Principle 5 of Effective Field Force Planning
We have now explored generalists and specialists in your sales team, the utilisation of your field sales team, developing fair and balanced territories and the link between recruitment and commuting.
It is now time to focus on frequency patterns and the impact they have on the travelling required to adhere to them when creating routes.
It is absolutely right that some customers are worth visiting more often than others, but how granular do you need to go on this? We often see data where a company’s reps have 8 or 9 different frequency patterns. Trying to create a sensible route around these types of contact strategies is very challenging, and often illogical, with calls right next to each other not being made in sync. The inevitable impact being much more driving than necessary.
Our experience tells us that the revenue benefits of having more than 3 different frequency patterns are far outweighed by the travel costs (both in time and fuel) incurred in implementation. As an example, if you are operating an 8-week cycle, is there any real benefit from having weekly, fortnightly, monthly and 8-weekly visits, or would having, say, just weekly, fortnightly and 8-weekly visits have any significant impact on revenues? If not, make the move to the latter, cutting your fuel costs and enabling your reps to increase the number of calls they do every day.
Increasing call frequency patterns increases travel time between visits by 19-67%
Our penultimate entry in this series looks at the impact of a rigid schedule on drive time.