Last week we prosecuted the importance of visit:drive time ratio for the on-the-road B2B sales team…with specific focus on the drive time denominator.  In fact I put out there for your consideration, 8 quick steps to calculate your sales rep/territory managers drive time between customers/prospects (sales team productivity).  Now to the numerator … visit time.

Somewhat obviously , the denominator – drive time is all about efficiency.  Within the constraints in which you operate, eg proportional mix of regional vs metro of the customer base, and the geographic concentrations of those customers, drive time is all about reduction, streamlining and efficiencies.  Visit time used to be about a mixture of efficiency and effectiveness, pre GFC.  Fair to say, in those good old days the efficiency part of the mix was probably dominant for many, ie do more and more visits and become more and more successful as a result.  Of more recent times, the visit duration consideration pendulum has swung towards effectiveness dominance.

Against the reality in which most mature industry B2B sales teams find themselves, ie trying to remain relevant and adding value in a world where the customer perceives they need and value the assigned sales team member less and less, more and more visits may no longer be the key to success for the mobile Sales Exec. For many such sales orgs, the key to success may, paradoxically lie in apportioning a smaller part of the valuable visit time afforded by the customer to the actual selling of widgets and wares.  Investing more and more time on adding value to the customer as the trusted advisor, executing The Challenger Sale principles, running partnership programs, are likely to be the keys to success.  And this requires a different mindset in the setting of visit duration benchmarks, when compared to the mindset required for “more and more visits = success” with the major airtime component being the flogging  of widgets and wares.

Add to that the overlay in regards to non-F2F mechanisms for accessing key customers, as it also relates to the ‘right” benchmark visit duration.  Come back next week to read more about that.