A mobile sales team is often essential to meet sales targets. These sales pros not only make meaningful actions on-the-go but also always stay on top of fast-moving deals with the liberal use of real-time updates and dashboards. These road-warriors can enjoy working from anywhere and anytime while ensuring productivity – it’s easy to see why mobile sales teams have never fallen out of fashion. In fact, IDC suggests that mobile employees will account for 72% of the total workforce by 2020.
Mobile teams do enjoy the freedom to work from anywhere they choose, have easy access to relevant information, and can drive more natural customer relationships through dynamic and real-time insights.
That said, leading a mobile sales team isn’t easy. When your pros work from different locations, you’re not just managing individuals, but also different time zones and communication hurdles, all while trying to keep your team engaged and empowered.
Let’s look at 5 of the biggest challenges of leading a mobile sales team:
Challenge 1: Communication
As a leader, it’s your job to keep all your employees informed. While it’s simple to effectively communicate with staff members you meet face-to-face every day, the same can’t be applied to mobile employees who are out on the road most of the time.
According to a study by Zogby Analytics, 38% of mobile sales staff report the lack of information from management and the timely availability of that information as the biggest obstacles to working remotely.
Since employees collaborate best when they have personal connections with each other, having a reliable communication medium is essential for sales teams to virtually connect with one another as well as other teams or departments. In a study by Salesforce, 73% of sales teams said that collaborating across departments was absolutely critical or very important to their overall sales process. Efficient processes and tools like shared storage and cloud-based project management software could help a scattered mobile sales team work together efficiently.
Challenge 2: Sales training
With so many smartphones and software solutions in the market, effectively delivering training to the mobile workforce through a dedicated mobile environment is a must. But challenges persist because of device complexity, course effectiveness, and usability issues.
With some estimates that mLearning is expected to become a $70 billion industry by 2020, sales training courses that can be used from any device and from anywhere in the world are the way to go.
Courses with easy-to-use interfaces and rich visuals are imperative to fill knowledge gaps, for they include all levels of information about the latest sales techniques, product information, customers, promotions and more. The mobile must let the mobile sales pros access just the training they need, right when they need it -no more.
Challenge 3: Sales Enablement
Empowering mobile sales staff with the skills needed to sell requires one-to-one coaching, which is more difficult to achieve with a remote team. As the very nature of the mobile sales team demands employees to travel and not stay in the same place for extended periods, the potential for coaching is naturally curtailed.
With personalized eLearning courses, mobile sales staff can get one-to-one coaching through their remote computer, tablet, or smartphone from anywhere in the world. Personalized e-learning courses are designed to deliver tailored knowledge and specific learning for sales professionals at all levels and make sales enablement more efficient.
Challenge 4: Keeping up with change
In the business world, change is the only constant: organizational cultures evolve, consumer behavior changes with time, and products and services have to adapt to changing market dynamics.
Mobile sales team have to be equipped to accept change to survive, and if the company is unable to communicate the latest information as soon as possible, sales teams will be found wanting where it matters, in the field. Providing training through mLearning courses can help mobile sales teams stay updated in real-time.
A Burrus Research study revealed that 72% of companies found that by embracing mLearning, they had become more responsive to market changes. Since training and resources can be instantly updated and changed to suit the needs of the role and the market, such training can be made efficient and flexible. Teams can simply take out their smartphone and complete the most recent and relevant training module and get all the information they need for quick closure.
Challenge 5: Tracking productivity
When leaders don’t physically see their mobile sales teams every day, tracking the amount of work they complete can be difficult. While many remote workers are motivated self-starters, there are others who might take advantage of the fact that there’s no one looking over their shoulder. Tracking the productivity of mobile workers is always a challenge.
With a productivity tracking app, you can track a remote worker’s productivity just as you would with the rest of your team; since such apps have established metrics and goals, they highlight exactly the impact each mobile sales employee has delivered and the contribution he/she has made.
Although the benefits of having a mobile sales team are many, leading and managing sales employees is easier said than done. Offering an enabling ecosystem with regular and timely learning, and personalized training ensures that the mobile sales staff is always updated on new products, promotional campaigns, customer needs, and market trends. Effective mLearning and eLearning courses allow sales teams to get all the information they need immediately. This allows them to spend more time focusing on pursuing opportunities and achieving more sales. And isn’t that their primary role?