Add mobile apps to your enterprise software offerings by partnering with with a field service software provider.
As an ERP value added reseller (VAR) and consultant, your customers trust you to provide sound and reliable business advice. And it’s in your best interest to keep their trust because the more faith customers have in your services, the more software you sell.
As experts in a cross-industry product like ERP systems, you know your product well, but because you work with many verticals, you don’t always have a complete understanding of all your clients’ industries, which is why it can be so beneficial to partner with experts in various vertical markets. When you have reliable software partners to which you can introduce your customers, you open unlimited market potential and make yourselves more reliable resources for customers who need specialized software or advice.
One industry in which partnering is especially useful is mobile or field force automation software. While you may be an expert in back-office ERP accounting software, many of your current and potential clients need mobile or field-based solutions to link the work they do outside the office to their back-office processes.
Help your clients with field force needs improve results by following these best practices for partnering with field force vendors. The question is, as businesses’ most trusted software consultants, how “VAR” will you go to help your field force customers achieve best results?
6 Best Practices for Partnering with Field Force Automation Software Vendors
Choosing a service management software company that’s a good fit for your company is an important decision. Here are several strategies you can set in motion to make sure you partner with a strong field force vendor and get the most new sales, greatest benefit to your company and employees, and provide the best support for your customers.
1. Research vendors’ integration into your ERP system
There are many different ways one system can integrated into another. You want to make sure that the partner you choose has a full integration with your ERP system so you can offer your customers a complete solution.
For example, integrations can transfer information one-way or two-way; obviously, you want the two-way version if possible. Companies can also claim to be integrated with an ERP system, but really only offer one or two connected features. A fully developed integration will have two-way information transfer for features like customers, equipment, site, parts, work orders, etc.
2. Enter into a formal written agreement
Once you’ve determined a field force company will be a valuable partner, don’t just assume everyone’s roles are understood. A formal written agreement, which outlines the terms of the partnership and the steps required for each of your joint efforts, clears up any confusion as to who’s doing what. Some points to address include:
- Term (length of agreement)
- Process for identifying and “registering” prospects
- Roles and responsibilities regarding sales and marketing efforts
- Ownership of the prospect relationship during the sales process
- Length of time for the prospect to be sold
- Use of each other’s logos and trademarks
- Use of brochures and other corporate marketing materials (and who pays for them)
- Commission to be paid (amount and timing of payment)
3. Ask the right questions
One of the most important things to look for in a mobile software partner is also one of the most basic: make sure they have a quality app. Here are a few questions to ask your partner candidates to see if their product is worthy:
- Does the mobile app work offline? If not, they may not be able to offer your field service clients working in remote locations the solution they need.
- Does the field service app run cross-platform? Consider the number of mobile platforms and devices available. If the app vendor you partner with can only run on one of those, you can only help a fraction of your clients looking for mobile.
- How configurable is the app? You want to see if the mobile app is flexible enough change as your customers’ needs dictate. With a configurable solution, you can assure your field service clients that the app will meet their needs now and in the future, even if those needs change.
4. Make sure the vendor has significant ERP experience
Don’t be lured in by a company with a fancy looking field service application, but no ERP experience. Sure, you want to offer a great mobile solution to your customers, but you also want someone who understands ERP systems on both the business and the technical sides. If you can partner with a field force automation software vendor who has both, you’ll set yourself up to offer a quality mobile solution with a company that knows how to work with and develop solutions for ERP clients.
5. Support joint marketing efforts
To get the most out of your partnership, you should target efforts to market your joint solutions to the right clientele. Work with your partner’s marketing department to come up schedules, calendars, and assignments for the following:
- Case studies
- Recorded demos
- Social media/ blog/ website
6. Participate in sales collaboration
Sales collaboration is one of the biggest benefits of partnering with a field force vendor, both for the company and for individual sales people. Stress that you want concrete terms and rewards for various levels of sales success. For example, if you refer 25 companies in one year, you should get a larger percentage of the profits than a VAR that only refers 10 companies.
Take Advantage of Field Force Software Vendors’ Mobile Capabilities
As we mentioned earlier, a mobile solution is something field-based customers are increasingly demanding in a business software solution. If you can’t offer advanced mobile options to support a large, complex field workforce, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to grow your market pool beyond office-based businesses.
Lucky for you, you don’t have to be experts in the ever-expanding field service industry. Simply find an awesome third party field force automation vendor and create a lucrative partnership by following the best practices above.
Once you’re running a stable partnership with joint marketing and sales efforts, you get more sales, your partner gains a larger market-base, and your customers receive better software and results. It’s a win-win-win!
Guide to Understanding the ERP VAR’s Opportunity in Field Service Management Software
Mobile advancements help field service organizations realize the business efficiencies long promised by field service management software. As their trusted ERP VAR, help them integrate mobile into their software solution.