Field force automation is all about providing the right environment for your frontline workforce to collaborate efficiently, optimize their operations, and ensure high productivity.
Many organizations have several people deployed on the field on a regular basis. Managing this chunk of field workforce effectively while ensuring complete transparency can often become a challenge to warrant business continuity.
How does the organization ensure that this workforce is performing well? How do the stakeholders know if the field staff is able to capture the right data or not? How can sales heads ensure that the right numbers are being measured and reported at the right time? How do business stakeholders make sure that their customer satisfaction index is improving?
Automating field force management helps organizations gather more insights about all such aspects and while steering their field force to perform efficiently. With automation, many aspects of the field cycle can be simplified, leading to a better impact on overall productivity. Field automation ensures a real-time, robust, and comprehensive flow of information between the front end and back end teams.
According to a recent report by MarketsandMarkets, the size of the field force automation market is expected to grow to USD 2.8 billion by 2024, at a CAGR of 18.2%. Rising demand for robust solutions reflecting real-time efficiency and growing adoption of cloud-based enterprise mobility solutions are the key factors driving the field force automation market.
But not all companies, especially small and mid-size, are hesitant to adapt to the change. Many companies still have reservations about bringing in automation tools for their field force management, assuming it will make things more complicated. However, empowering the field force with automation can lead to several benefits. Most importantly, it provides relevant field data in real-time, reducing the lag in communication.
Here are some common myths associated with field force automation:
Myth: Automation is optional or not important
Fact: The way automation has entered everybody’s lives, there is simply no doing without it. Digitization has touched every aspect of our lives. Thanks to the mobile phone revolution and the proliferation of the Internet, online is the way for consumers – be it for shopping, paying bills, staying in touch with family and friends, consuming news, networking, or even entertaining themselves. Similarly, at the workspaces as well, digital transformation is not optional anymore. For organizations that are serious about increasing their revenues, boosting workforce productivity, optimizing inventory costs, reducing fleet utilization, increasing service utilization, and improving efficiencies, automation in field force management is no longer optional. Data is the new power, and automation gets organizations this data at a click.
Myth: Field force automation makes things complex
Fact: Several organizations still work around pen and paper. They assign tasks manually, keep calling their agents to check on the status, and need to be contacted to solve any urgent requests. Over a period, they get comfortable using the age-old processes.
However, with a field force automation, all this can be greatly simplified. All the time spent on repeated coordination between the field force and back-office teams can be saved. By bringing in automation, the field force is enabled with a mobile tool synced with the admin backend. So, any change requests made by the field team gets updated in real-time. All the concerned stakeholders get on the same page, can track daily tasks, capture important data at a click, and get updated reports at the end of the day, without actually meeting each other.
Overall, field force automation helps in simplifying the everyday routine of the field workforce and the overall process. In addition, advanced automation tools give business stakeholders a detailed analysis of their sales process, demand forecasts, and productivity metrics. Such real-time data can help them make quicker decisions that can positively impact the company’s bottom line. Of course, the team needs to be trained on using the automation solution, which may take some time. But considering the long-term benefits, it is an investment worth its while.
Myth: Deploying automation is expensive
Fact: This is one of the most common myths about field force automation. Companies need to realize they don’t always need to go with elaborate implementations. They can define a strategy to implement field force automation solutions in phases, thereby reducing the investments.
That apart, the benefits of automation just supersede the expenses that they incur for the same. Imagine all the lost hours spent on manual allocation, expense management, and tracking tasks. All this can be automated, which saves a lot of time and overheads. The field force can also save a lot of money spent on fuel and travel expenses if they can simply update their status on the mobile app that is synced with the CRM.
There are several readymade solutions like Kloudbeat, which can be implemented within a matter of few weeks based on the organization’s specific needs. Such a solution allows companies to pay only for actual users using the solution.
Myth: Automation needs an overhaul of the existing infrastructure
Fact: Many organizations often have this idea that getting a field force automation solution will involve the implementation of new systems and spending a lot of effort in training. However, acknowledging the need for a seamless experience, most of the field force automation solutions available today are actually very easy to integrate within the organizations’ existing IT environments. Organizations don’t need to waste time or spend a fortune to revamp their existing systems to bring in a new automation solution. It is recommended that organizations evaluate the field force automation solutions from the perspective of ease of use and integration.
Contrary to the belief that field force automation is a waste of time, organizations need to start thinking about how soon they can get on the automation bus. Not only does automation significantly deliver high RoI, but it also helps in streamlining unorganized processes and brings in great transparency into the entire field force function.
In fact, modern automation solutions come with advanced data capabilities that help in visualizing patterns and recommendations, which empower the right decision-making.
If you are ready to experience transformation action in the field, start with automation now!