Many of the cable industry leading MSOs make use of sales force automation (SFA) tools. However, for most MSOs, SFA is only being used as a glorified route generator that is actually preventing the direct sales representative (DSR) from spending more time knocking on doors and making additional sales.
Route Generator or Sales Generator
There is no question that one of the key advantages of SFA is the ability to generate routes for DSRs based on a variety of parameters. As a result, virtually all SFA tools make route generation a key component. Route generation is great for managers but when used alone it doesn’t create more time for DSRs to increase the number of sales calls that can be made.
The idea behind better SFA tools is that more door-to-door cable salescan be made if the DSR spends less time performing administrative tasks, waiting on hold or digging through paperwork trying to remember what marketing campaign is available for the day.
Advantages of Submitting Sales Online
In order to get DSRs to make more calls, their time cannot be wasted going to or calling the back office or even waiting for responses and approvals. Better SFA tools include the ability to submit sales online, perform on-demand credit inquiries, print thermal receipts and track the progress of a sale all without having to call anyone.
Of all the tools available in good SFA software the ability to submit sales online is the most important. The more time DSRs spend in the field the more sales calls they can make. Submitting sales online also has the following significant advantages:
- The freeing of time previously used by calling the back office for approvals and information. Result is more sales calls can be made.
- DSRs no longer need to travel to office for routes, dropping off paperwork, filling out sales forms. Result is more sales calls can be made.
- Fewer transcription errors that always occur when information is relayed verbally. Result is less rework such as going back to the client for additional information.
- DSRs can print thermal receipts at the subscriber’s site eliminating manual forms and the time required to complete them. This saves cable MSOs significant paper costs and helps toward a greener image.
- Subscriber satisfaction increases as wait times are drastically reduced. Every minute waiting is another minute for the subscriber to change their mind.
- The DSR and MSO have a more professional image. For example, if a DSR has to wait 10 minutes on hold for approvals, the customer is going to wonder how long they will have to wait when they have a problem. *
* Cable MSOs must have the back office support regardless of whether sales are submitted manually or online. Submitting online speeds up the back office function as well as field operations.
Why Isn’t Your Sales Staff Using SFA?
If the number one goal of a Cable SFA is to increase sales and not to make route generation easier for management, then it makes good business sense to mandate DSRs to submit sales online.
Cable MSOs have two choices. The choice is continue with slow moving manual sales submissions or to require the move into the automated cable sales process age to remain competitive.