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Territory optimisation: Levelling the field sales playing field with technology

Wednesday 23 May 2018 Data Insight & AnalyticsField Force Planning

Lee Hawkes's picture
By Lee Hawkes

Territory optimisation is all about field sales reps being in the right place, with the ability to deliver more calls with less driving. But to create a drive time efficient, balanced, territory structure, planners must look beyond manual methods and simple postcode allocations for the answer… 

In a perfect world, each of your field sales reps would be working exactly the same hours, consistently hitting their targets and doing so with minimal driving.

In reality, there’s no field sales team in the world that can manage this level of perfection, or indeed balance everything they need to do on their own. 

terriotry

Manual methods are highly subjective, time consuming, and often create significant Inefficiencies. For example, a manually created territory structure (with no drive time factored in), will probably have:

  1. Reps living in the wrong locations  
  2. Unnecessary driving time  
  3. Imbalanced territories 

With drive time efficient, workload balanced territories; your field sales team’s overall call coverage greatly increases. This means less time driving, and more time with clients to hit your KPIs and develop new business opportunities.

the average sales territory imbalance stands at around 18%

Workload imbalance 

The reality is that driving is unproductive, expensive, and results in fewer calls being made than could otherwise be achieved. 

It is also a contributing factor to  why the average sales territory imbalance stands at around 18%. 

To put that into perspective, overworked territories could be trying to squeeze in as much as six days work into a five-day week. Compare that to team members who are underworked and only working four out of five days in reality and plugging the gaps with low value visits, and you’ve got a potential recipe for disaster. 

The only effective way to redress this imbalance is by using applications that can make precise calculations based on captured information such as where field sales reps live, the road network, call locations, visit frequencies and visit durations. 

It’s a level of accuracy which simply can’t be achieved with manual methods. 

With the right software and data at your fingertips, you can automatically create territories that are workload balanced and drive time compact. 
 

Missed sales opportunities 

Territory imbalance also has a very real effect on the bottom line. 

Imbalanced territories can lead to many customers (both current and potential) being overlooked by reps who are overstretched. Likewise, if a territory is underworked, field sales reps that could be making more calls and selling more, simply aren’t doing so. 

Fix an imbalanced territory structure and you’ll increase call coverage by 3%.

Fixing an imbalanced territory structure can increase call coverage by 3%

Effect on team members 

It’s not only revenues which are affected by imbalanced territories and too much driving. Unnecessary pressure on field sales reps and unachievable targets in the time they have can create a perfect storm of dissatisfaction, feelings of unappreciation, and long commutes which create a poor work-life balance. 

This can result in high staff turnover, valuable knowledge and skills being lost, and underserved customers. The cost of your field sales team is already high, so whatever you can do to limit staff turnover will help your bottom line. 
 

Optimised territories demand sophisticated software

Territory division in field sales is quite literally a balancing act, and requires sophisticated algorithms to manage the complex combination of geography, customer locations, and rep locations. 

The penalties for getting it wrong are not only negative impacts on the bottom line but also client relationships. 

CACI’s InSite FieldForce software can help you achieve a better balance.  You can not only achieve a balanced and efficient territory, but you can also significantly reduce drive time, increase staff retention, and grow revenues. 

Like many other organisations, your territories could be 18% imbalanced. Use our calculator tool to find out if you could increase your call coverage by 3% and do more with less. 

territory

Further Information

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Levelling the field sales playing field with territory optimisation

Territory Optimisation