Should You IT-enable Your Sales Force?

Published Date
01 - Jul - 2005
| Last Updated
01 - Jul - 2005
Should You IT-enable Your Sales Force?
"IT-enabling the sales team is essential to increase sales" 

MobiApps is a provider of hybrid terrestrial and satellite technologies for commercial communications, which allows companies to remotely monitor and manage critical infrastructure assets such as fuel levels, water resources and other utilities in real-time. The distribution of MobiApps solutions across India is done by TACO MobiApps Telematics (TMT) Ltd, a joint venture between Tata AutoComp Systems (TACO) and MobiApps.

"As a provider of solutions that include fleet management, asset tracking, telematics, metering and security, ours is not a tangible product that can be taken along and displayed to buyers. To showcase our solutions, we need to provide the sales team with a mobile computing system through which customers can assess the features of the solutions.

"To showcase our solutions, we need to provide the sales team with a mobile computing system  to enable customers assess our product features"
Amitabh Satyam ,Country Head,  MobiApps

"Each and every person in the TMT sales team is equipped with a PDA phone. The sales force is also provided with laptops-again, an instance of using wireless technology-which helps them have continuous, uninterrupted access to data, and also enables synchronisation of the communication taking place, say, from the central location to any other part of the nation.

"Apart from being IT-enabled-such as being connected to a central fileserver-the sales team also responds to e-mail queries. Moreover, there is a Customer Relation Management (CRM) system in place, and a toll-free number for customers.

"I can safely say that we have employed a higher degree of wireless communications to showcase our offerings. On an average, we have invested nearly

Rs 50,000 per head in order to achieve connectivity.

"Having this kind of access to live data is crucial to the sales force when interacting with potential customers. We think technology is a necessity to doing business in this day and age, and, it also increases the possibility of closing a sale.

"In our case, without this kind of live connectivity we would not have been able to close 30 to 50 per cent of the sales we have hitherto achieved. Equipping the sales force with technology is the need of the hour."

"Majority of our sales force is not IT-equipped since it's not needed"
Originally incorporated in 1984 under the name Bookwing Publications & Trading Company Ltd, the name was changed to Navneet Publications India Limited in 1991. A private sector player in the publishing industry, the company sells guides, workbooks and general books under the Navneet, Vikas and Gala brands.

"I personally look after the sales for 16 states in India (excluding Maharashtra) with a team of 138 sales personnel. All our sales executives need to popularise our products, regardless of which rung of the management ladder they are at.

"A mere presentation using a laptop will not do justice to the books we offer. Buyers need to see the actual book before they can purchase it"
Pradeep Jadhav, Senior Area Sales Manager, Navneet Publications

"At present, only six members in the sales team who are involved in the direct promotion of our educational  CD-ROMs have been given laptops. Apart from that, 22 junior managers have been provided with mobile phones.

"One obviously cannot market books over the phone-so tele-sales is a no-no. Nor can we simply distribute brochures to buyers. A mere presentation using a laptop will not do justice to the books we offer. The customers need to see the actual book, academic or otherwise, before they can purchase it.

"Our sales force visits educational institutes and coaching classes in these states. Essentially, our sales force does a physical sampling-we provide a sample copy of a digest or guide to teachers, who first read the copy, and then recommend its features to their students. Based on that response, we launch the particular product in the market.

"It is only when marketing our electronic products, such as our CD-ROMs, that we need to make a presentation using a laptop.

"We do not equip the majority of our sales force with mobile phones or laptops, not because it would be a financial overhead, but because equipping them with those hi-tech gadgets is not really required.

"Moreover, considering the kind of products we deal in, I doubt if a requirement to equip the entire sales force with hi-tech gadgets would arise in the near future."

As told to Renuka Rane

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