Field sales teams often encounter numerous challenges while they’re on the road. Inclement weather, long drives, and last-minute cancellations are among the problems they need to grapple with regularly. These situations often take a considerable chunk off of their time and productivity. They would either need to set up new meetings or compensate for lost time by tracking additional customers within their assigned areas even in unfavorable weather conditions.
In the past, these traveling sales agent woes were effectively addressed by Microsoft Streets and Trips. The CD-ROM-based software was the go-to tool for field sales personnel, and it was the most preferred route mapping tool until it was discontinued in 2013. Ever since the program became obsolete, businesses are constantly searching for better options for sales teams that provide essential capabilities to sales agents while they’re on the road.
Choosing The Right Trip Planning Software
If your business is on the lookout for a suitable trip planning software to replace Microsoft Streets and Trips, ensure they satisfy the following conditions. This way, you’ll have a dynamic tool to help ensure the success of your mobile salesforce.
1. Is The Software User-Friendly?
One of the first things you should consider in finding trip planning software is its compatibility with the sales agents’ mobile devices. You’ll want one that’s easy to download and works for both Android and iOS operating systems so you don’t have to purchase additional equipment for your team.
You also need one that has a user-friendly interface and that’s easy to navigate. A few days’ worth of training with product specialists should do the trick. Easy navigation ensures your field sales team can use it immediately on their next sales call.
2. Does It Address The Sales Team’s Challenges?
Your sales team encounters unique challenges while they’re on the field. Look for trip planning software that reduces travel concerns so agents can spend more time with clients and close deals. The software should automate routing and optimize appointment schedules.
It should also provide timely traffic and weather updates so field sales team members can reach their destinations safely and on time.
GPS tracking monitors identify your agent’s location in real-time and show you if they’re using company resources wisely. These trackers can also inform clients if your agents are on the way. Real-time agent ETAs (estimated time of arrival) lessen missed opportunities and show that your company values your customer’s time. You can also adjust for last-minute cancellations as the tool automatically updates with the next destinations.
Apart from showing directions, trip planning software should also include weekly planning features so your staff has enough time to plan and prepare for their presentations. They can use the tool to write down notes or reminders to make their interactions with clients successful.
3. Can You Customize Features?
Apart from automating routine tasks, trip planning software should also provide additional features that you can use to enhance your sales team’s productivity. Efficient trip planning should support your sales workforce structure as it connects managers and agents through seamless reporting capabilities.
Make sure the program allows you to assign your sales reps evenly over your territories. Efficient distribution pairs your agents with prospective clients based on their people skills and experience.
4. How About Regular Updates?
Trip planning software should be responsive to the needs of your sales team and changes in the sales environment. Technology should come with regular upgrades to ensure that bugs are fixed, and programs work well in your territories.
Aside from product enhancements, software developers should also support resolving problems in the least possible time.
5. Is It Compatible With CRM And Other System Used By The Team?
Route mapping programs aren’t the only tools used by your field sales team. You also have CRM (customer relations management), collaboration tools, and other apps that they need to use to accomplish presentations and reports. When you’re scouting for trip planning software, look for one you can use simultaneously with your current business tools. They should be compatible with your systems and allow information to transfer within various systems seamlessly.
6. Is It Affordable?
It would be best if you also considered the price when you’re choosing which trip planning software to get for your field sales team. Look for one that promises cost-effective solutions so you can maximize your investment.
Cost advantages should provide not only short-term returns but also guarantee long-term benefits. Besides the initial purchase, you can ask your software provider if future upgrades or IT support require additional payments. Knowing the total amount allows you to compare various products and determine which one bests suits your budget and business needs.
7. Is It Safe?
Apart from the price, it would help if you also considered software security. You’re looking for a program that isn’t only safe to download and install but will also protect client and business information.
Check for security features that restrict access to authorized individuals. Inquire if the system goes beyond usernames and passwords to include other multifactor authentication such as OTPs (one-time passwords) or biometrics. These protective measures ensure user security and data integrity.
Businesses can fill the void left by the discontinuation of Microsoft Streets and Trips by looking for trip planning software that guarantees field sales force productivity. Because new technologies abound and compete for your money and attention, it’s best to define the criteria you’ll use to search for reputable trip planning software.
There are several things business owners and managers need to consider when choosing the right routing program for their field sales agents. A user-friendly interface requires little to no onboarding and ensures efficient use for plotting appointments and outlining routes. Timely traffic and weather updates also optimize travel times, while additional features make client meetings successful.
Aside from automating routings and setting weekly appointments, the software should also have essential security features to protect customer and business data. Regular updates keep enhancing efficiency while IT support ensures immediate issue resolution. Lastly, the pricing determines if the trip planning software is a cost-effective tool that can address your sales team needs without breaking the bank.