The News feature works like spam filtering -- just instead of placing the filtered items into the Spam folder, they are placed into the News folder. I get lots/tons of newsletters, notifications, and general updates from Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, various development journals I subscribe to, and general media sites. Some of it is interesting, some of it is interesting sometimes; none of it needs to be read right now. I add these items to my News Senders list, using the Mark as News button, and it goes neatly into my News folder for later review and reading.
We often run into manufacturers that think (or at least say) the reps they work with lack the technical capability to accept, consume, and work with detailed transaction information about their customers. Those details are most readily available in the form of invoices with line item details. The manufacturers have this information, and have the technical ability to pass it to the field sales organizations, but it is up to the rep agencies to let them know that they not only can take this information and work with it, but also want this information to be able to make better sales calls in the field.
We have worked with rep agencies and manufacturers since 2004 on automating the flow of information from the manufacturers' systems to the reps' MRSware installation. In some of the best workflow scenarios, we have manufacturers that send down the daily invoice information -- with line item details and commissions -- on a nightly basis. This information is distributed to the manufacturer's reps using MRSware and available to them the next morning when they login.
Use line item details to do better sales planning -- not who is up and who is down as a total, but what products aren't they buying and where is there opportunity for add-on sales; use more current invoice information to have better, more informed calls on customers (don't get caught with that "oh, you didn't know we just made that purchase" conversation)... Sure a lot of reps can import this same information from commission statements when they come (as can MRSware Users, of course), but how much better is it to get the invoice details when it happens, and at the same time avoid manual entry or importing.
We work with manufacturers for free to help them get this information moving to their reps. It does take a little amount of work with the manufacturer's IT department to make it happen, but it is typically a project that is completed in a day or two (based on the implementations we have done already). We have specifications for different formats for the manufacturers to use, as well as write-ups on the various advantages to both manufacturer and rep (think lots of cost savings if your current process involves paper mailings, faxing, or other old-style methods of sending information).
Challenge your manufacturers to provide better information to their field organizations. Impress them with your ability to work with and capitalize on better, more timely information in the field.
Contact us if you would like information to pass on to your manufacturers, or would like to schedule a conference call to discuss with them the benefits for all.
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