Having time to kill before speaking at a sales management conference, I ducked into a Starbucks for a “grande, half-caf latté with a twist.” (Hey, I am an experienced coffee drinker) Heading toward a table, I noticed a man using the same tablet PC I had just gotten, so I struck up a conversation.
He told me he was a sales rep for a high tech products company, on the road 60 percent of the time, so Starbucks had become his branch office. I mentioned that it was a great place to take a break, and he corrected me: “No, it’s a great place to work!” Then he proceeded to tell me why.
He asked if I knew that my PC had a built in wireless card, which I did. He then offered to show me how he used his to maximize his personal work effectiveness.
I noticed that he had Salesforce.com open on his PC and asked what he thought about CRM systems. He told me that, before he got his new PC a few months ago, he rarely used them. He explained that the previous generation of CRM applications his company used was client-server based, which meant he had to be an attached user to gain access to the programs.
If he was in the office or in his hotel room, he could get access to information, so he could plan his day and follow up on things at the end of the day. But CRM was essentially useless to him during the day, when he was out making calls.
Free at last
Now, with an ASP CRM solution, his PC with wireless connection and a $30 a month fee to access T-Mobile wireless networks available in all the “branch offices” he used (Starbucks), CRM now had a whole new level of usefulness for him.
Right before making a call, he can review all the information in the CRM system about that prospect or customer. In addition, through Internet access to the OneSource Business Browser his company subscribed to, he can also get the latest business and financial news on these accounts.
To plan his strategy for the upcoming call, he also can access the online sales information bulletin board his company started and check out best practices his fellow reps are using to address objections, create interest and effectively position themselves against the competition.
Where, previously, his PC would have sat in its case in the trunk of his car until he checked into a hotel at night, it now was a tool he actively used all day. It had become such a big part of how he planned for, and executed sales calls, that he was putting together a business case for his manager to cost-justify installing a wireless PC modem in the unit, so he could access all this information when sitting in the parking lot of a client’s building.
Our most recent
sales effectiveness study at CSO Insights noted that end-user adoption of CRM technology is still a key issue. Based on a survey of one, a solution to this challenge could be as simple as making the systems available to sales reps when they take a coffee break, so they can access knowledge when they are out of the office as easily as when they are in it.
© 2005 CSO Insights