Been thinking about your internal meaty sales process discussions around the setting of contact frequency for customers when you  annually classify them using new CV – pv <current value; potential value> data?  Our standard starting point  for players within the mature B2B supplier type industry would be…

  • Tier 1 = F2F monthly
  • Tier 2= F2F quarterly
  • Cellar dweller =once pa , either F2F or by phone.

We call these the planned or allocated visits.  We usually model to accommodate a smaller number of unplanned or unallocated visits.  We also build in some mathematical flexibility in Tier 1 visits between “loyals” and “cultivates” for the planned visit frequency to be tailored up or down around the monthly benchmark to allow for your position-in-market…market share and growth/decline in market share.

But, we are being increasingly asked to model into the sales process, phone contacts as a replacement for some proportion of the  F2F regime.  Historically, we consider them as a supplement  to the F2F regime, and mainly time neutral if they are done legally whilst driving.  To arrive at the best judgement call on this, I think that the first step is to internally debate what sort of on-going tasks, relationship management activities can be done by phone and what really needs to be done F2F.  The outcomes and deliberations will determine whether some activities conducted by Sales Execs, which are now considered to be appropriately executed as planned regular phone contacts , instead of F2F visits, may in fact be better handled by some other department or team.

Remember that the other contentious point can be around the rule that a company should not allow its reps to determine who to visit <or now visit/contact>  on a regular basis and how often.  We say that  the system should do that.  So when you are hosting these internal debates, be sure to include this topic too.  Allowing the team members the autonomy and freedom to take the lead on this AND to obfuscate productivity benchmarks with the introduction of planned phone contacts to replace some of the planned visits that used to be expected can be fraught with danger.

Come back next week to found out how and why.