problem solving

Three problems a sales route planner can help solve

Combining a sales software with a route planning software makes perfect sense.
CPG brands and wholesalers operating a field sales team can benefit not only from more efficient route planning but also create prioritized visit schedules based on customer information and sales data from the CRM / ERP. But how do you know if your business needs one?

1.      Your sales reps aren’t meeting their targets

Below are three problems that a sales route planner can make a significant contribution in solving…

Have you noticed your field sales team keep missing their weekly and monthly targets? Are your merchandisers completing all their scheduled visits? If they’re not, your business is taking a hit.

Using a sales route planner, managers and reps alike can effectively plan their daily routes on a digital map, making sure they schedule the most relevant meetings first. This could mean they prioritize visiting stores they have not visited for a while (say over 3 weeks), or stores that have reduced order volume by more than 30% over the past month. Regardless of the business rationale, a route planner will provide you with the tools to prioritize customer visits.

Consider whether your field reps have the information they need to up-sell out in the field? Can they access the product data they need quickly and easily? Are they up-to-date with best-selling and out-of-stock items?

With real-time access to the in-stock and most popular items, they are in the perfect position to optimize shelf space and quickly replenish goods whilst they’re out in the field saving time and money. In addition, when your sales planning software is integrated with a product e-catalog, your reps can quickly pull up any product information the customer requests and instantaneously create another order right there and then.

Additionally, you can monitor your staff when out in the field, as every activity they perform can be geo-tagged and time stamped. So you will be totally in control.

2.      Your customers are showing their dissatisfaction           

Customer satisfaction is a metric closely monitored by all brands. No need to explain why. But what happens if things go the wrong way? What if revenue decreases and customers are no longer making repeat orders. If this is happening, it could indicate that your customers aren’t being visited often enough and are ordering through your competitors instead.

A route planner will help you plan daily routes and schedules so you can meet customers at the right time to address their ongoing concerns and provide that much needed personal touch to improve satisfaction and reduce churn.

A well-planned route not only means you visit more customers, it also means you meet the right customers at the right time.

3.      Your field reps are unhappy

When you don’t provide your reps with a way to optimize their routes, they will miss important meetings, be late with their deliveries and fall behind schedule making them demotivated. It will also likely affect their compensation as field sales staff salaries are closely tied to performance.

If you want your employees to be happy and content, you need to give them the right tools necessary to do their jobs.  A sales planner is such a tool.

Consider another issue – what if they get asked about previous orders whilst out in the field? Or asked about the next slot available for a shipment? Don’t let your reps feel powerless to answer customer questions when they’re with them face-to-face. Make sure you provide them access to back office data so they can better service customers.

Finally, integrating your sales route planner solution with a navigation app (such as Waze, Google Maps or Apple Maps) will help minimize driving time and maximize the number of stops. If you’re seeing any of the above warning signs in your business – it’s time to consider investing in a sales route planner.