South Africa-based lubricants supplier Triangle Lubricants has increased its sales calls by 25% since using tablet-based software development company Field Office’s HoneyBee application.
Triangle Lubricants sales manager Christoff Sonnekus notes that the company started using the application in August, which has enabled the company to track its sales personnel while they are on the road, using the general packet radio service technology of the tablets used by the sales representatives.
The application enables representatives to place orders while they are out of the office. It also has a route-planning function, which has improved the company’s sales operation by making it more streamlined and effective, he adds.
“The HoneyBee application enables me to send notes to representatives, informing them of clients not on the planned route who require assistance. More destinations can be added to the planned route with the application and customers that have been seen are logged, thereby preventing repeat visits by different sales persons to the same customer and, in turn, increasing the efficiency and time management of the sales team,” he says.
Sonnekus notes that the application enables sales representatives to add a ‘cold call’, which is used to add a potential customer. Their details are recorded either by the sales person on their tablet or by management on HoneyBee’s servers. The details are immediately captured on Triangle Lubricants’ database for future reference.
Triangle Lubricants supply 3 000 different product lines to 2 000 customers in the automotive, agriculture, construction and transport sectors. The company’s previous sales capture system of recording things in black books and on excel spreadsheets was extremely cumbersome and often inaccurate, he comments.
“The company knew it needed to simplify the system and reduce administration time. HoneyBee offered the perfect solution, as datasheets are important to our sales representatives and they now have all that information at hand, on their tablets. The application has also reduced the amount of time representatives spend in the office – from four hours to one hour – which means they spend more time selling and servicing customers,” says Sonnekus.
All information pertaining to a customer, such as the required lubrication products, is captured on the HoneyBee application before sales personnel visit clients, and the application provides a database, informing representatives and management of how often a client will need to re-order products and how often a representative needs to visit a client.
Further, the application can send credit application or return forms using email, which helps improve the administrative functions of sales personnel.
Sonnekus highlights: “Previously, sales representatives would have a folder with blank forms that would have to be filled out by hand and the data would only be captured when the sales person got back to the office. With HoneyBee, they can complete the forms electronically and capture the data immediately, thus reducing the time spent on administrative work.”
Building on Previous Success
Field Office MD Samuel Clarke says HoneyBee was designed with sales representatives in mind. “Sales people have to build a relationship with their clients to ensure repeat business. When they arrive at a customer, HoneyBee will provide all the necessary information for them to establish and build relationships with clients.
Sales personnel will have access to information, such as the sales and order history of a client, when last a representative visited a client and comments from previous visits, all of which are useful in developing a business relationship with the customer,” he notes.
HoneyBee is a cloud-based service, with servers running on US-based electronic commerce company Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud. “Field Office’s Web servers manage the sales representatives’ mobile devices and the information they need to access; they also keep records of any changes in customer information that the sales person may need to be informed of. Managers can maintain and manage all data directly by logging on to the server directly,” Clarke says.
He explains that HoneyBee has been developed from the core technology and code of Site Inspector, which is the first product developed by Field Office in 2010.
“Field Office followed a ‘lean method’ in developing HoneyBee, which entailed using non-paying customers, known as development partners, to test the application in August 2012.
“Once the application reached a certain level of maturity, customers were required to pay for it and the payment process started in December 2011. However, Field Office did not have any sales staff employed and officially launched HoneyBee for commercial sales only in June 2013,” concludes Clarke.