Wednesday, November 1, 2000

Palm’s strategy for your sales success


By Steve Niles

As we publish this, Palm is formally kicking off an initiative to increase awareness of its various Mobile Workforce solutions, which are basically solutions for people who may benefit from carrying computers around as part of their job. The first phase of this initiative centers around the concept of mobile field sales.

Palm's purpose in this initiative is to show how they can help you incorporate your Palm device into your sales force automation strategy. This being the case, we thought it appropriate to make sales force automation the focus of the inaugural issue of PalmPower Magazine Enterprise Edition.

You might be wondering, "What exactly is sales force automation and what's it for?" For an answer, we can turn to David Gewirtz, Editor-in-Chief of this publication and founder of ZATZ:Pure Internet Publishing. This is what he has to say on the topic:

The term sales force automation seems to imply that you can automatically make sales, which is about as far from the truth as it's possible to get. More accurately, what so-called sales force automation software does is automate aspects of the sales process, making it easier and more effective to keep track of whom to call, how and when to follow-up, the value of prospects, and how successful you are.

Putting it bluntly, the job of a sales person is to call or meet people and convince them to buy stuff. In order to do this, the salesperson has to organize enormous amounts of information, keeping tabs on the names, companies, and job progress for thousands of clients. Lots of luck to anyone still trying to get that done with a deck of 3x5 cards.

Sales force automation on the go

Sales force automation is a great approach to getting this difficult job done. This means finding software tools that can organize your contacts, track your phone calls, remind you of meetings and callbacks, and keep notes on where you are in a particular sale. Many solutions today also enable the sales professional to track order history and order status. Historically, computer-based sales tools have been reliant on desktop machines and laptops, which are fine if you can manage to work completely in the office, but they can be a pain to lug around if your job requires any amount of travel.

Amazingly, some of the best sales people throughout time have used nothing but paper DayTimers. Granted, they're portable, but ultimately, they're far less portable than Palm organizers. With these incredibly handy little gadgets, there's no longer a need to lug around those awkward laptops or endlessly erase and scribble in bulky paper planners.