Managing a team of dispersed reps is an immensely demanding job. Managers must constantly coach their reps, update them on organizational changes, assess territory success, and develop business strategies. And in a previous post, we discussed the top 5 pain points for field sales reps working away from a central office location. However, this is only half the story, here are the top five pain points for field managers.
1. Inconsistent Performance
Imagine spending precious hours of in-depth, cohesive, and creative training with each new rep that joins a field team. Then, once a staff is full and trained, performance is inconsistent. Managers suffering from inconsistent rep performance should seek out a solution that tracks rep activities. Field Activity Management tools which run on mobile devices give managers the option to have reps fill out certain digital forms before leaving a client, such as a retail audit or a competitive report.
2. Being The Middleman Between Data And Reps
Field reps are often in need of data; whether that is client contact information, consumer research, client history, etc. reps are in constant need of data. Some organizations that still collect and store data on paper have difficulty getting that critical data out to reps on time. For example, a luxury goods retailer calls their supplier rep because they are having an out-of-stock experience and claim they did not receive the amount of product they ordered. Without immediate access to their ordering history, that rep then calls the a manager to pull up this information. With small headaches like this popping up with all their reps, a manager could easily spend an entire day pulling up data for their reps. Solving this issue could mean implementing a mobile software solution which allow reps to collect, share, and access all their data from a mobile device, freeing the manager from the middleman role.
3. Fighting Fires
The image of a fire fighter, running to put out one small flame to the next has been a recurring metaphor for the organizational managers. Constantly being interrupted from daily duties to fix small issues can be incredibly frustrating, especially for a field team manager who must solve these issues remotely, rather than in an office setting. These issues could include product ordering errors, concerns about customer service, or confusion about client appointments. Usually, these issues can be resolved by the rep themselves, though they lack the authority to make final decisions. Managers should often reflect on how much they are micro-managing their reps responsibilities and decide what issues are appropriate to hand back to reps, so that they may focus on core issues.
4. Mystery Travel Costs
There is little more frustrating for a field team manager than losing money and not being able to point at a cost. The budget may call for each rep to spend $ 200 on gas per week, yet a manager is continually seeing that some reps are up to $ 400 or even $ 500 in a week. He looks at a map of territories and cannot understand how fuel can be costing so much; finally a conversation with a rep may make the manager aware that a rep is taking the “long way” to get to clients. Without a system of GPS tracking, it can be difficult to lead reps on the most efficient routes to clients. Relying on conversations about travel is a duty managers are likely to put off; having a digitized map to review can go a long way toward demystifying travel costs.
5. Putting Off Goal Setting
Often, managers of field teams find themselves not only caught up in small details as the ones mentioned above, but also in other tedious responsibilities that come with the role of a manager like handling personal conflicts between reps, managing paper work, etc. These distractions keep managers from performing a central role of coaching the team and improving sales strategy. By empowering employees with more diverse responsibilities, initiating healthy team communication, and implementing software solutions into daily activities, managers can begin to check off this list of pain points.Business & Finance Articles on Business 2 Community