An interesting instance caught my attention of late. A frustrated field sales manager was doubtful about the work ethics of few of his team members although he was not in a position to point any one in particular. The weekly progress report submitted to him by the field employees was looking just fine, but the overall sales productivity of the field force had dived to a new low. The ‘field reports’ and ‘sales productivity’ showed two radically different pictures altogether.
This essentially created a doubt in Manager’s mind about the authenticity of the reports produced by his field staff. Fed up with the whole mess after trying all sort of tricks, the Manager was of unable to find any help anyhow. The Manager then came up with the idea of hiring a professional spying agency to collect the reports of every employee closely, during the time supposedly spent for doing the job on the field.
Unsurprising, three members of the team were found engaged in a completely unprofessional and irresponsible way to work. In fact, the three rarely went for the meetings assigned to them and wasted most of the field hours with a friend, just for fun. They drafted fake reports by cleverly analyzing the general trend from the reports prepared by few other team members who had been working honestly all the while. Thus, they prepared general reports following the suited pattern. They carefully customized ‘mediocre’ reports and easily got away without being noticed. Their reported data was neither too good nor that bad. Just perfect to give a skip without any need of a second glance, just like any ordinary report ever.
The issue caught fire when the rumor of spying got leaked to the employees. The employees were unsure if they should seek clarification. They knew that they must only raise the issue if it is surely true which they weren’t clear till then. On the other hand, the manager was unknown of the rumor doing rounds. He unknowingly approved the rumor by calling those ‘three’ employees who were escaping from the field work assigned to them and cleverly curated fictional reports to cover it up.
The manager sought clarification from the three about their unethical and seriously flawed attitude during the working hours. When the manager showed them the evidence of the photographs obtained by spying. All the three employees immediately knew where the issue was heading towards. With no way out to escape, they deliberately added fire to the rumor by confirming it as true. This agitated the issue, even more, when it was revealed that three of them were being sacked by the manager just in ‘grudge’ after being caught red handed.
The employees united and vowed to drag the issue further till the justice is served to three sacked employees. All employees collectively lodged a complaint and claimed for compensation from the manager for invading the individual privacy of the employees by discreetly spying into their personal life. Well, that was clearly an exaggeration but the flow of wind was in favor of the unity of the employees.
And soon, the issue became a burning topic of discussions. It was also hogging the limelight from the digital and print media unanimously. This got a lot of people talking on the issue. The manager was unquestionably portrayed in a bad light as an evil boss exploiting his employees in the obsession of sales. It turned out worst for the manager as the court ordered him to pay the compensation claimed by his employees. And it was a blessing for those three employees who escaped from being held accountable. The manager had already quit the job on the third day after the issue was hyped.
Later on, To be frank enough, it was a bit too much on the part of a manager to use spying on his employees. The manager might have been pissed off by professional approach of few team members, but spying was not a professional approach either. In angst, agitation, and doubt, the manager went as far as he could, from the permissible limits. At the end of the day, it is unethical to discreetly spy even if it is your employee.
It was never going to make things better for the manager. On contrary, it disintegrated the little trust and transparency which was somehow left in his team. It openly encouraged the non-cooperative mentality in the employees who were ready to pull the legs of their own manager on a slight provocation of the three employees.
So here we are then, spying won’t do it. Now is there anything you can do is the Manager to monitor your field force productivity?
Transparency; the Problem in Managing the Field Force Productivity
When you think of managing a field force, the basic problem that slaps your face right away is the lack of transparency. Apparently ‘transparency’ was also the reason which compelled the stated Manager to use a spy to monitor his team. He didn’t know what his team was doing when it is supposedly working on the field. The poor field force productivity was sharply contrasting to the weekly reports which he got from his team members. This clearly indicated him that few members of his team were faking their reports.
It is not that he didn’t have a choice or he couldn’t do a thing about it. You should always cross verify any information rather than believing whatever numbers your team members produce before you. There are other ways to keep a fluent exchange of information. Now the question is, how is it possible to track the field force and manage their productivity all at once?
Using a Practical Solution Now or Waiting for an ‘Ideal’ One till Death!
One need not have a supernatural or paranormal ability if you have the power of science with you. No technology is or can be called perfect. There is always the scope of exploring new entities in the scientific world of infinite possibilities. So if you are looking for an Ideal solution, you are just waiting for a ‘tomorrow’ which changes into ‘today’ till you reach it. So every day, you will have a new ‘tomorrow’ to wait for…
Science keeps improving with every passing day and same is the case with technology which gets better all along. This is just an absolute illusion to think that you will ever find a perfect solution. There is no limit or constraint in the infinity of science. Nothing is absolute and therefore nothing can be ideal. What you use today will become dated tomorrow and it continues to be the same till infinity. This basically means technology will keep on improving, but your life, your business and your today never wait for you.
It’s just about rightly using the bliss of ‘technology’ whatever science has blessed us with. The seamless connectivity makes it simple reliable in practicality. All of us are being addicted to digital gadgets nowadays, and specifically, the mobile phones have gradually captured the soul of entire human race. It is purposeful and engaging to an extent that has redefined the meaning of ‘connectivity’ for the whole world.
With the introduction of smartphones, the scope has widened beyond anyone’s imagination. Being a smart business, you must use these technological assets for assistance. It is worthy enough to adopt it even if for the slightest thrust.
Using Smartphones for a Seamless Field Force Management
Of late, the mobile phones have actually become an impeccable way to stay connected with the world. Either sitting in an office or on the move, using the mobile is always as easy and effective as it gets. Here’s when and how to use your smartphone for solutions that are just perfect for the part and yes, you don’t have to turn to spying. It is about the engagement which you practice with your field force while it is actually working. All you need is a medium to stay in touch with your employees till they are actively working for you.
The teamspoor is one such app that uses the features which can help you in the management of your field process throughout the day. It is as if you are there with your team all along till they do their job.
Use GPS; Fetch Real Time Locations
The most significant question which a manager is concerned about has to be about the Team Member’s current location. And there is a reason why this concern never dies. The last resort of a manager is to call the employee to ask his where he is and get the expected answer for some respite, which is irrelevant, to say the least. What if the employee is faking his location? And you end up reaching the same place from where you were begun…
The common smartphones available in the market these days offers GPS tracking which can easily trace the location of the particular person at any point of time with the consent of the employee. All the employee has to do is log in as soon as he becomes active, and there on the admin (manager) would get the location of the employees as they move to different places.
Use Automation; Rev your Field Process
The field process needs monitoring system in the same way as it is keeping and you can’t afford to keep a person just for that purpose along with every field employee of yours. It is, therefore, better for the manager to use a real-time sales tracking system which can automate the entire process and trace the entire schedule of an employee from the word ‘Go’.
Automation makes it easy for the manager to fetch reports from his employees just as the meeting adjourns. You don’t have to keep calling them from time to time to know the progress report of interacting with an assigned lead. Thus, the whole process achieves a new level of transparency altogether.
Stay Updated; Stay Managed
There is a headache for a manager to get the updates from his employees by calling them every now and then. At times, they won’t pick the calls for obvious reasons such as traffic conditions or while driving or anything else that genuinely correlates with the nature of field work.
So, it will be much better for them to log in on the app installed on their mobiles as soon as they start working. And just from the point of logging in till logging out at the end of the day, everything they do will be simultaneously made available to his manager which means, you won’t have to turn yourself into a frustrating Telecaller for just being the manager.