These are the key questions any small to medium sized company manager must ask about his/her sales force, experts say. Successful sales force management really means controlling the way your sales force operates in order to gain the results you want.
The methods to accomplish sales success, as they say, “aren’t rocket science” but it is a discipline that needs to be inculcated into the business philosophy of the sales team. There are three major aspects of effective sales management: Coverage, Salesmanship and Qualified Prospects.
• COVERAGE: Are there enough sales calls being made to cover the territory and meet company marketing objectives? Is there a CALL-LOAD PLAN* in place? Are salespeople (reps or company salespersons) being applied to the territories in the correct density-to-identified opportunity ratio?
• SALESMANSHIP: Is the experience and training inputs (sophistication) directly related to the identified market opportunities?
• QUALIFIED PROSPECTS: Are the salespeople concentrating on only those customer persons who can make or significantly influence the purchasing decisions?
In order to have solid territory or customer sales coverage, there must be a CALL-LOAD PLAN developed. What is a CALL-LOAD PLAN? It’s simple but it works. The following formula pattern will set you in the correct and sales-manageable direction:
Call-Load Plan Formula
There are 365 days in one year. Weekends amount to 104 days per year, therefore, there are 261 days per year maximum for salespeople to work within. i.e., 261 days is their capacity per year.
What is a call? A call is a quarter of a capacity day. A full day is counted as four calls; a half day is two calls.
Therefore, the maximum capacity per salesperson in one year is four calls per day X 261 capacity days per year = 1044 calls/year total capacity.
There is another critical element to consider in quantifying capacity of a salesperson – the frequency of a sales visit.
So the elements of frequency plus duration of each visit provide the requirements to keep, increase or gain new sales on a customer basis.
• Call Frequency X call duration = Total calls/year required
Example: These are requirement judgments made by the salespersons and marketing management together.
Already, by this example, 588 calls are consumed (out of a total of 1044 calls available annually) within these nine accounts without considering travel time consumed.
Travel time to a specific account must count in as well. For example, if Account “A” requires a frequency of 12X per year and the sales person must take a day’s travel to get there and spend a full days time within Account “A” location and then cannot call on any other account, but return to home base, 3 days (or 12 calls) are used of his capacity. Therefore, 12 frequency X 12 calls = 144 calls per year to reach the strategic goal at that account.
Then there’s support resources and management visits that must be calculated in the same way.
One can see that, properly administered, a “grass-roots” CALL-LOAD PLAN can be a very strong tactical tool to assure plan achievement and to determine salespersons capacity. By capacity determination, Sales Managers can also determine when added salespersons are required as sales growth occurs.
In our next BUSINESS CORNER discussion, we will detail both the SALESMANSHIP and PROSPECT QUALIFICATION best practices.