Technology Trends 17 Mar 17 Rashmi Kapse

Organizations are increasingly building dependencies on technology today to run their businesses efficiently. Medium and Large scale organizations owe a large part of their success to the ever evolving technology that has streamlined sales processes, techniques and played a significant growth contributor.

Broadly, sales methods encompasses every element that helps in building a systematic selling mechanism. Most of the conventional methods delve deep into creating personal interaction between sellers and customers during the progression of the sales process. These methods outline possible interaction behaviors that salesmen must engage with their customers. It includes asking the right questions, careful objection handling, demonstrating competitive capability or learning about customer feedback. These standard methods are often termed as tactical that aims to follow the Probe, Prove and Close approach.

However, it is interesting to observe the impact of automation in sales processes that is not much about the method but tactics. While the fundamental skills of Probing, Proving and Closing does not suggest an alternative, it is important to realize the distinct stages of a sales cycle. It is essential since this responds to customer’s buying process and further tune them to technology. Aligning field sales automation clearly manages issues regarding attendance, seasonal buying factors and manual interventions that earlier affected a salesman’s daily productivity.

Use of Field Sales Automation in the Indian Retail industry

The use of SFA tools in the Indian retail industry is a relatively new concept. Owing to an extensive distribution set-up, it is interesting to study the adoption and advantages of technology in the supply chain within organizations. Owing to a large number of retailers that impact salesmen performance, various factors must be taken into account. Factors such as level of training and education also determine the adoption of new technology to run businesses. 

Research indicates that adoption of technology is an important factor in determining the SFA influence on business sales cycle. It also suggests that the newer and younger salespersons are willing to adopt field sales automation tools. In fact, a commonly asked question often directs toward the importance of necessary educational qualifications required to indicate salesmen willingness levels. Although, it cannot be denied completely in the Indian sub context, retail organizations employ sales people with varying educational degrees. It eventually determines specific SFA training modules to build application efficiency. Adoption of SFA by salesmen however, has been identified as the key determinant influencing the organizational success of SFA.

Over a period of time, SFA organizations have been trying to capture the perceptions and beliefs of salesmen towards the power of SFA app. Indian retail market operates on a standard format where salesmen make sale visits across a designated area and book orders. This technology pinpoints the manual challenges posed by this traditional format that affects their productivity. Hence, salesmen are explained the technology benefits helping them achieve their target while recording sales information at ease. Through extensive training workshops, SFA companies insist on improving SFA usage in daily business functions.

What Research studies indicates

A recent IBEF report indicates that the Indian retail market is expected to grow at 12% per annum, modern trade  at a faster rate of 20% and traditional trade at 10%. The estimates clearly suggest that India’s conventional retail model is here to stay and slated to grow on small retailers. The nature of the industry throws unique challenges and opportunities alike for stakeholders. The dual forces include companies engaging in traditional distribution and others that streamline sales process through technology.

Statistics also reveal that businesses without automation spend nearly 70% of their time in resource planning and time management. Selling require a number of intensive tasks such as scheduling appointments, making visit reports, follow-ups and updating business opportunities. This gives rise to a significant gap between productive action plans and non-productive tasks. SFA solutions exactly pitches in to bridge this gap by automating multiple tasks. In addition, it enables sales forces to focus on generating more sales and growing revenues.

As we venture in the digital space, we must recognize the almost-universal impact that technology will have on businesses. While technology will constantly improve, it is important to embrace advancements and foster organizational willingness to improve and excel.

Rashmi Kapse

Rashmi is a Content Specialist at FieldAssist. After spending 11 years in the Executive Search business she decided to change tracks and follow her passion for writing. For the past 8 years, she has been writing on Sales Tech, HR Tech, FMCG, Consumer Goods, F&B and Health & Wellness.

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