A field rep’s best asset is their relationship with a customer. What if you could give them back some of the time they spend keeping track of their agenda and monitoring client accounts?
ForceManager augmented its CRM app with an AI personal assistant, which helps reps make the most of every sales opportunity by arming them with information on demand.
80%increase in app adoption rate raises ForceManager’s revenues
20%lift in sales rep’s productivity levels enabled by hands-free working
18%boost in sales made by reps using the latest-generation ForceManager app
Business challenge story
Birth of a revolutionary idea
When out in the field as a sales rep, facetime with clients is essential to success. But it can be hard to keep track of where you’re due to go next, who you’re going to see and to record your interactions—and that all eats into the time you spend actually making sales. As a result, many sales reps struggle to stay on top of the demands of a traditional CRM system, which threatens to hamper their productivity and leave their managers without an up-to-date view of their company’s pipeline.
What if there was a better way to handle your meetings, prepare your sales pitches, and nail your next deal, even while you’re on the move? Cue ForceManager, a revolutionary CRM app which acts as a virtual assistant for field sales reps.
Oscar Maciá, CEO and Co-founder at ForceManager, takes up the story: “We developed ForceManager with a precise goal in mind: to offer a next-generation CRM solution that goes beyond traditional capabilities to unlock new levels of productivity in sales reps.
“We began imagining: what would it be like if field sales reps could interact with ForceManager as if it was…human? Field reps are generally great orators, so what better than a virtual companion that they can talk to at any time, to get guidance and support throughout their busy day? This idea spurred great excitement within our team, and we immediately began exploring the possibilities to make our vision a reality.”
Harnessing the power of artificial intelligence
To create a pioneering version of its app, ForceManager joined forces with IBM to embrace artificial intelligence capabilities powered by IBM® Watson® services hosted in the IBM Cloud.
Oscar Maciá confirms: “We considered cloud services from several vendors, including Google and Microsoft, and IBM was the clear winner for reasons including rapid time-to-market. In just four months, we had already developed a trial version with help from IBM. Within eight months, we went in full production. Utilizing IBM Cloud solutions was instrumental in speeding up and simplifying this process.”
With native apps for smartphones, tablets and the Apple Watch, ForceManager is designed to keep field sales reps on track while they travel. The latest version of the ForceManager app combines the power of IBM Watson Conversation, IBM Watson Dialog, IBM Watson Text to Speech, IBM Watson Speech to Text and IBM Watson Natural Language Classifier services to allow sales reps to converse with it in natural language.
Using hands-free voice commands, sales reps can check their schedules and leads, map the route to the next meeting, get up to speed on accounts and log their customer interactions while on the move. Oscar Maciá continues: “By augmenting ForceManager with IBM AI solutions, driving to a meeting doesn’t have to be a dull but necessary part of a field sales rep’s job any more. Instead, it can be a great opportunity to prepare for a meeting or refine a sales pitch.
“Users simply open the mobile app in car mode, which records any vocal instructions and automatically transcribes them into text. Uniquely, IBM Watson Tone Analyzer can detect signs of joy, gratitude, frustration, anger and a host of other emotions in customers’ emails and flag up any accounts that need extra attention to reps.”
Besides assisting sales reps in the management of their own pipelines, ForceManager also gives managers real-time visibility of the status of deals that come under their remit. With a complete record of customer interactions, managers can generate metrics and reports on the success of their teams’ efforts – insight that was lacking in the past.
Boosting productivity, slashing inefficiencies
By injecting the power of IBM Watson services into its mobile CRM app, ForceManager has been transformed into an AI personal assistant that unlocks greater productivity for field sales reps.
“Field reps like the latest version of ForceManager so much that the adoption rates have grown to a staggering 80 percent,” remarks Oscar Maciá. “Because they are using the app more, field reps have also increased their sales activity by up to 20 percent, with an 18 percent boost in overall sales driven by new AI capabilities.”
By ditching their unwieldy CRM systems, field sales reps can put their precious time to better use. Oscar Maciá continues: “Field reps can now convert some of the time spent travelling – which can be up to 30 percent of their daily schedule – into preparation for customer visits and recording interactions, they arrive at meetings better equipped, which in turns translates into more convincing sales pitches and a higher number of successful deals.”
In addition, because ForceManager can be updated in a matter of seconds, managers gain more complete, real-time visibility into the sales pipeline. Oscar Maciá notes: “One of our clients employs 4,000 sales reps, and each one of them reports approximately 20 activities per day. With ForceManager, field sales reps can now collect, access, and analyze the information in a more structured way, and managers have immediate visibility. As a result, managers don’t waste time trying to get an overview of performance – it’s at their fingertips whenever they need it.”
He concludes: “This project with IBM was a huge success, but we have only scratched the surface. We are confident that we can achieve so much more with these solutions in the future. On our ambitious roadmap, we plan to incorporate several other Watson services into ForceManager, so the sky is really the limit.”
ForceManager is a software development company that offers a mobile customer relationship management (CRM) platform of the same name. Founded in 2011, ForceManager has locations in Spain, the UK, Colombia and Mexico, employs approximately 100 people and serves 600 customers in 35 countries.
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