Hiring a field sales team is a great way to build relationships with customers and prospects while expanding your customer base. It’s an important part of any sales strategy and can help you reach more people and increase your profits.
But what is field sales exactly, and how does it work? Let’s take a closer look at what field sales representatives do and how you can use field sales to grow your business.
- Field sales involves interacting with customers in person to build and nurture relationships and close deals faster.
- Field sales representatives’ tasks include meeting clients, preparing presentations, tracking leads, and using CRM and project management software like Salesforce, Asana, and Basecamp for collaboration.
- Setting goals, creating training resources, and adopting the right technologies can help companies enhance their field sales process.
- Field sales managers must oversee remote reps while ensuring they’re performing up to standards and taking the initiative on new accounts when needed, all while offering motivation.
- Utilizing CRM software and intelligent technologies like AI or machine learning can help field sales teams succeed and reach their goals faster.
- The Definition of Field Sales
- Field Sales vs. Inside Sales: Key Differences
- What Do Field Sales Representatives Do?
- How to Define Your Field Sales Process
- Benefits of Field Sales
- Struggles That Sales Field Managers Face
- How to Create a Field Sales Strategy
- Best Software and Tools for Your Field Sales Force
The Definition of Field Sales
Also known as outside sales, field sales is a type of sales strategy that involves sales representatives interacting directly with customers in person.
Face-to-face interaction helps you form stronger relationships with your target customer base and establish better communication. Field sales also enables faster negotiation and closing rates to improve your company’s bottom line.
Field Sales vs. Inside Sales: Key Differences
Another term you might have heard is inside sales. Inside sales is not the same as field sales, and it’s important to understand their differences. A field sales rep contacts prospective customers in person, while inside sales is focused on selling products or services over the phone, email, or via online chat tools.
Inside sales reps may never have face-to-face customer interactions, relying solely on technology for customer engagement and support. In comparison, field sales reps interact with customers in person the majority of the time, but will use technology to record interactions, responses, leads, sales, and more.
What Do Field Sales Representatives Do?
Field sales representative responsibilities include marketing and selling products or services to customers in person. This may include B2B sales, onboarding new clients, demonstrations, and maintaining a rapport with existing account holders.
To ensure high customer retention, your field reps need to know what types of customers they’ll be dealing with, the level of customer service they’ll be providing, and what type of lead capture process needs to happen within their team.
It is also essential for field sales representatives to be well-informed about their products and services. Let’s take a more in-depth look at the main tasks involved in field sales.
Meet Customers in Person
The main goal of field sales is to meet potential customers in person. Meeting face-to-face helps build trust, credibility, and customer relationships that may be harder to develop through emails or phone calls.
As such, field sales representatives need to come across as credible, personable, and knowledgeable in order to persuade customers of their offerings.
Prepare and Deliver Sales Presentations
Before meeting customers in person, a field sales representative needs to prepare a tailored sales presentation. This presentation needs to be effective at conveying its message while also being adequately informative and persuasive. Sales presentations not only involve product and service discussions but can also involve live demonstrations or digital presentations.
Track and Manage Leads
To retain customers and drive sales leads, a field sales representative needs to keep track of their relationships and continue to nurture them over time. This can be done by tracking customer information, such as contact details, past purchases, and lead status. Having an accurate view of consumer trends and preferences allows field reps to anticipate future demands made by consumers and strategize accordingly.
Use CRM Solutions to Track Customer Relationships
Customer relationship management (CRM) is software that helps organizations track customer interactions over time. It’s an invaluable tool used by field sales reps to boost retention of existing customers, segment markets, and monitor progress within the sales team.
In addition to keeping relevant information on hand, CRMs can also play a role in helping prospects understand business offerings more clearly, and enable a field sales representative to easily tailor a pitch to a customer’s needs.
Oversee Tasks Through Management and Collaboration Apps
In addition to tracking customer relationships, it’s equally important for field sales reps to automate and delegate tasks properly. To streamline the process, they should use task management and collaboration apps like Asana or Slack integrations to help manage projects effectively. Team members can use these tools to collaborate in real-time across multiple platforms and stay up-to-date on mutual tasks.
How to Define Your Field Sales Process
Having a well-defined sales process is key for enhancing operational efficiency and turning potential leads into customers. Creating your process involves developing clear steps that outline the actions reps should take with each customer.
From mapping out your company’s target market to designing an effective lead generation system, developing a solid plan of action can make or break your field strategies. Your unique process should include information on how your team will contact potential leads initially, what tools they will use when they make a presentation, how they will handle customer objections, and sales follow-up processes.
Mapping out your entire sales journey in advance gives your team more cohesion and lets everyone know what to expect. If you’re developing a process for your field sales team, it’s a good idea to start by gathering information. Ask your representatives what is and isn’t working. As you build your plan, focus on labeling the essential steps in sequential order. It’s smart to create a simple graphic that can be easily shared and viewed across multiple platforms.
Benefits of Field Sales
Having a field sales force is incredibly valuable, as it allows you to establish trust, build customer relationships, and close deals faster. Below, we’ve outlined additional benefits of hiring a field sales team.
Allows You to Sell More
A field sales representative can be extremely effective at selling products and services to customers. As opposed to other channels, face-to-face interactions enable field reps to get immediate feedback regarding customer preferences or pain points that might not have been revealed when speaking via email or phone.
With this information, they can quickly pivot their strategies according to what works best for the customer. It’s also easier to up-sell when meeting with a client in person, and discover new needs that could be addressed.
Makes a Bigger Impact on Customers
Another benefit of field sales is that it allows companies to make a strong, lasting impression on their target customers with in-person presentations, demonstrations, and interactive product displays. These techniques can be more interactive and memorable than over-the-phone or online sales tactics.
A field sales representative is also able to explain the advantages of products more fluently in person, which helps prospects understand offerings better. Field sales efforts are also significantly more personalized. Field reps develop and nurture close relationships with their customer base, and can deliver sales pitches well-tailored to each client.
Allows You to Handle Complex Sale Cycles With Ease
Many products are complex in nature and therefore require more extensive interactions with customers to ensure their needs are properly met. A field sales representative can quickly identify customer pain points, directly negotiate terms, and suggest solutions without having to wait for feedback over email or phone.
In some industries, sales presentations must be performed in person to allow for product demonstrations and more in-depth conversations. For example, medical devices, software, and many types of B2B sales typically require in-person communication to explain products, set them up, answer questions, and create customer-specific solutions.
Struggles That Sales Field Managers Face
Managers of field sales teams face a few unique challenges. First of all, they need to communicate and handle tasks remotely. This can make duties like performance tracking more difficult. Field sales managers need to be sure their team is following their schedules, getting to client meetings on time in their sales territory, and succeeding at other performance goals.
It can also be challenging to keep your team motivated without direct supervision and to work around issues like time zone differences. Additionally, field sales managers need to understand their reps’ customer history and sales specialty to ensure they’re assigning the most appropriate employee to each meeting.
Managing your representatives well by ensuring they have all the necessary knowledge and tools is essential for building the most effective field sales team.
How to Create a Field Sales Strategy
Your sales and marketing teams must first set goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) and determine customer demographics to build an effective field sales strategy. Adopting sales-specific technology for data reporting and lead tracking is also important.
You should also consider budgeting for employee expenses such as travel, training, accommodations, and rewards programs. Another essential step is to consider your training resources and improve the tools you offer your sales reps. Putting together a well-rounded team of motivated reps with strong product knowledge is essential for driving success.
Best Software and Tools for Your Field Sales Force
Fortunately, there are some great tools out there to help with the field sales process. Technology, such as CRM software and task management systems, can give your team more insight into your customers, data tracking, and better organization for meetings and negotiations, along with easily accessible records of past purchases or attempts at new products or services.
Additionally, intelligent technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning can be used to optimize tasks your field sales representative may inevitably repeat throughout their different accounts and interactions.
The most popular tools and software used by field reps include Salesforce, Pipedrive, and HubSpot Sales. These tools help field reps manage their contacts, sales opportunities, and calendars. They also provide insights into customer behavior and trends. Asana, Trello, and Basecamp help managers keep track of tasks, deadlines, and communication between team members. They also provide insights into team performance and individual reps’ progress.
So, what is field sales? It’s a great way to build customer relationships and close deals by sending a rep to visit their sales territory in person. With the right strategies and tools in place, you can position your company to be more successful in your field sales journey.
It’s important to understand how field reps work and to outline what they will face while meeting customers, including potential challenges and any presentations, demonstrations, and training they will need to perform. You’ll also want to ensure you and your field sales force stay current on target market trends, technology, and sales tactics.
By equipping your team with the right tools, training resources, and smart tech solutions, such as AI or CRMs, you will set yourself up for success with your field sales strategy.