Real Time Field Data Collection : 7 Steps to implement in your organization

By | 2018-03-21T06:22:30+00:00 September 16th, 2016|Blogs|

Many wars have been won by having field information ahead of competition

In business, like in war, real time information is power. You can win if you have the right tools to gather and harness field information.

Mobile devices and the flexible apps  help you to collect information in real time from your distributed field sales team. No more Email, SMS, Excel sheets, Reminders etc. Save the time you spent on data collation.

The sales person whips up the smartphone and sends the mission critical information back to the corporate office. The corporate office can set formats, review all the data and be ready for the next tactic, next day!

Attendance, Sales, Inventory, Merchandising, C-Sat, Customer Meetings, Customer Feedback, Competition updates and all the data do not need to travel through many mail boxes before it hits the national view. You get it all in real time.

Getting Real Time Data = Competitive Advantage!

Data collection requires a cultural change – both on the side of the field personnel sending the data and on the side of the manager reviewing the data!



 Identify and prioritise

Identify all the data that can be collected from the field. The team will get ambitious about many different data types – the list can be endless. Do not be tempted to have an endless list of reports to be sent. Prioritise the top 3-4 data that need to be collected for the initial launch

Deploy a mobile framework

mobileframeworkThe framework should let you define formats – capture SKU Information, Customer details, Sales figures, GPS locations, photos, voice and the like. And the ability to add/change formats as required. This should work on Android/ iOS mobile devices.


Define data display formats

datadisplayHow do you want the final dashboards to look like? You need to have a good view – as this is doing to drive insight and action. Having a view of the final reports you require will help you to define the data to be collected. Keep it simple to start off with, build complexity along the way.

Launch Pilots

launch pilotsPilot launch in about 15% of the final user base – smaller pilots will be very controlled and will not highlight the key issues. Select one team that you believe will be supportive of the initiative and another you believe that will not be. Both the teams will teach you a few aspects, that will help you in the final implementation. Write down the learnings.


Scale & Visibility

scale and visibilityFactor in the learning from the pilots and have an organisational launch. Give a good name to the project for instant recollection. Have leaders to talk about how important the project it. Build visibility. Incorporate the data from the project in the weekly review reports.

Track Quarter 1 usage

track q1 usageDrive for 100% usage – do not allow exceptions. Call out people who are not using the system, escalate to their managers. Provide usage and tech help as required. The target is to declare a day when everyone is on board. Celebrate the day with a mailer to the team congratulating them. Highlight the benefit of using the system, in quantifiable terms [We get 97% accurate data, we get the data 7 days in advance, we save 20 hours on data compilation efforts, no there are no more followups etc.]


Sustain & Add Reports

sustain and scaleSustain the program – have a hawk’s eye on the engagement percentages. Add more reports as you go along. Incorporate the reports from this system into your cadence calls. Set up a monthly call with the team to address any of the issues. Look at integrating the data into other organisational systems.

Having a robust mobile data collection process fosters agility and collaboration. This will have an immediate impact on the business responsiveness.

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Sales enablement through mobile devices: 4 key practices that work!

By | 2018-03-14T06:58:54+00:00 April 28th, 2016|Blogs|

Sales teams ensure a constant buzz of activity

sales blog

It is either a weekend or a month end or a quarter end. Pressures build up.

In the pressure of execution, good communication practices between the corporate office and the field break down. The decisions are conveyed but the rationale is not. The features are conveyed but the benefit is not. The numbers are conveyed, but underlying reasons are not.

In the pressure of execution, the trends remain unseen, until it is too late.

Sales Enablement jumps in to bridge the gap between the corporate office and the field sales team.


And this needs to happen on a daily, sustainable basis. Of course, you can read Sales Enablement Guru Bob Apollo’s Inflexion Point article: Sales Enablement: The essential between B2B marketing and sales

It is not a one off training program. It is not a hard drive with all the videos loaded. It is not a fancy app and a buzzword for the annual sales kick off. It cannot seen to be as a “good to have” program – it needs to be internalized as a “must have” program. Inflexion Point’s Bob Apollo has gone into great details about “Must do” and “Need to do” paradigms.

Sustainability, consistency, rhythm, measurability, familiarity – they are the hallmarks of Sales Enablement programs that provide the “bang for the buck”. Better get the corner office bought in.

We have rolled out programs for customers across a slew of segments – Healthcare, Medical Instruments, Consumer Electronics, Enterprise Sales, Accessories, Publishing and Cosmetics. Here are the best practices around sales enablement based on our engagements.

Mobility is the greatest new driver

An affordable, connected mobile device is the greatest thing that happened to the average sales person, in many many years. Probably since the day the first sales person decided to carry the “sales person bag with leave behind literature ” was handed to them. The ability to communicate to the sales person ever on the go and provide them with a cost effective “computing device” is a force multiplier.

And remember, they are sales persons all!

Remember, the entire organisation right upto the CEO are sales personnel – when we talk about “Sales Enablement” we just do not talk about the front end sales personnel.

• For the front end sales personnel, getting the latest promo details and training is enablement.
• For the product manager in the corporate office (who is still measured on, what else, sales), getting field pricing trends on a daily basis is “sales enablement”.
• For the CEO, getting the “sentiment” of the market for HR actions is “sales enablement”.

N-way Highway: So, sales enablement is n-way highway. Information needs to move seamlessly across the organisational hierarchy. It could be quantitative stuff (product features, feedback, customer feedback) or qualitative stuff (number of retail stores merchandised for the new product launch).

The four pillars

The Sales Gods in the organisations we have interacted have classified Sales Enablement along the following areas -

#1. mLearning
#2. Product Detailing during customer interaction
#3. Sales Reporting for rapid decision making
#4. Driving field Sentiments and Motivation

# 1: mLearning

Before we get into the dimensions of mLearning, let us get some basics out of our way.

    • It is no substitute to F2F learning that might happen on periodical (quarterly?) basis
    • We have seen mLearning working both of Product Training and Skills training
    • You should assume daily connectivity to the Internet from the sales person. Customers ask what will be the Internet cost of running a good program in Emerging markets – our experience is, in a market like India, the cost of connectivity will be about $4 per user per month.

    • While connectivity exists, there is no assurance on the health of the connectivity – the system hence needs to handle content offline.
    • Security is paramount: On a later blog, we will write about the security aspects of Sales Enablement programs.
    • Like YouTube, the offline capabilities of your mLearning platform is key for success in emerging markets.

Dimensions of mLearning

  • Structured: Formal learning and assessments: The system could deliver weekly burst trainings (6-8 minute summaries) and monthly assessments through a formal training module.
  • Reference Learning: Provide product brochures, videos, collateral as battle cards. Let sales persons refer to the battle cards on a daily basis.
  • Social Learning: The system should let you to learn from a “Product Guru” or your Manager. A few ideas here that have worked in different situations :
    • Discussion, Chat framework with the team members, Product Experts, Senior Management
    • Product FAQs
    • Demo contest: Review ideal demo and participate in a demo contest – get users to rate the best demo
    • Simulation for questioning skills: Simulate an actual customer situation and let the sales person ask the right questions.
  • Gamified: Build in rewards and recognition in the program to increase engagement. More about it when we discuss “Field Sentiments and Motivation” – the fourth pillar.

mLearning Idea Box

In '15, one of our customers ran a program: “Advantage Certification”. The Country Manager was shown with the mLearning certificate. The message said: “I am certified. Are you?.” The manager lead by example. It inspired field action.

# 2: Product detailing with customers

Companies make wonderful, meaningful videos about the products – how can customers review them at the point of purchase? Through the mobile device of the sales person.

This is applicable in scenarios like: 1. Healthcare selling by medical reps 2. Financial products selling 3. Selling in the publication industry where there are a lot of SKUs 4. In some retail selling scenarios where the Retail Rep is allowed to carry a device on the floor (some Retailers prohibit it).

Business people working as a team at the office

Here are the top thoughts on the various aspects

  • Provide product details, talk tracks, competitive handling tips, product play books, customer questioning tips through the system
  • Provide videos, brochures and interactive demos
  • Allow easy navigation between the sections during the conversation so that the sales person can move between different products
  • Capture analytics:
    • It could be just usage analytics – how many instances a given video was shown or
    • It could be customer linked analytics: Register the customer details and the collaterals they reviewed.
  • Enable Cross Selling: Here the success of the organisation is linked to cross-ownership of products. The system should automatically recommend products to be pitched based on the existing 1. Customer profile 2. Product ownership.

eDetailing Idea Box

The sales head of a large Healthcare company observed: “With advent of video, customers have lost the appetite to review PDF brochures. Convert your brochures into videos or interactive kits. That will make more attractive for customer consumption."

Your Content Goes Here

# 3: Sales Data Capture

From a conventional view point, Sales Data Capture is not included as Sales Enablement. That is a pre-mobile view. These are the reasons I believe that “Sales Data Capture” is an essential part of sales enablement:

  • Enabling the Enablers: The Product Manager or the National Sales Manager is as much a sales person than any one else. How do you enable them for being more effective in their jobs? By providing data to take critical decisions.
  • During action vs. Post mortem: Most sales reporting happens in the end of the period – week, month, quarter – when it is too late to act. So, all enablement is either an “intelligent guess work” or “post facto” actions. How do you make it live action?
  • How many apps? Do you want separate apps for sales enablement and data capture? That is a overhead cost for you and friction for your sales team. Build one consolidated platform.

Woman in a data center holding shopping bags and looking at a drawing with a shopping cart into a cloud

What data can we capture?

  • SKU wise sales, inventory in retail outlets (non-company owned)
  • Daily customer meetings, details
  • Samples, Sample tracking
  • Customer feedback in retail outlets
  • Merchandising deployment for new products
  • Competitive program and pricing information
  • Field hygiene issues like: Attendance, Grooming, Personal Journey Plan

Careful validation of data for errors, mis-representation is required to ensure clear analysis. The system should support reliable, secure data submissions.

The data can be dash-boarded using software like Microsoft PowerBI for deeper analysis at low efforts and cost.

Data Capture Idea Box

The Retail Marketing head of a large CE company observed: “We need a "retail store operations tablet" - daily operational checklist can be loaded onto it. Tasks like Merchandising Deployment can be tracked on daily basis - today we get the report by the end of the month.

# 4: Field Sentiments & Motivation

Having the field in a “good disposition” about the product and the prospects is a critical part of sales success. So, capturing Field Sentiments and providing Motivation needs to be pre-build in any sustainable mobile Sales Enablement program.

What are the “Field Sentiments” we can capture?

• What do they think of the newest program?
• What is their opinion about the competitor’s program
• What do they think is the best action that can be initiated by the company
• How can we up sell from N to N+1

Here instead of getting quantitative information, we get qualitative information. Then the information can be processed as:

• Bunch them up in 5-7 categories and bucket them
• Remove all the “usual words” and put it as part of a word cloud

By capturing the “opinion” of the field, (rather than just data), companies get deeper insights into problems that the data themselves do not suggest. For example:

  • With data you will know that the sales is going down in your entry level laptops in specific market segments
  • But with only data, you will NOT KNOW that the sales is going down due to lack of colors in that particular range, and a competitors color offering is playing strong with that sub-segments (say Students).

Building in tools for motivation

The tools need to be part of the application itself. Some of the features you could incorporate are:

  • A flexible points system for learning: Answer quiz correctly and get points
  • A tier system: Define tiers like Silver, Gold, Platinum – people get segmented across levels by getting points.
  • Badges/Certificates: Complete a set of courses to get a certificate and a badge. The badge will be mentioned in your profile.
  • A leaderboard: Where the top members of the league are highlighted and mentioned.
  • A clear dashboard: On points, levels, trainings actions required etc.

More than the tools in the system, what matters is the “recognition system” that is put in place in the real world – outside the app environment. To succeed, the data from this system needs to be:

  • Reviewed in weekly meetings and have executive attention
  • Be used in organizational events, discussions, reviews, promotion discussions as it is linked to the learning and development of the sales person
  • An awards system put in place to claim gifts from the points earned
  • Sensitised with the field level managers that this is an organisational priority. If they send a wrong message on the usage of the sales enablement platform, the front end sales people will never adopt.


Mobile technology is the best thing that happened to the sales force since the day the “bag with sales collateral” was handed over to the first sales person. It provides computing and communication at the “arms reach of desire”.

Sales enablement requires a two way communication process – of both quantitative and qualitative parameters.

By harnessing this, companies can revolutionize sales enablement in their organization by offering value along these four dimensions:

  • mLearning
  • Customer Detailing
  • Field Data Capture
  • Field Sentiments & Motivation

Its a long post. Thanks for being with the blog, all along. We are eager to hear your comments – please take a few moments to share your thoughts in the comment box below.

Bsharp helps companies to inform, train, assess, equip, hear from and motivate the sales team.
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Borrow 960 Eyes: Track your retail launch to success

By | 2018-03-12T11:17:55+00:00 March 24th, 2016|Blogs|

Borrow 960 eyes: Track your retail launch to success

Its D Day minus 7. Your latest product is about to be launched. The marketing campaign is going live shortly. But, are your 960 stores across the country ready?

You wish you could visit all the stores to have a look.

Have all the t’s been crossed and i’s been dotted? What is the overall launch readiness? You need real time status.

You call the merchandiser. You call the training team. You call the field sales manager. You call the in-store personnel. You coordinate the times and set up a call. You send excel formats to update. You escalate when required. You send. You follow-up. You collate. You update. You…

Can you save all the effort, the hours and just get the status across the 960 stores? Can you borrow 960 eyes to just have a dekko of the stores?

It takes a lot of coordination to get the full picture.

Is there a easy way for all the stake holders to report back on their functions to a central database? You need the reports to be flexible, in a rapidly changing situation. You need to get real time launch status.

How about using the smartphone of the field representative to get this information? Then how about seeing all the data in one dashboard? BsharpCorp does just that.

BsharpCorp allows you set up the format for reporting – by the field representative’s function. So, the merchandisers will give you merch information, while the trainers will talk to you about training.

You can ask the field personnel to send reports by customer, with details, photographs, GPS locations, time stamps and even voice. All filled in through their smart phones. You can go live instantly. You can get all the data in a backend dashboard for analysis.

Staying in sync with your team is important for your launch success. BsharpCorp can be your eye in the market place. You can literally borrow an eye (the phone’s camera may be:)) for each of your 960 stores.

BsharpCorp: Collect field data through smartphones!


What do you need to be on top of the market information?

1. You need to be able to define the formats of the reports. Deploy it to the different groups of field personnel. Make it easy for them to respond to the formats (using smartphones). Have the ability to review the details submitted. It will be great if you can capture information like customer names, images, GPS locations, voice etc. for richer analysis.

Bsharp Corp: Collect information from a distributed field team

2. BsharpCorp allows you to go live with this immediately. Set up your account, invite your field reps and set up reporting formats. They will get reminders. You will get the data.

3. You will get the summary of the data captured across the market in a neat dashboard. You can even download it as an Excel sheet for further analysis.

Test drive Bsharp Corp with your team now. Bsharp Corp. Field sales reporting through a mobile devices.

Bsharp Corp consists of a web platform (used by the Business Owner) and a mobile app (used by the field personnel).

Bsharp: Real time field reports through mobile devices


The Bsharp Web Platform: This allows the business owner to:

  • Securely invite the field sales personnel to link the Bsharp App to the platform
  • Set up formats for them to report on
  • Set up alerts for periodical reports
  • Review the reports from the field team in a single dashboard and download for further analysis

It saves hours of effort it takes to coordinate the data from different sources. It helps to get real time information.

The Bsharp Mobile App: This allows the field team to:

  • Provide all the information through a single tool, right from their mobile phone
  • Avoid manual processes in reporting
  • Avoid unstructured channels like IM, Text, Excel sheets
  • Escalate things on a real time basis

Bsharp App takes the pain out of reporting. It saves a lot of backend reporting effort, allowing you to do much more.

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