The original article appeared here: https://futurestartup.com/2018/11/13/remote-operations-field-buzz-sales/
Managing sales operations that take place outside of office poses an efficiency and transparency challenge to any company. Many companies in Bangladesh have large field teams who travel around in dispersed areas and are assigned with specific activities to do in the field, such as visiting specific shops, getting a record of its current stock as well as taking and delivering orders. The teams can include sales representatives, delivery persons, territory officers, on-site customer service engineers or doorstep market researchers, all with specific tasks.
More often than not, companies find it very hard to keep track of these field workers though. While it’s relatively easy to track an employee’s daily activities in an office environment, managers don’t really know where their people are or what they’re doing while out in the field. And as field workers of the vast majority of companies out there still revert to pen and paper when it comes to recording information, it also takes a lot of time until the field data finally reaches the manager – valuable time that, especially in retail, should not be wasted.
In sales, things happen and change quickly. The ability to make rapid decisions based on accurate data can make or break your business at times. Apart from the time lag, paperwork tends to be error-prone, may be incomplete or even purposefully falsified, thereby rendering it impossible for managers to know if their employees actually went where they were supposed to go, identify potential problems and react to them in a timely manner. Adding to these very fundamental management obstacles, slow paper processes make it impossible to manage field operations efficiently through the creation of incentives such as sale targets or rewards for the best performers.
However, the age of digitalization we all live in offers a variety of opportunities and technological tools that you just need to grab in order to tackle these very problems and enhance your company’s sales performance. And this is where Field Buzz comes in.
Field Buzz is a software solution that uses smartphones to help companies and organizations to manage their dispersed and remote operations more efficiently. It is based on a cloud-based web-management interface called “Mission Control” and a mobile application, which is used by field workers. Easy-to-use, intuitive user interfaces make it very easy for field workers to input data. Information that employees record in the field is synced to Mission Control automatically and is therefore accessible for the managers in real time. The data is stored and displayed in an organized manner, enabling the company management to easily keep track, view, analyze and react to all the information coming in from the field with tools like graphs, maps, alerts, and targets.
Following this strategy, Field Buzz has managed to convince renowned organizations and companies in Bangladesh and across the globe in a variety of different sectors, ranging from the traceability of agricultural value chains in Uganda to the remote monitoring of infrastructure sites in Afghanistan and sales operations in the “last mile” of the rural countryside in Colombia. Their clients include multinational and national companies, including Danone, Unilever, Neumann Kaffee Gruppe, Foodex (Paramount Group) and MM Ispahani, as well as major international development organizations such as UNDP, the German Development Bank KfW and the NGO PSI. The company has also been awarded several honors and prizes, including Seedstars Dhaka (2016), Connecting Startups Bangladesh, and most recently, the GSMA Ecosystem Accelerator Innovation Fund.
A sales operation management tool that understands your needs
Following the successful experience with large international corporations and organizations, Field Buzz wanted to make the product accessible for smaller organizations, startups, and SMEs with limited budgets, too. In order to do this, it was necessary to come up with a new software architecture, which follows a modular approach.
Unlike the many generic software solutions you may find in the market, the Field Buzz team identifies your company’s specific needs through a thorough needs analysis at the beginning of the assignment – the app modules and input fields you require are configured according to your company’s needs to make sure that the software captures exactly the right information.
Modules are currently available for sales operations, route management, marketing, credit management, and attendance, but the Field Buzz team are adding new modules all the time, with features for the construction industry, agriculture value chains, and NGOs high up on the list.
The subscription fee you pay on a monthly basis depends on the number of modules you need for your field operations to function seamlessly. If required, you may add extra modules or get rid of those that don’t prove to be useful in your everyday operations; this way, you’ll never end up paying for modules and services that are not actually relevant for your company. This flexibility helps you to get the most cost-efficient tool for your company’s specific needs while at the same time always being able to resort to a highly professional team of software engineers and consultants for support.
Data collection as a valuable asset to your company’s success
One of the main virtues of conducting successful business and sales is having a clear idea of the market, particularly the demand. Through repeated interactions with your customers, you automatically generate a torrent of data about your clients, their tastes, preferences and consumption patterns. Data is arguably the most important asset of a company – the new oil of our century. Your ability to collect and store data and then derive actionable insights from it is critical for your business to improve its services, design better sales-strategies and achieve higher growth rates. Field Buzz helps you to do this.
It offers a variety of features that help you to significantly enhance the performance of your sales team. Through the registration of shops, valuable data is systematically collected. Every shop that you deliver to or interact with is registered with a QR code that is affixed inside the shop. Once the field worker reaches the shop, s/he scans the QR code and is automatically taken to the shop’s profile in the app. Here, s/he can access the transaction history and pending deliveries, register payments, update the information on the shop’s stock or conduct any other transaction that is relevant to your company.
Depending on your company’s requirements, route management and GPS-tracking is enabled, thereby not only allowing the management to have a track-record of the shops that were visited by the field agents but also to view a specific field worker’s route on a specific day. The route management feature also enables the manager to define the most efficient route for field workers ahead of time, compare the planned with the actually taken route and follow up if necessary.
Reliable functionality in remote areas without internet coverage
One of the biggest assets of the software system is the immediate synchronization of data between the mobile app and the web-based management interface. While many other renowned software systems are not designed for low-resource contexts with sometimes unstable or missing internet coverage, core parts of the Field Buzz Sales application are fully functional even in offline mode; if your field worker travels to an area with a weak internet coverage or simply runs out of data, s/he may still take orders, record deliveries or register payments in the application without running the risk of data being lost. The app securely saves the data and syncs it to Mission Control as soon as the field agent’s smartphone is connected to mobile internet or a working Wi-Fi again. Payment tracks, deliveries or orders don’t get lost and you’ll never miss a delivery deadline due to software problems again!
Today, a comprehensive sales management solution like Field Buzz Sales has become indispensable for ambitious companies with dispersed field operations. Tracking transactions and having quick access to relevant data is key to an efficient management of your day-to-day sales operations. If you are looking for a sales management software that matches the exact processes of your sales operations and can flexibly adjust to the evolving needs of your company, don’t waste any more time – you know where to find it!