Successful field marketing relies on meaningful person-to-person connections. While most marketing efforts have gone digital and with more creative gigs getting automated by the day, one-to-one conversations and moments of genuine human interaction continue to set field marketing apart. That doesn’t mean the job (or the entire industry) is software-agnostic.
Field marketing agencies need the right strategies and the right software solutions for registering new clients and subscribers, planning where teams go, managing contracts and payments, staying compliant with government rules and regulations, and other critical functions. All these features need to interact seamlessly to not avoid compromising the enormous amount of data agents and agencies deal with.
The trick here is finding the best software tools to handle all these tasks without causing friction for the human side of the equation. This article unpacks what to look for in field marketing software and why it matters.
Why finding the right field marketing software matters
Field marketing is a challenging and intensive gig. Finding the right people to send out into the field and managing such a dynamic workforce is a feat for agencies. Regarding the agents, it’s no easy task to fix in one spot and pitch to passersby for many hours, especially with the high churn rate of potential subscribers and/or customers.
Great field marketing software can make the process easier for people in the field and those managing these teams. There are many software tools that can manage schedules, optimize route planning, store subscriber information, and more, but not all software is developed equally. The right software suite can seamlessly automate tasks that detract from the topline mission of field marketing: connecting with people and getting them to subscribe or convert.
Think about the ideal field marketing interaction. A field agent approaches a potential client to make their pitch. Their charm and sales acumen amplify the pitch, convincing the person on the other end to subscribe or donate. The entire interaction is seamless and even a delight for the newly minted client.
Now imagine that the software tool the agent is using wasn’t designed to follow (or direct) the proven sales flow. Field marketing is about capturing people’s attention on the street, door-to-door, or at an event, so any friction can break the spell and cause people to find a reason to churn. A poorly designed form or minor technical glitch creates friction you want to avoid.
The right software suite can seamlessly automate tasks that detract from the topline mission of field marketing: connecting with people and getting them to subscribe or convert.
Let’s talk about what great field marketing software should do.
Great FM software should prioritize a proven workflow
When choosing the software tools (or entire suite) for your field marketing agency, the first thing to look for is simplicity. Each software tool should complement the field marketer’s journey via straightforward processes and minimal opportunities for deviation. Tools should also take an agent through a single process with no possible loopholes.
Field marketing agencies hire a ton of new employees each year and churn nearly half of them. Agencies tend to hire students or graduates with little to no work experience. So, software tools must be easy to pick up, or you’ll waste valuable time training wave after wave of employees, only to have them disappear with that knowledge.
The tools should be simple and easy to use and direct agents through a proven workflow without any potential loopholes.
You can imagine that field agents who have to repeat the same pitch in the same spot for many hours may relish the chance to find workarounds, and while personalization can make for great agents, you want to prioritize a workflow that you know works. The right software can help without making the agent feel too boxed in.
Great FM software takes you where you need to go
A huge part of field marketing is mapping out the best and most efficient routes for agencies. It can be discouraging for an agent to trudge through a neighborhood filled with people who’ve already responded negatively to a fellow field agent or similar pitch.
Another factor to keep in mind is that field marketing agencies operate in a competitive landscape. Other agencies and agents are vying for sales and signups in the same areas as you.
As different agencies compete for the attention of the same prospective customers and donors, you need software tools that keep track of what’s happening alongside your agency’s activities to avoid knocking on the same doors too often or having negative face-to-face experiences.
The best field marketing software helps agencies pinpoint business potential and defines the optimal areas for agents.
Great FM software accelerates training and education
In many countries and markets (especially The Netherlands), field marketing involves a lot of students, graduates, and young people who may be entering the job market for the first time.
Given how many people churn from year to year, you don’t want to waste time getting new hires up to speed on processes and best practices. If it takes three months to teach a fresh field marketer the ropes and they only stay on for a year, the return in value is only nine months.
The best field marketing software must be easy to pick up and use without extensive training. Not only should the tools be intuitive and match the right flows, but they should also be easy to explain.
Features like well-planned awards for certain tasks and milestones, smart and actionable tips, and onboard presentation materials can set agents up for better job performance and in-the-field success.
Great FM software comes from people who’ve been where you are now
Success in field marketing owes very little to any given special software feature. Instead, the best software blends into the background and optimizes all human-centered tasks. Flashy features or overcomplicated language can disrupt the marketing process.
For instance, imagine an agent in the middle of a pitch convincing a prospective client to subscribe who seemed hesitant to offer up their personal information. If the fields for inputting personal and financial information are complicated, it might cause friction.
Tools should have conversational language that mirrors the in-person experience and be equipped with typo checkers, especially for longer bits of information. Having a software developer that gets all the steps in a fluent customer journey helps create software that seamlessly fits in.
Great FM software is compliant and gets the most out of your data
Field marketing involves a vast amount of data, including the best routes for agents, agent performance, the financial prognosis of the agency, and a whole lot more. The best software tools make it easy to store and organize this data and leverage it to improve your processes continually.
More important than focusing on specific functionality, your field marketing software must have up-to-date security certifications like ISO27001 and ISO27701, especially when working with sensitive personal data. Compliance with the latest regulations concerning capturing and storing data is required.
While this may ramp up the price tag, investing in fully compliant software is much safer and engenders trust in potential clients, donors, and subscribers. Your clients want to know that their data is secure. Being ISO/GDPR certified gives you the security you need and the competitive edge to boot.
At the same time, you don’t want software that may work in any connectivity situation but asks for too much data from the potential customer or donor. There are web services for that kind of follow-up, so in-the-field tools should ask for only the required information (and have real-time validation built-in to inform agents if people input incorrect information).
Finally, optimized software tools should leverage historical subscriber and social data to make it easier for agencies and their agents to target promising neighborhoods and work in the best locations for their products and subscriptions.
Great FM software integrates with other tools
At the end of the day, the best software tools all integrate. All the tasks required to run successful field marketing operations should fall under one software suite with tools that use the same data.
Your optimal software suite should have tools to handle project management, hiring, accounting, invoicing, and everything in between. Optimally, software should come with tools to analyze and report on performance so that you can make better data-driven decisions about your campaigns and broader business goals and outcomes.
Most importantly, data should integrate with every tool in one unified suite and strengthen omnichannel customer acquisition, nurturing, and lasting support.