Few field managers have sufficient time to prepare for their next contact meeting with a ready-to-go agenda and contact reports. As a result, the contact meetings are only focused on a few urgent items and are mostly spent reacting to issues. Many important items can get missed in the process.
Having a set agenda and contact reports to back up your initiatives is imperative to turning contact meetings into proactive discussions that push important initiatives forward and formulate risk prevention measures. However, constructing a contact report can be time consuming and cumbersome, which is why many field managers are not able to take the time to complete them on top of their many other responsibilities.
A contact management system can help corporate and field managers provide the right tools to their dealers to ensure they are well prepared for their contact meetings. Having a system creates a standardized process for building contact meetings and reports. Kia Motors, for example, reduced their time spent on business planning from 2 to 3 hours to less than 30 minutes by adopting a contact management system. A system that provides visibility, ease of communication, and structure will lead to an effective contact meeting.
Management needs visibility in field operations across their network. A comprehensive system that allows the user to create and track action plans can help management monitor and track the progress of tasks assigned to their dealers. There should be reminders to follow up on tasks that are close to their due dates. These features provide accountability to see if your teams are actively working on their tasks in the field. By monitoring the field activities, you can see which dealers are falling behind and why. Identifying low performing dealers helps the corporate and field managers know where changes need to be made. The system will save time for the managers who are responsible for a field organization.
Clear communication is essential to ensure that field teams’ priorities are aligned with corporate initiatives. The field and dealers will focus on the priority areas. Some online systems can build performance reports that aid the field in identifying KPIs. Through these reports, management can determine what areas need to be improved. These opportunities of improvements can then be turned into an action plan to be discussed during the contact meeting. This makes it convenient for field managers to update assignment progresses during meetings with their dealers. Communication is improved as initiative messages are channeled through contact meetings and action plans, instead of being lost in an email inbox. This allows field managers to readily have corporate initiatives at hand to discuss with their dealers.
A contact meeting process provides a structure for field managers to follow when preparing for and conducting meetings. Without a contact process in place, it is challenging to provide valuable information to your dealers. By utilizing a user-friendly system, management can identify areas of improvements through reports and create and track action plans. A consistent process makes it easier to present corporate messages to the dealers and corporate in turn can receives feedback from the field in a standardized format. Kawasaki Motors implemented a cloud-based system that manages their entire contact report process from reviewing dealership KPI-based performance to the contact meeting write up and submission. A structured contact meeting process like Kawasaki Motor adopted allows corporate and regional management to help dealers reach their objectives.
A system that manages the entire contact meeting process enables corporate and field managers to help their dealers. Having a system makes prioritizing initiatives effortless with top priorities in place and ready for the field to present to their dealers. The field managers gain credibility with their dealers as they can provide data-based action plans. In the long run taking a proactive approach in contact meetings will improve the dealerships’ blue-sky value as well as a brand’s performance. As the value of the dealership goes up so does the credibility of the field and brand image of the company in a win-win-win situation.