In the previous two instalments of this post, I prosecuted the importance of visit:drive time ratio for the on-the-road B2B sales team (sales team productivity)…with initial specific focus on the drive time denominator (click here to read the first post in this series), then turning focus to the numerator … visit time (click here to read the second post in this series). Now today, to dissect “visit time” into the face-to-face visit vs the scheduled remote contact.

For simplicity’s sake, let’s work on the basis that you have scientifically classified your customer base, using “current value” and “potential value” data (click here to read through the first of a detailed series of short posts about cv/pv data classification titled “The 5 tranches of data you need to generate and collect to run your annual Sales Team Optimisation”), producing a lower end sub – population.  Lets call them “cellar dwellers”. By mathematical break even definition, these customers should be allocated to out bound telesales/service…and not to the in-field sales team members.

Let’s say that your classification has produced “tier 1” and “tier 2” sub-populations of progressively higher cv and pv value compared to your cellar dwellers.  You may well have sub divided these two tiers into “sub-tiers” for even sharper in-field targeting.  Back to one of the critical points about drive time…it can be a productivity killer in the large capital cities if not well managed.  The use of the planned remote contact becomes increasingly important as part of the overall partnership plan and account management modus operandi.  Let’s work on the basis that you have already identified all the reasons that the in-field sales team members used to get sucked into reactionary customer visits and that the customers have now been educated that for such reactiveness they call customer service or the “technical service” team.  Not their allocated Account Manager/Sales Exec.

That leaves two broad types  of tier 1 +/- tier 2 customer visits/contacts.  Proactive and responsive.  Let’s first focus 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 one of 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 reason morphs into something more on-going, then the same basic rule of thumb applies.

That leaves the proactive kind of customer “valid business reason” for a contact/visit by the Sales Exec. Come back next week for that dissection.