With so much of business done on the go and salespeople living and working across the globe, it’s only natural that the future of sales management technology lies in most people’s pockets or purses.
There are a wide variety of mobile applications to show what is going on through the supply chain that can be run through mobile business intelligence apps, said Kevin Benedict, an analyst, blogger, consultant and SAP Mentor volunteer in Boise, Idaho.
“Once the products are in production, you have the ability to feed tracking information to clients,” he said.
GPS is also coming to the forefront of order management, Benedict said. Based on data that has been put into the system post-sale, someone in sales or delivery can prepare a customer profile and download it while driving toward the customer’s location.
It has also eliminated the need for delivery personnel to get a signature, since GPS and proof of delivery apps can time-stamp an order. When a signature is requested, it can be seen immediately.
“It’s associated with the database record and synced back to headquarters,” he said. “Within seconds of delivering the package, a customer can go in and see who signed the portal, the date and time and GPS of the signature.”
Most of the mobile technology has been focused on smartphones, but one brand-new area for mobile sales management technology is tablets like the iPad and Motorola Xoom. They are easily portable and less bulky than laptops, but have a larger screen than a phone, allowing more data to be displayed.
“Everybody is looking at tablets today, and they’re looking at tablets because they really open up a new market,” Benedict said.
Sales management software is also tapping into social media as a way to do business.
SAP’s competitor in the CRM market, Salesforce.com, has launched Chatter, a collaboration tool that gives users a secure, personal social network on which they can share confidential data, compile groups and follow others. It is useful after the order is completed, so everyone is in the loop as to how the sale ended up.
SAP has also released a collaboration tool, called Streamwork, that it has begun integrating with SAP CRM, product lifecycle management and governance risk and compliance.
“It gives you the ability, basically, to have a social group of individuals all talk about the same sales account so that everybody who is touching that account can collaborate more closely,” Benedict said.
For example, a salesperson on a soap account can talk to people in customer service, advertising, a sales manager and an engineer and add them to a group.
“All the conversations in that group would be shared with everybody who is added and work together,” Benedict said. “It sounds simple, but people haven’t done that before.”