Staying connected is no a challenge today—WiFi connections are ubiquitous and most cell phone plans come with data plans that keep you “always-on.” But for all the ways to stay connected, you still have to ask your sales team for status updates and reports from the road.
The best known document-sharing tools include Google Documents, Evernote and Zoho. And, there is no shortage of CRM (customer relationship management) systems that let you enter customer data for the whole team to see. However, there are lesser-known tools and apps that can be quite powerful, too. Here are a few that can help increase your team's productivity:
Use the camera as scanner. You and your team can save time by using the built-in cameras on your tablets and smartphones for scanning receipts for expense reports and capturing business card information. Top apps to maximize efficiency include TurboScan ($1.99) and CamCard ($2.99), both from the iTunes store. Android users can check out CamScanner in Google Play (free version and $4.99).
With a little creativity, you could scan almost anything (for example, a whiteboard sketch in a client meeting) and instantly upload images to a shared document space for others to see and interact with—perhaps giving you feedback during that important meeting.
Make a memorable presentation. For those making presentations using an iPad, the must-have tool is Keynote. For $9.99, the app will help you transform your message from an average to outstanding. Keynote has a “Remote” app, which lets you control your presentation using your iPhone; or someone in another location, who is joining via conference call could control it, too.
Collaborate using an enterprise social network. Sometimes, a Twitter-like functionality could really help you in a sales meeting. You could use Twitter, but unless you use a private message, the whole world sees it. Take a look at Yammer, which is a real-time collaboration tool that calls itself the “enterprise social network.” Just imagine Facebook and Twitter for your own team to use privately. It's available in iPhone, iPad, and Android versions.
Manage your team with location-based apps. With a little extra effort, you could use FourSquare, the service that lets you check in and become “mayor” of a location. They have an API (application programming interface) that allows you to create your own custom version that lets you limit information to outside viewers, for example, not allowing your competition to see where your team is going. You can create friendly sales quota competitions, in which the salesperson with the most check-ins gets a reward or prize.
Google Maps Coordinate is a new service layer for their maps service that lets you see a worker’s location. You could use this in a large warehouse or in the field. Jobs can be assigned to the worker closest to the next job. Before you get too worried about snooping, Big Brother can’t see everything and worker privacy is assured when the app is disabled at the end of the workday.
Keep your sales team focused with SMS data entry. You don't want your salespeople spending too much time on administrative tasks, like filling in spreadsheets or CRM database forms. i-Snapshot is a text-based (SMS) method to keep your sales team focused on what it does best: Selling. You create a "coded text message" to keep data entry short, and to make it easier to enter on any mobile phone or smartphone.
With these tools, your sales team can be more productive; and you can engage with them more efficiently.
What apps does your sales team use?
Learn more in OPEN Forum's Sales Check-In 2012 series
Photo credit: CamCard