In the past, traveling salespeople had it tough. They had to try and replicate the trappings of an office everywhere they went, all to try and stay on top of their client obligations and work schedule. And their managers — who got to stay behind and track their progress — had to schedule regular check-ins and meet-ups to take care of necessary paperwork and the like.
In the digital age, however, all of those difficulties are a thing of the past. That’s because technology now makes it possible for all-remote sales staff and teams to function just as effectively as they would in a single office. But making that happen requires businesses to make specific technology investments to give their sales teams the tools they need to survive. Here are the 5 technology must-haves to support an all-remote sales force.
A Cloud-Based CRM System
One of the biggest challenges associated with running an all-remote sales team is finding a way to facilitate client data sharing amongst team members. But that’s where CRM systems come in. They provide centralized storage and sharing of client information, with customizable dashboards to relay that data to the salespeople that need it. In the past, however, CRM systems were costly to purchase and maintain, putting them out of the reach of all but the largest companies. But today, there are cloud-based CRM systems geared toward companies of all sizes, guaranteeing that any business can find one that’s the right fit.
Expense Tracking Software
As salespeople go through their days meeting with existing and potential new clients, they tend to rack up expenses in a hurry. They pay for dinners. They pay for gifts. They pay for travel for themselves and others. And those expenses add up. So companies have to know how to keep track of business expenses if they don’t want any costly surprises. The good news is, that there are multiple purveyors of expense tracking software that make managing expense accounts a snap — and they’re a must-have for all remote sales teams.
Employee Time Tracking Software
Whenever a business has employees working remotely, it’s imperative to have a way of tracking their work hours and productivity. And that’s especially true of remote salespeople who, due to the nature of their work, might be working odd and nonstandard hours. The solution is the use of monitoring software for employees (click here for example). Such software can tell managers when their team members are working, when they’re not, and even what they’re doing in certain circumstances. In other words, it provides the same kind of transparency you’d have with any in-office employee.
A Cloud-Based Communication Solution
Although most people don’t realize it, the primary benefit of a centralized office is that it makes communications easy. Employees know just where to find their co-workers, and clients always know when and where to reach company contacts. But remote sales teams can replicate that by using a communication platform as a service (CPaaS) solution. It gives them a single, remotely-accessible platform to call, text, and instant message co-workers and clients. And when used on a mobile device — it can follow a remote salesperson wherever they go.
A Cloud-Based Productivity Suite
Like it or not, salespeople will always have to deal with paperwork. They routinely handle things like purchase orders, sales agreements, contracts, and myriad other documents. And that means having access to a complete suite of office productivity tools is essential. It makes handling documents, spreadsheets, and sales presentations possible from anywhere — which in turn makes the life of the salesperson easier.
With the five types of technology identified above available to remote salespeople, they’ll be able to do their best to drive bottom-line results from anywhere. And, they’ll do so without being at any disadvantage compared to office-based staff. That’s a win-win for any business, especially when you consider that remote workers typically come with lower overhead. It creates the kind of advantage that any company would be happy to enjoy and would be foolish to pass up.