Why Every Field Sales App Needs a True Offline Capability

We’ve all been there, just when you’re looking for the right highway exit, the GPS signal is lost. Just when you want to check the last email to see where the meeting is being held, all you can get is that infernal loading signal. Just when your CPG sales rep is trying to close an agreement with a retailer, they can’t see the data they were planning to introduce to clinch the deal.

In the digital age, if your mobile solution only works when you’re connected to the internet, you’re playing Russian roulette with your field reps.

The Cost of Limited Connectivity

IHS Markit did a survey about outage events at enterprise organizations. They showed that the loss of productivity was nearly 80 percent and the loss of revenue 17 percent in an average of five downtime events each month. That adds up to a $700 billion loss for U.S. businesses every year.

Similarly, every time your field teams lose connectivity and can’t access their mobile tools, they lose productivity and money.

Taking Your Field App Offline Without Limiting Functionality

Most apps can store a certain amount of data for a short period of time. But in order to have the kind of robust functionality required in a store call that might involve the introduction of products, presentation of recent sales data, the collection of information on shelf space or out-of-stocks, compliance or checking temperatures, you need what is known as “true offline” capability. True offline means you can conduct complex business transactions even when you can’t connect to the internet.

Offline Data Synchronization

With true offline capability, even when your reps are in a store with no access to the internet, they can record and retrieve data in the app’s system, review analytics, take orders, manage collateral and handle complex pricing. There’s no loss of productivity and no loss of data.

True Offline Capability Through Native Applications

True offline systems have to be built-in native apps so that the offline and online functionality work together seamlessly. The moment your rep re-enters an online zone, all the data they collected is instantly uploaded and synced with what’s in the cloud. They even resolve conflicting data that comes into the system at the same time.

Staying Ahead of the Technology Curve

Right now, true offline is considered sophisticated enterprise technology. RW3 is committed to being on the cutting-edge so all our mobile field apps are built with true offline capability. But soon, given the pace of change, having true offline capability will be expected and any organization that lacks it will be at a huge disadvantage. A flip phone might be cool and counterculture, but it’s not what you use when you want to get business done faster and better than your competitors.

If you don’t have true offline capabilities with your field rep solutions, make sure to put that in the RFP next time you upgrade your SaaS field sales application.

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Bruce is the founder and CEO of RW3 Technologies. Having spent more than 35 years in the consumer goods and grocer space Bruce has experienced the industry disruption first hand and understands how artificial intelligence, POS data, and mobile technology can transform a good organization into a great one.

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