Gaurav suddenly jolted awake from a bad dream, drenched in sweat. He had dreamt that the glitchy SFA software deployed by his employer had crashed again, and the leadership team had again yelled at him for not presenting accurate data in time.
Gaurav was an MIS Coordinator in a reputed leisure-wear company. His role included managing a sales team of about 250 members, preparing reports for Management including daily dashboards, matching Primary Orders with internal SAP reports, sharing attendance reports with the HR team, tracking sales teams, and much more.
Lately, he had been feeling very stressed in his job, ever since the company had opted for a pocket-friendly SFA software which had multiple issues at all levels –
Gaurav took pride in his job but having a poorly-designed technology solution was doing the company- and him, more harm than good. Unfortunately, he was being made the scapegoat for all the mess that was happening because of the SFA solution.
What the senior leadership team didn’t realize is that Gaurav had to call multiple stakeholders to get proper data, so there were many manual processes that took a lot of time. The result was that the salesmen, as well as their managers, would get irritated due to the incorrect information and lose time in getting the right kind of traction in the field.
Why Are MIS Coordinators Never Part Of SFA Evaluation?
Sales is one of the most important quadrants of an organization and typically in an FMCG Industry, Salesmen have a pivotal role to play in driving revenues. While we mostly talk about the Front-liners and the Mid Management we often ignore one of the most pivotal teams, the “MIS Team”.
If we look at the industry average, an MIS guy’s contribution to evaluating an SFA software may be just 5%, but his contribution to extracting value from it could be more than 50%!
When companies onboard any system, it needs to have a very strong backend, which is usually not the interest area of the decision-makers who are evaluating that software. The MIS coordinators are the real ‘keepers of data’, yet only a handful of companies actually seek their inputs or involve them in the evaluation process. Their role may be very mundane or even transactional, but it is very crucial to keep the sales organization running like a well-oiled machine.
For Gaurav, the extraction of data was a huge challenge, and having to do that 15 times a month was leaving him very frustrated. A lot of times, he needed to make changes on the fly. e.g. when an ASM wanted a beat changed first thing in the morning. Maintaining those transactions, and aligning beats & products used to take him twice the amount of time it should have ideally taken. The backend interfaces were not great, which resulted in a high dependency on the sales force automation company’s customer service team to resolve his issues, which further took time and aggravated him even more.
Gaurav was fed up. He reported the issues to the management again, and they finally agreed to arrange a meeting with a different vendor who came in and presented their solution. He had put in a request to be present when the new vendor made this presentation, and what he saw really excited him.
Here was a sales force automation company that had an entire suite of products that revolved around all the human touchpoints in the sales and distribution– the Senior Leadership, the mid-managers, the foot soldiers as well as the MIS guys!
The SFA field app had an easy interface for the SRs to use, the Analytics app offered phenomenal flexibility in generating different types of reports for the MIS team, the mid-managers got a beautiful Dashboard to keep a track of on-field activities, and even the distributors got a swanky Distributor Management System that seamlessly integrated all applications together for a glitch-free and error-free experience. To his joy, this company was brought on board within a month. Their product & CST teams took them through exhaustive training after which Gaurav didn’t ever feel the need to constantly chase the customer success team to resolve his issues.
For the first time in many months, Gaurav slept peacefully.
A strong SFA technology partner that is mindful of the challenges of MIS coordinators and analysts like Gaurav and creates solutions around them can become the biggest reason for the growth and success of these unsung heroes.