Many B2B companies employ a primary strategy of direct sales to get their products and services to market. If yours is one of them, right now it is more important than ever to be sure they’re managing their sales territories efficiently.
I’ve been in sales, worked with salespeople and sales managers, and most of you know…that many if not most salespeople do not manage their territories optimally. And with the soaring costs of transportation, being sure that a rep is efficiently managing their “windshield time” has become very important.
I recently returned from a multi-state road trip that included stops in three cities. My main stop was my last, but I made sure that I had people to see on the way. Even though my final destination was a very important stop to say the least, I wanted to maximize my opportunities on my way. Your sales reps should be planning their sales calls as well. And if your reps are on a fixed car allowance, now is the time to review that amount, because I’ve seen first-hand what can happen. Reps will cut back on face-to-face calls. Yes, this is short-sighted but I’ve seen it happen. And if your reps are on a mileage reimbursement plan, to keep your own costs in line, now is the time to work with them to be sure they’re maximizing your travel expenditures. A few things you can do:
- Provide maps of their territories, or use Google Maps and have them show you each week what territories they’re covering, and who they’re seeing. Then at your next meeting see if it turned out as planned and discuss the outcome. Ask questions. Did they REALLY need to see that customer across the county/state/city right then, or could it have been handled another way, or waited until they are working that area.
- Break their territories into smaller territories and have them designate which day of the week they will work each “micro-territory”and ask them to stick to it. Then review the outcomes at your weekly meetings.
- Take a look at your territories and the breakdown of who covers what, how etc… There may be a better way to attack your territories. You may be better off hiring an additional rep or two, splitting up territories to cut down on travel expenses, and get better service at the same time.
- Meet with your salesforce to discuss these and any other changes. They will probably have some ideas you haven’t thought of about how to become more efficient. And excluding them from the process is…well you know what that leads to.
I know what I spend on travel and wanted to plant the seed in each of you to take a look at the same for your company. Good selling!