Many wars have been won by having field information ahead of competition
In business, like in war, real time information is power. You can win if you have the right tools to gather and harness field information.
Mobile devices and the flexible apps help you to collect information in real time from your distributed field sales team. No more Email, SMS, Excel sheets, Reminders etc. Save the time you spent on data collation.
The sales person whips up the smartphone and sends the mission critical information back to the corporate office. The corporate office can set formats, review all the data and be ready for the next tactic, next day!
Attendance, Sales, Inventory, Merchandising, C-Sat, Customer Meetings, Customer Feedback, Competition updates and all the data do not need to travel through many mail boxes before it hits the national view. You get it all in real time.
Getting Real Time Data = Competitive Advantage!
Data collection requires a cultural change – both on the side of the field personnel sending the data and on the side of the manager reviewing the data!
Identify and prioritise
Identify all the data that can be collected from the field. The team will get ambitious about many different data types – the list can be endless. Do not be tempted to have an endless list of reports to be sent. Prioritise the top 3-4 data that need to be collected for the initial launch
Deploy a mobile framework
The framework should let you define formats – capture SKU Information, Customer details, Sales figures, GPS locations, photos, voice and the like. And the ability to add/change formats as required. This should work on Android/ iOS mobile devices.
Define data display formats
How do you want the final dashboards to look like? You need to have a good view – as this is doing to drive insight and action. Having a view of the final reports you require will help you to define the data to be collected. Keep it simple to start off with, build complexity along the way.
Pilot launch in about 15% of the final user base – smaller pilots will be very controlled and will not highlight the key issues. Select one team that you believe will be supportive of the initiative and another you believe that will not be. Both the teams will teach you a few aspects, that will help you in the final implementation. Write down the learnings.
Scale & Visibility
Factor in the learning from the pilots and have an organisational launch. Give a good name to the project for instant recollection. Have leaders to talk about how important the project it. Build visibility. Incorporate the data from the project in the weekly review reports.
Track Quarter 1 usage
Drive for 100% usage – do not allow exceptions. Call out people who are not using the system, escalate to their managers. Provide usage and tech help as required. The target is to declare a day when everyone is on board. Celebrate the day with a mailer to the team congratulating them. Highlight the benefit of using the system, in quantifiable terms [We get 97% accurate data, we get the data 7 days in advance, we save 20 hours on data compilation efforts, no there are no more followups etc.]
Sustain & Add Reports
Sustain the program – have a hawk’s eye on the engagement percentages. Add more reports as you go along. Incorporate the reports from this system into your cadence calls. Set up a monthly call with the team to address any of the issues. Look at integrating the data into other organisational systems.
Having a robust mobile data collection process fosters agility and collaboration. This will have an immediate impact on the business responsiveness.