Field Team Management: Choosing Tools or Training

Jun 24, 2015 in Retail

Field team management can be complex. First, you need skilled, responsible employees to handle mobile retail data collection. Next, you need to choose between tools or training depending on the makeup of your team, their relative strengths and weaknesses, and which option provides the better return. Improved training and new tool implementation both typically result in increased bottom line results, higher efficiency and employee empowerment. Whether through a tool or training—the desired end result is increasing productivity. When field team employees can accurately and efficiently collect data surrounding retail execution, it boosts your overall company performance and revenue.

Cost-Benefit Analysis

The first step in the decision-making process is creating a cost-benefit analysis. When establishing the pros and cons of each option, ask yourself these questions:

  • What is the total cost of either tool or training? Consider factors such as deployment time, training time and opportunity cost.
  • How much more efficient and effective are employees after implementing the tools or training program? When employees do their jobs better, you see the benefits reflected in the amount of data gathered, insights into the information and higher quality feedback.

Know Your Field Team

Field teams are not one-size-fits-all, so what works for one team may significantly decrease effectiveness with another. Look at each team on an individual basis and determine whether tools or training would be more advantageous. For example, a new tool that helps automate mundane processes or speeds up core tasks might be perfect for a heavily experienced team. A team with a strong tactical skill set might not benefit from as much training as a newer team. Similarly, a field team without a lot of real-world experience may need training to familiarize themselves with common situations.

Improve Efficiency

When you’re looking into ways to cut costs, it may seem counterproductive to spend money on tools or training. However, creating more efficient team members means employees can expand roles and accomplish more, resulting in major cost savings in the long term.

The Combination Approach

You don’t necessarily have to choose between tools or training. In some cases, taking a combination approach yields a result greater than the sum of its parts. For example, using a tool such as GoSpotCheck provides employees with a way to more efficiently collect data. Alongside the tool implementation, providing field manager training helps elevate the team’s skills and knowledge across the board. Tools can also complement training by helping employees communicate between teams, increase understanding of what your company has to offer and share information companywide.

Choosing the right tool, training or combination of the two requires a thorough look at your short- and long-term goals, the audience you’re dealing with and how committed you are to making changes within the company. It takes time to see results no matter which option you choose, so evaluating the overall cost-benefit of each option will help you stand by your decision.