Harnessing the Computing Power of the Phone in their Pockets
How Red Bull has implemented a revolutionary mobile phone application for their sales force.
“Make it fast, make it simple, make it mobile!”
That was the brief to BlueTrail from Mike South, sales manager for Red Bull’s On-Trade business, for a CRM system that his sales team could use when out on the road. Little did he know that the answer was sitting right there in his pocket and the pockets of his 29 staff. But he was talking to the right people. BlueTrail are experts in developing mobile applications for business. Utilising the mobile phones already held by the Red Bull sales people, BlueTrail created a data capture and reporting system that answered the brief precisely.
“People don’t realise the potential of mobile phones”, explains Richard Spence, a founder and director at BlueTrail. ”With the development of the Java environment on the phone, they are simply a computer at your fingertips. Mobiles also have the great advantage that everyone has one and they are familiar with how they work. Although at the moment people tend to associate Java with games, they can and should be exploited as a business tool. There aren’t that many companies that have the expertise to create these clever applications. Here at BlueTrail it’s what we do.”
“Using mobile phones for sales and marketing in the field provides many advantages over traditional approaches. They are fast and efficient, the information isn’t open to misinterpretation and data capture doesn’t get in the way of the customer relationship.”, Richard continues. “The simplicity and ease of use sets it apart from other devices and the users can customise their own phones to reflect their personality and that of the companies they represent”
Red Bull wanted a quick and efficient system to manage their customer relations, and to get it up and running without expensive hardware purchases and without disrupting the teams’ schedules for time consuming training courses. That’s what BlueTrail delivered.
Mike South is responsible for a team of 29 staff, covering both England and Wales, who go out on a daily basis visiting their customers on site. They provide solutions to their customers to help them drive their businesses forward by selling more Red Bull. Their job is to encourage more sales at the point where the brand, retailer and consumer meet.
“It’s a great job with a lot of variety.”, explains Mike. “The approach our team would take in a student bar would be entirely different from the display and promotion we would put into, say, Chinawhite. So, what we needed was a data capture system that was easy for our team to use on site, and fast to enable us to react quickly to our customers’ needs. I am asked to provide detailed reports for senior management and I wanted a system that would make this process as straightforward as possible.”
Historically, details of the calls were recorded on a laptop system. This had a number of problems. Some of the team members found it difficult bringing a laptop into the customer environment and felt that its use raised an unnecessary barrier. There were also the usual problems with battery life, unreliability and gaining easy internet access to transmit the data.
Looking at what Mike South wanted to achieve and knowing that all his team already had reasonably up to date mobile phones, BlueTrail went to work to develop an application that would enable the On-Trade team to get customer information onto their mobiles, fast and then to update the central database during a visit. The users were 20-somethings, already au fait with their mobile phones for texting and messaging and the system would have none of the disadvantages of the present laptop system. Red Bull is also keen to be seen as a fast-moving, forward-thinking organisation and embraced the opportunity to use the new technology.
“And the great thing is, is that it is so easy to use”, enthuses Mike South. Within a month Red Bull had a complete system that could query and update a customer record from a mobile phone in under a minute.
“The application is simply pinged to the mobile phone as you would download a ring tone”, explains Richard Spence. “The user can immediately start interrogating the central database on the web and then upload their report the minute the meeting is over. It is perfect for CRM but has many other applications throughout the business world.”
It was no longer an administrative chore to enter details, just quick, easy and efficient, supplying the data to decision makers within seconds. Mike’s team simply arrive at their customers, enter the data required which is immediately sent to a central database on the web.
The website itself is also simple to use. Information can be easily extracted to enable a whole range of reports to be compiled. Individual and regional reports can be generated that shows the output and effectiveness of each team.
“For the first time I can easily see measurable return versus investment as the data entered can give me ROI vs costs”. says a delighted Mike South.
And it’s not just Mike that benefits. All managers, with authorisation, can quickly and easily create reports specific to them. These could be regional i.e. London only, retailer specific or looking only at influential or aspirational venues. The possibilities are only restricted by the information captured. The data can be then imported directly into Excel for easy analysis.
The system has been up and running since January and all the Red Bull teams are delighted with its success.
“BlueTrail was very proactive in the management of the whole project”. says Mike. “They used their systems knowledge to expand our processes within Red Bull. Together, our IT manager, BlueTrail and I worked well to achieve the aims. The key benefits of the system are its speed and ease of use. The central website is easy to use, simplicity being the key. Only collecting data we actually use means all our reports are meaningful. With little training our teams are up and running, improving revenue for our customers and for us. It’s a win-win situation.”
“This new technology opens up a wealth of opportunities for business”. says Bob Flynn from BlueTrail. “Forward thinking companies such as Red Bull are already reaping the benefits of mobile phone applications. Everyone has a mobile and the network is available 24/7. With no need for expensive hardware or extensive training, all types of business can benefit.”
Tell me more
To find out more about how you can use the mobile internet for your business, call or email Richard Spence – at BlueTrail on +44 (0)781 394 5561