced admin for the reps to a large degree and consolidated all SafeTop’s manual paperwork and checks into one system without overcomplicating things.
Reps can now fill out their orders in a digital format and log it in real-time. They are no longer dependent on others trying to decipher their hand-written notes and logging orders on their behalf. “The app is very user-friendly. It took our reps just one week to realise how beneficial it is to them and they were only too happy to embrace it,” says Norman.
Those reps who live further away and don’t come to the office on a regular basis are now as informed as those enjoying the luxury of visiting the office and meeting with managers more regularly. All reps have access to relevant information and all managers are updated on their reps’ activities and results on a regular basis.