10 Jan 2019, 09:30 — 4 min read
If your sales organization has already obtained an enterprise resource planning (ERP) software and now plans to go to the next level by adding a mobile sales force automation (SFA) application, the subsequent step would be to look for SFA providers.
Before you start looking for SFA providers, you have to consider the factors (which I briefly discussed in my previous article) that contribute to a successful SFA implementation. You also have to consider the telephone companies (telcos) that you will be using for transmitting the data captured in the field and placed in the app.
We’ve met several foreign SFA suppliers, and our first question to them is, “Can data be transmitted via SMS?” They usually give us a strange look before saying, “No need, as it only needs an internet connection.” So, we end up sharing with them how unreliable mobile data is in several parts of the Philippines and mobile data plans are generally expensive.
Philippine-based SFA providers started with mobile SFAs that primarily used SMS for transmission of app data, GPS coordinates, sales, inventories, collections, etc. While implementing mobile SFA, we encountered the following issues:
1. The app would transmit the user’s GPS location every minute and the telco would terminate the phone service, automatically labeling the user as abusive.
2. Android devices (smartphones and tablets) - even up to a year ago - could only send 100 texts/hour with the 101st text et al. on a queue.
3. Even though we configured GPS transmissions at an interval of 5 minutes, the data from the app arrived at the server sometimes an hour late; and telcos nonchalantly explained that these lags were caused by too many texts sent and received by some of its cell tower servers leading to congestion.
Can you imagine our explanation to irate app subscribers for the inconvenience caused by the SMS problems? Thankfully, these people who were early adopters of mobile SFA didn’t direct their ire to the SFA service providers like our firm, but to the telcos.
Mobile internet is definitely more efficient and faster than SMS; and it does not suffer from the aforementioned transmission problems. It is therefore essential to inquire if the SFA you are considering uses the internet to transmit data (which all SFAs do) and can also use SMS when mobile data is not available. This capability becomes even more important if some of your sales force work in provincial and rural areas where 3G is limited or downright unavailable. Of course, SMS can only handle limited amounts of data, but some data arriving in near real-time is way better than not receiving any data at all.
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Posted byRaymond Romulo Rodis
Founder-GM in charge of sales, contract negotiations and client-liaison for our SaaS products. Manage special projects to get product to meet milestones and deadlines.
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