Last post, we lingered on the two broad types of tier 1 +/- tier 2 customer visits/contacts. Proactive and responsive visits/contacts. First focusing on responsive…when the customer initiates contact of a welcome nature, eg a business opportunity. Here is the rule of thumb. If the request is a one-off and ad hoc nature, and cannot be incorporated into the next visit in the on-going face – to – face visit program, then it should be handled by phone or skype. By the Account Manager/Sales Exec. If this opportunity morphs into something more on-going, then the same basic rule of thumb applies. That being, if “this valid business reason” becomes programmable and integrable into the existing visit program, then do so.
That leaves the proactive kind of customer “valid business reason” for a contact/visit by the Sales Exec. Honouring “trusted advisor” and “the challenger” principles and rationale, and assuming the stock standard monthly visits for tier 1 customers in most industrial mature B2B sales environs, determine which of your visit programs/streams/reasons actually require on site presence vs which don’t (sales team productivity). For example, conducting a client audit will require on-site presence. Conducting the quarterly business review may not.
Review each of your partnership visit program activity streams accordingly. It may well be that the monthly visit to the tier 1 customer may lose no task execution or relationship effectiveness by morphing to quarterly face to face, with two out of every three monthlies being conducted by skype (next best medium) or phone (for those customers that do not/can not skype). The efficiencies gained in reducing drive time may make the business case compelling.