August 29, 2013/Derek Choy/Field Sales

Convincing someone to adopt something new is never easy. Now imagine you are trying to get field sales reps to use software that guides them to act in accordance with headquarter-driven priorities. Impossible? Here at Aktana, we believe we have cracked the code to engaging a field sales team. We find that reps using Aktana’s Smart Suggestions not only embrace our decision support solution, but they are also more strategic, more efficient, and more reliable than their counterparts.

What’s the secret? By working with real sales reps in the field, we have developed some simple but powerful tenets that drive how we design our rep-facing software.

  • The Power of Choice – No rep wants to be told what to do. But the best reps appreciate well-grounded ideas and insights for their consideration. When Aktana recommends sales actions to reps, we are clear that we are only making suggestions. After reviewing the reasons why a suggestion is made, we want reps to decide what to do. We find they make the right decision when informed with the right information
  • Keeping It Simple – Information is most powerful when it is kept simple. Sales reps in particular only have so much patience for considering data before they feel it gets in the way of their taking action. When Aktana makes suggestions to reps, they go to a single place to find them. Each suggestion simply recommends what to do, and why. And the reasons are limited to only a short list of the most relevant information. It’s that easy.
  • Push, Don’t Make Them Pull – Even the best information can be easily ignored. Sales reps are busy doing their jobs, so if you don’t serve information right up to them, most are not going to go find it themselves. Aktana suggestions are delivered to reps at the exact time when they could use them, as part of their existing workflow and integrated with existing tools.
  • Give First, Then Take – Sales reps are practical. They won’t invest the effort unless the benefit is tangible. Too many decision support tools require too much setup and data entry before users receive a benefit. Aktana suggestions start by delivering benefits upfront. With just  simple strategy and CRM data, we can remind reps whom to visit and how long it has been since the last visit. Later, when reps begin to adopt and see the value of the tool, we ask for reps to help themselves, to make suggestions smarter. As reps enter more accurate and more robust data, we make better suggestions, and as reps provide feedback on what works and what doesn’t the suggestions improve even more.