The role of the traveling salesperson within a company is not new, but the tactics and technology they use to pick their routes and make their meetings are. Time management and efficiency are so important for traveling salespeople that the “traveling salesman problem” has been a quandary for computer scientists and mathematicians dating back at least 100 years.
The traveling salesman problem focuses on identifying the shortest route a salesperson can take to reach all of their destinations (it’s worth noting that it’s used as model for a number of principles beyond actual sales routes). However, with today’s constant connectivity, traveling salespeople face a much more complex range of challenges and opportunities as they try to plan the most efficient work day possible and react as that plan changes throughout the day.
In the second part of our series on the day in the life of the mobile workforce, let’s follow Annie, the business development director for EnerT, who is frequently on the road to meet with and negotiate large-scale commercial contracts with universities and hotel chains needing energy-efficient appliances.
An afternoon of offsite meetings
Annie spends most mornings at her office and dedicates afternoons to meetings with potential clients. Because EnerT’s commercial contracts require buy in from multiple executives at each location, she usually meets potential clients at their offices, requiring her to maintain an organized schedule and spend a lot of time on the road in her company car. She is based in New York City, but often travels around to various towns within the Tri-State area.
On this particular afternoon, Annie has three afternoon meetings with leads. Before her first lunch meeting with a potential client, she pulls out her smartphone to use her company’s mobile CRM app. She always uses the app to review her lead notes to ensure she is prepared and up to speed on any pain points or client concerns she needs to touch on to make the sale. She also receives alerts on her smartphone each time she receives an email or call from the office, just in case there are any last-minute updates.
Not only does Annie need to make it to each of her afternoon meetings on time, she needs to do so safely. After a spate of accidents and near misses, her company now requests each mobile employee use the GreenRoad driver behavior coaching app. Annie has been personally displeased with how high her score has been since the implementation — she’s realizing how often she speeds, takes fast turns and brakes quickly. Not only that, but she knows her colleagues Paul and Meredith have better scores than she does, and this friendly competition has inspired her to focus on lowering her score this week.
Smart mobility technology keeps Annie on top of a fluctuating schedule
While on her way to her second meeting at 1:30 p.m., Annie receives an urgent call from her boss. One of her leads, Scott, has to make a decision quickly, and he wants to meet with an EnerT rep today to see if they can finalize a deal. Annie’s boss used GreenRoad’s fleet management software, GreenRoad Central, to see that she was the closest rep in the area to Scott’s office.
Annie checks her schedule on her smartphone and sees that she can meet Scott at 4 p.m. She sends him a meeting request from her Doodle app, and she sees that Scott promptly accepts it to confirm.
As she’s driving to her final meeting with Scott, her in-vehicle coaching tool alerts her that she has been safely driving in the green zone all day and she has earned a Starbucks gift card from her company. After all her hard work, this feels particularly rewarding and puts Annie in a good mood for her last meeting.
Annie uses her CRM app to get a refresh on Scott and his company so she is prepared to close during the last-minute meeting. As she parks, she also gets an email from another rep on her team with some additional, crucial information about Scott. Once Scott has signed the paperwork, she uses a scanner app on her smartphone to send the documents back to the office so they can process them before the end of the day, boosting client satisfaction.
Technology pushes us to improve ourselves
Not only does technology enable Annie to stay on top of a shifting schedule, even when she’s on the road, it also encourages her to improve herself in ways that directly benefit her workday experience and her company’s bottom line. We’ve seen this movement toward making self-improvement fun play out across the consumer space, with physical monitoring devices like Fitbits and brain-training apps like Lumosity. Gamification can be just as motivational and rewarding when it’s incorporated in our workday.
Before the GreenRoad app was installed on her smartphone, Annie had no idea she wasn’t driving as safely as she could be. Now that she knows, she is determined to manage and refine her driving, just as she would any other element of her job. The competition and rewards she experiences as a result give Annie and her colleagues another level of engagement that makes an otherwise ordinary workday a little bit more fun.
In our final post for this series, we’ll view how today’s mobile workforce technology shapes an evening in the life of EnerT’s safety director.