Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Future of Mobile and Route Sales Applications for Smart Phones, Part 1

I can see multiple mobile applications and technologies converging rapidly to provide some very interesting scenarios for mobile and route sales people. Consider the following scenario.

A mobile sales person or route sales person is driving through an unfamiliar territory. She stops in a parking lot and activates an application on her Smart Phone that identifies her location and requests visibility into the location of all current and past customers, and any known sales prospects. Her application, using Google Maps provides a map with color coded "push pins" showing the exact locations of each. Tapping on any push pin identifies the street address, name, product and account history.

The mobile sales person only has 2 hours to spare, so selects a priority filter. The map updates and removes non-selected accounts. She then selects the option to have route optimization activated from her current location in the parking lot. She gets the optimal route provided to her. She then selects an option for account "Talking Points." This option queries the central office to identify all products the accounts have purchased in the past, (accounts are represented by the color coded push pins on the map) and any product updates, upgrades, warranties, trade-ins, discounts, account issues or complimentary products that she should mention on the visit. As she begins to drive, all of this information is described to her using the voice option. This allows her to safely drive to the next location while learning all about the account.

This kind of mobile Smart Phone and central server application would provide huge efficiencies for a mobile sales representative or route sales person. The central server application, using a CRM, business intelligence and business analytics with GPS, route optimization and LBS (location based services) technologies to make the life of the mobile sales person so much easier.

For SAP users you can see the value of using NetWeaver and the Data Orchestrator as the synchronization and integration engine.

The scenario described above is not rocket science. The technology exists in many different applications, but it is segmented. Adding business intelligence, mapping and GPS technologies to basic CRM functionality can be extremely powerful. If you add to that business analytics, product catalogs, marketing and promotional campaign data, then you have a system that can advise the mobile sales or route sales person as to what is likely to be most interesting to the client. Wrap all of this integrated technology and data into a mobile handheld or Smart Phone application and you can revolutionize route and mobile sales.

Again, if you are an SAP user you can see the role of NetWeaver, Data Orchestrator, Business Objects, CRM, etc.

The bottom line is to increase sales and reduce expenses through increased productivity that will generate more sales and higher profit margins.

Part 2 or this article series can be found here.

If you would like to discuss this topic in more detail please contact me.

Author Kevin Benedict
Independent Mobile Strategy, Sales and Marketing Consultant