Innovation in technology space is a never-ending phenomenon and same stands true for Sales Force Automation solutions as well. As an organization which has already implemented an SFA solution (or as an organization which is planning to do it very soon), you would definitely want your SFA partner to keep on innovating and releasing new features which would make life simpler and easier for the SFA users, be it your field team or your management team. While there are endless possibilities of innovation in any SFA solution, something which is particularly helpful for end-users are map-based features. With the advancement of technology and availability of paid-APIs from Google, it is not very difficult for any SFA solution provider to implement useful map-based features. Let us list down some of those features which you should check in your current or prospective SFA solution and get them implemented soon:
Beat Design: One of the most important aspect of field team operations is Beat Design. An effective beat plan can contribute immensely towards meeting your overall business goals. With the help of map-based beat design in SFA solution, all the outlets can be plotted on Google map and can be color coded basis category of outlets for users to quickly identify. Now, by simply selecting an area of the map a user can create efficient beats even if he doesn’t have much knowledge about specific areas.
Route Optimization: SFA app’s utility should not be limited to informing the field app user which beat he needs to cover today. What if the app can also suggest him the most optimum route that he should take for the day basis his start location, all outlets he needs to visit and end location? With distance between every point available through Google APIs and advanced statistical algorithm to optimize the distance, the SFA app should be able to predict the optimum route once should take. This helps immensely in reducing travel time and thus increasing time spent with the retailer or account.
Search near by Outlets: Many a times, your field team is assigned the task of increasing universe / coverage you are currently catering to. It becomes very tedious for the field person to search for relevant outlets as either he needs to rely on his knowledge about the area or on some personal contact. A feature in the app to search for relevant outlets on a real-time basis and displaying the result on google map will be extremely helpful in increasing the universe.
Fetching Details from Google: SFA app users may have to enter a lot of details about a new / potential outlet in his app. Many of these details can be auto-populated simply by calling Google APIs. For example, basic details as address, city, state, PIN code etc. can be returned by Google as it already has almost entire universe plotted on the map. So why not help in improving your field team’s productivity by introducing this feature in the SFA app?
Map-based Reports on the App: For quick identification of outlets to be focused, a map-based report would be a great tool. If your SFA app can throw a map display of outlets with color coding basis outlet performance against certain parameters, it will enable your field team to take quick decision on discussion points when he visits those outlets.
Distance Travelled by Field Team: As geo-tagging of each and every visit is already being captured by the SFA app, if your SFA solution can use some Google APIs effectively, it can also calculate approximate distance travelled by each field employee on a daily basis. This will not only be helpful during claim submission and verification process but can also be used to find out field employees who are not travelling enough or travelling more than optimal.
Map-based Reports on the Web: Innovation in mapping technology can be useful not just for field employees, but for your management team as well. A heat map showing activity trends across the country will be particularly useful for top management to ask right set of questions to the regional heads or area heads. Similarly, if business insights (such as sales, coverage, target achievement etc.) can be plotted on google map with color coding, it will enable management to take important decisions without spending much time.