Pocket PC Development Provides Sales Force Tool for Coca Cola
Competition is fierce in the soft drink industry. Behind the placement of every vending machine is a detailed strategy designed to identify and win the most attractive revenue-generating opportunities.
Coca Cola has embarked on an initiative to find the most effective portable selling tool to support its field sales force - the people who go out and prospect for new locations and customers. Sales personnel have access to a sophisticated customer management system running on their desktop PCs. However, when they went out on the road, they were still keeping track of their sales contacts using pen and paper. This was inefficient - it meant that information had to be entered twice, first by hand in the field, and then into the management system on the desktop when they got back to the office.
The objective was to automate the collection of information about sales calls, customers, and prospects. However, rather than equip each sales person with an expensive laptop PC, the company decided to investigate whether a more affordable Pocket PC handheld device could provide the necessary functionality.
In addition to the cost savings, the convenience of this approach was obvious. When you're on the go, it's much easier to point and click using radio buttons and drop down menus, rather than fumbling with the keyboard and mouse on a laptop. The goal of the Pocket PC development project was to create a sales management application that could integrate with the existing web based SQL Server business applications running on the desktop.
Pocket PC Development Provides a Customized Solution
Wang downloaded the Visual CE software, spent a few days with it, made a few calls for support, and within a few days completed the Pocket PC development effort. "I'm fairly computer literate, but not a programmer by any means. However, this was very simple to use - just point and click."
Using Visual CE, Wang developed online forms that are being used to capture customer data, competitive information, equipment surveys, employee demographics, and business opportunities. The information is captured using the Visual CE screens running on the Pocket PC, and then mapped to the customer management system running on the desktop.
"It's really quite amazing," he adds. "With the ability to point and click through the wizard windows, and a few minor adjustments, the application almost developed itself."
How It Works
The new system automatically keeps the sales force up to date with the latest information about customers and prospects. Rather than relying on pen and paper, they now have a current database full of customers on their Pocket PC. In addition, the data captured in the field allows Wang and his colleagues to develop more effective sales programs because they now have rapid access to detailed customer information.
The 21st Century Sales Force
The solution is currently being tested in the field, with plans for rolling it out to all 80 sales representatives across the Southern California division. Ultimately, it will be offered for use by the Coca-Cola sales force nationwide. Additional screen and modules are also planned.
"Using Visual CE, we've been able to make that $500 handheld device work like a $4000 PC," says Wang. "With over 80 salespeople in our division alone, you can get an idea of the savings."
Have a Government Question?
Call a SYWARE implementation expert at 617-497-1300 or
click here to email us.