Small businesses with sales staff face unique challenges. Chief among them are finding good, manageable, understandable software applications that allow management and sales staff to keep abreast of the success of the sales unit.
While it is true that there are some excellent options in management software out there, the bulk of them are just not geared to the small business sales force. So what should you be looking for when hunting for small business sales reporting software?
The Sales Reporting Software Small Businesses Really Need
When you talk to small business owners, a few things quickly become clear in terms of what they need their sales management software to do.
- They need it to be affordable. Number one in small business – you can’t afford to pay for something you don’t need. (Mobile apps are much less expensive than desktop-based software. Options range from free… things like the more basic Sales Tracking Calendar to multi-function apps like IHateCallReports for under $10).
- They need it to do the job. Number two, you need programs to do what they say they do, and nothing else. You’re not looking for the most unnecessary features; you’re looking for the most meaningful results.
- They need it to be mobile. Small business owners are people on the go. So are sales people, pretty much by definition. It just doesn’t make sense to have software that isn’t mobile for a mobile sales force.
- They need it to keep track of contacts and clientele. This is really what sale call reporting is about, or at least half of it. What good is it to make contacts that get lost in the shuffle? (Most any free app will do this; Sales Call Manager is one, but better apps will do this and more.)
- They need it to be a second pair of eyes. No one really wants to talk about this, but human nature is such that when the cat’s away, the mice are not always exactly busy. So good, effective sales call reporting software should help be the “Big Brother” that keeps staff honest and on target. (There aren’t a lot of tracking apps that can really tell you that your staff were where they claimed to be when they claimed to be there, but IHateCallReports is one – it uses GPS auditing so you know the job was really done!)
- They need it to work for sales staff. In addition to being something that management can access and understand, the software needs to be equally usable for the people using it. Dual-function apps keep everyone on the same page. Look for an app that makes it possible for your staff to complete the report with real, meaningful information but in short time so they can get back to doing what you really need them to be doing.
- They need it to help move them to the next step. Sales calls are never done when the rep steps out the door and completes the report. Effective sales calls and return clients are born from service and follow-up. Your reporting app should have the additional functionality to help reps take the next step.
Although this may seem like a lot of demands for one little mobile app, it really is not. Today’s best apps are masters in software functionality that easily deliver this and more at low cost. Keep in mind when shopping that free apps are often of limited functionality unless you start paying and adding on upgrades and features, so the best money spent is on the app that starts off with complete functionality at a reasonable cost.