Suppliers are struggling to visit pubs and restaurants in person and maintain business relationships the way they used to. However, technology enables field salespeople to schedule visits and assist pub and restaurant owners in track-and-trace campaigns.
We’ve heard from quite a few food and beverage suppliers that some of the pubs and restaurants they deliver to are hesitant to have them visit their premises. It’s understandable, with all the complicated regulations surrounding human-to-human interactions in the current economy, that these businesses want to avoid any interactions they deem unnecessary. The idea is that orders can be placed online or telephonically and delivered on arranged dates. This way they reduce daily visitors to their premises, who business owners are responsible to track and trace.
Salespeople who do outside selling are aware, however, that visiting customers in person is crucial to maintaining those relationships for ongoing sales success. They prefer to play a role in purchase decisions, which are often influenced by seasonal trends, product or branding strategies and promotions.
The supplier-buyer relationship is crucial to business success, even more so when customer visiting behavior is more uncertain and proper stock management becomes more difficult. Relying only on online order forms and phone conversations weakens these relationships. Thankfully, field sales technology offers a way for salespeople to respect pub and restaurant owners’ concerns and continue visiting them in person.
Schedule your visit
Start by segmenting your customers by visit frequency, based on what each of these segments needs from you and how often you need to see them. Some business owners are more comfortable with you visiting their premises than others. Many businesses are following a phased approach, either waiting for lessened restrictions or to get their own measures in order before allowing more regular visitors. Once you know how often you need to visit each customer, you can start planning visits based on either fixed call cycles or flexible visit frequencies, or a combination of the two.
Read more on how to manage and streamline your planning with Skynamo here.
Some businesses have concerns around health and safety, while others are simply overwhelmed by all the regulations, preferring not to deal with any additional visitors to their premises. This is where you, the supplier, come in. You need to communicate to them that you understand their safety concerns and how you will assist them in ensuring it’s a ‘safe’ visit.
Ideally, you will go one step further and assure them that you are tracking your own movement and so can provide them with additional track-and-trace information surrounding your movements and interactions should they be required.
Also be clear about what a meeting might entail. Suggest that you only need to be there for 15 minutes or are willing to meet them outside the premises if necessary. Take the initiative to make it as effortless as possible for your customer. Mobile sales technology simplifies and automates the admin process, which means it’s a paperless process and orders can be done on the go if necessary.
Log your visit
Once a customer confirms a scheduled meeting time and day with you, log it on your mobile sales app calendar. Any additional important information can be added as notes to your scheduled visit should your sales app functionality allow for it.
Notes can similarly be taken during your visit. Important information includes not only order information, but also details about who you were in contact with during your visit, as well as various safety measures required by your customer or government regulations.
Voice-to-text functionality means you can take notes on the go or straight after meetings without having to type on your mobile device.
Get a live preview of how to easily capture and customize safety information during visits.
Track your visit
GPS functionality allows you not only to plan your daily visiting routes but also to keep a record of places you’ve been and people you’ve met during your day. You can note down the names of people you interact with throughout your day and also pin places you visit on a map. Apart from your logged customer visits, you can also pin locations where you stop over during breaks or fill up your car.
Learn how our field sales platform increases sales team productivity and provides everyone with better insights into business activities here.
Pub and restaurant owners, how do you prefer to interact with suppliers? Let us know in the comments below…