Online onboarding system for field sales agents: challenges and solutions

Straight to the point – cheat sheet to turn your field sales team into pros!

Online marketplaces are growing tremendously. From the food we eat to the clothes we wear, there is an online store for everything. While online shopping makes a customer’s life simple, encouraging vendors to sell on their portal or use their services is a big challenge for e-commerce companies.

The ground reality is – companies employ field sales agents to meet vendors, explain to them about the benefits of using their platform, and encourage them to download their apps. Once the vendor agrees to use their services, the onboarding process starts.

Depending on the industry, the onboarding process may take hours to weeks in time. But, since e-commerce can be successful only by operating in scale, the onboarding time should be as minimum as possible. Now, this is where the concept of an online onboarding system comes into the picture.

In this article, we will discuss the prevailing challenges from both – field sales agents and managers’ perspectives. Then we will elaborate on the online solutions that can reduce vendor acquisition time.

Online Onboarding System for Field Sales Agents

Onboarding challenges for field sales agents

Before discussing the challenges, let’s first look at how a field sales agent’s day looks like.

The agent has a target for each day. He would select a region and would try to meet and influence as many vendors as he can. Usually, he has a list of vendors in a particular locality – provided by his manager/company.

To locate the shop, the agent would use google maps. Then he would meet the owner, discuss details, collect documents (if needed), and make notes. After this, the agent refers to the list and selects the next vendor on the list to approach him. And the cycle continues. Lest he knew that the address of the fourth vendor on his list is adjacent to the one he just visited.

Challenge one – the agent wastes time in traveling if he’s not already aware of the locality.

Second challenge – he has to prepare meeting notes and then submit it to his manager.

Challenge three – If the agent is unable to meet all the vendors in a locality, he will have to continue the same routine the following day.

All these challenges impact the agent’s productivity. The onboarding rate can be much higher if the agent can save his traveling time and enter vendors details immediately.

Online onboarding system and its benefits for field agents

Companies can improve field sales agents’ productivity to a great extent by using mobile onboarding systems.

For a long time, companies used desktop onboarding solutions, but it did not help field sales agents much.

Now, the world has advanced to mobile CRM/mobile field force automation solutions for onboarding processes. The reason is simple – mobile is easy to carry. Moreover, field agents can use their existing smartphones for onboarding vendors. They’ll just need to download an app.

For example, a vendor onboarding app allows field sales teams to:

  • Collect, upload, and sync documents to the organization’s CRM system.
  • With dynamic forms, agents can enter the required vendor details immediately on their phone.
  • The autofill option saves agents’ time in filling redundant fields like zip code, state, country, etc.
  • Geolocation APIs help agents to locate the next vendor based on proximity and not based on the order in the list – saving traveling time.
vendor onboarding software - geo tracking

Onboarding challenges for regional or city managers

City managers oversee the activities of field agents. Some of the challenges that managers face includes:

  • Because of a lot of churn in field functions, managers miss out on the status of agents – whether they are active or have quit.
  • False entry by field agents
  • Verifying vendors and documents and if they’re in a correct format
  • Field agents’ performance and inability to meet targets
  • Locality-wise reporting and analytics
  • Agent attendance management and payout calculation
  • Vendor management

Online onboarding system and its benefits for city managers

Almost every sales manager faces this challenge – agents enter false records when they are unable to meet the targets.

The simplest solution to address this problem is to equip managers with a system to track the activities of their field agents. A vendor onboarding solution can help managers to:

  • Geofence agent’s location to prevent them from entering the wrong information. That is, an agent cannot enter vendor information if his location does not match the vendor’s location.
  • Create dynamic forms for different field teams. It helps managers to fetch accurate information based on vendor category, business, products they sell, and more.
  • Onboarding automation: Managers can instantly validate or connect the verification teams as soon as the agent enters a vendor’s record.
  • Plan priorities for agents: City managers can plan/update their agents’ schedules, define priorities, goals for the day, etc. as per the field situations (such as regional holidays, curfew, other events, etc.).
  • Track agents in real-time to ensure agents’ productivity and identify lags.

Additional benefits of digital onboarding solutions for sales managers

An online onboarding system also helps city/regional managers to measure the churn in the field functions. When companies expand, they need large field workforces. So they employ contractual agencies to hire people. With a proper system in place, managers can easily manage field agents’ performance.

Also, when churn happens, managers can resolve the issue of accurate and timely redistribution of leads.

Apart from these, with an onboarding system, managers can engage vendors better. For example, managers can look at the vendors’ performance and suggest tips to improve. 

Feedbacks are essential to improve vendor/customer retention rate. Most of the time, people discontinue service because they find the app difficult to use. Another reason is – the unavailability of immediate support when required. According to Wyzowl customer onboarding statistics 2020, 8 in 10 people have deleted the app because they did not know how to use it.

Sales managers can also devise strategies to improve vendor-agent interaction by considering the feedback received.

Why organizations need onboarding software?

Generally, organizations use disparate systems for their individual business processes. So, they are able to improve productivity at the individual process level – but not operations as a whole.

Someone from the team has to export/import data from one system to another.

The point is – automating individual processes is not enough. For better ROI, the interconnection between systems is a must. When interconnectivity between applications is a concern, the digital onboarding system outshines It can seamlessly connect with CRM systems – making follow-ups, cross-sell, up-sell easier for companies. Moreover, the entries can be recorded as leads, prospects, vendor-partner, etc. so that managers and decision-makers can devise strategies for future interactions. Boston Retail Review reveals that 81% of retailers plan to deploy omnichannel e-commerce platforms that support commerce across stores, mobile users, and the web.

Another benefit of the online onboarding system is automated analytical reports, dashboards, and personalized Dashlets. It not only saves time collecting information and preparing monthly/quarterly/annual reports but also presents actionable insights on the go.

Thus, management can have an accurate picture of their business at any given point in time. 

Team Reports - Vendor Onboarding software

If you are looking for software that can improve your productivity of your field sales agents and assist your managers, then you should give LeadSquared Field Force Automation Solution a try!


Onboarding System FAQs

What is an onboarding portal?

An onboarding portal is an online solution to onboard new vendors/customers/employees. It can be for your field agents – where they can add vendor details while being on the field. Or it can be a self-serve portal where customers/vendors can fill in the required information and apply online to partner with your business.

What are online onboarding best practices?

For a better onboarding experience, equip your field agents with simple tools like Mobile CRM. Make vendors feel welcomed and keep them informed with your business updates. Also, engage with the new hires/vendors by providing them useful tips, training to improve their productivity. 

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