David Bickerstaff 22 November 2023 4 min read

Field Teams & Tools - Magic Happens on the Road

Recently, in part one of this “Magic happens on the road” series, I wrote about the parallels between French toll roads and disjointed business processes. It sounds like a stretch, I’ll grant you! But it really did strike me whilst driving the French countryside, the similarities between the bottlenecks we allow into our ‘civilian’ lives and those that we tolerate every day within our businesses.

During this same European holiday, I was also struck by another ‘magical’ sort of insight during my time on the road. This one emerged during conversations I had with friends, family, and new acquaintances over the course of our travels.

So, here in part two of “Magic happens on the road”, I’d like to focus on the most important asset in any business: people.

And in particular, look at how companies can leverage tech to help attract (and retain) the right talent going forward.


Invest in people

Travelling through the UK, France, and Germany recently, I found that conversations with people we met along the way would often turn to COVID and our shared experience of the recent global pandemic.

As we discussed how our respective countries were managing the transition back to a pre-pandemic 'normal', a common theme emerged:

The workforce shortage we’ve been hearing about in Australia was biting just as sharply in Europe, due largely to the number of migrant workers who returned to their home countries as borders began to close in 2020.

As immigrants repatriated, they took their skills back home with them. The exit of specialized and technical workers left an especially noticeable hole in the workforce.

It became evident as I spoke with business leaders that, despite borders re-opening and skilled migration rising once more, businesses everywhere are still finding it challenging to attract & retain the right talent.  

It led me to question the quality of what they’re actually offering.


Provide the platform 

As Baby Boomers retire, Millennials take up leadership positions, and younger Gen Z employees fill the ranks, the competition to attract and keep great talent will only grow stronger.

So it’s important we look at the tools and resources we’re offering those who join our workplaces. Are we equipping them with what they need to succeed?

A business that invests in technology and its people will naturally be a more attractive employer than one which doesn’t appear to innovate or support its team with the best tools of the trade.

Equipping staff with the right tech not only benefits the recruitment efforts of a business, but will have flow-on effects for retention as well.

Team members who have purpose-built tools at their disposal will be more productive, more efficient, and more likely to succeed in their roles.

Staff who are meeting KPIs (and having an easier time of it), experiencing less friction while performing critical tasks, will undoubtedly be happier.


Reap the results

A great example of all this comes to mind when I think back to a recent chat we had with Commerce Vision customer Arlec Australia.

Discussing their field team’s experience with Opmetrix CRM, Arlec’s Merchandising Coordinator Chris O’Shea shared some eye-opening insights.

In moving from manual spreadsheets and emails to Opmetrix CRM, the Arlec field team have:

Increased their productivity
  • More efficient digital workflows allow Reps to easily handle a larger workload, in the same time (or less) than before.  

Raised their profile
  • With Opmetrix boosting the visibility of output, the team are consistently producing higher quality work, and gaining recognition for it.

Improved service levels
  • Arlec's major customer Bunnings will often request shelf and product data from the team, including image requests. Since implementing Opmetrix, the team can now service these requests in as little as 10 minutes, versus the 3-4 day turnaround it used to take. 

While Arlec's merchandising team are enjoying low staff turnover and high productivity, their customers are also benefitting from an improved experience since Arlec began using Opmetrix CRM.

Of course, arming a Field Team with purpose-built, mobile sales and merchandising apps like Opmetrix is just one example of how employers can leverage technology to empower their workforce.

With employee happiness linked to corporate success, equipping your staff with the tools they need to succeed will have flow-on effects. Your customers will benefit, as will the other internal teams your staff interact with - not to mention your company’s bottom line.


Driving productivity through technology

At Commerce Vision, we’ve claimed 2024 as the ‘Year of Productivity’ and it’s our mission to help businesses achieve it.

We know that digital tools are a key part of attracting and supporting great talent, not to mention driving business productivity and growth.    

If your field teams could use a toolkit upgrade, we’d love to chat with you about ways we can help.