Optimising headcount – how many people do I need in my sales or field team?
If you’re managing a field sales or service team, you want all customers and prospects to receive appropriate coverage, the right mix of company products sold, and the field force to be stretched but not overworked.
Aligning these goals to achieve the correct sales and field force structure is the core of Tech4T’s business. Examining the current scenario, your customers, team capacity and workload, we answer such questions as:
- What is the best approach to take to size field sales teams?
- How can we cut out low potential visits and make more sales with our current headcount?
- How can we reduce headcount without impacting on customer coverage and service?
- Where geographically should we increase headcount to maximise new business opportunity?
- How can we ensure key customers get the right level of service to prevent encroachment from competitors?
- How should we structure the field force to best support the product knowledge customers’ demand?
- What impact will any changes to the field sales force have on sales support and marketing?
Sizing field sales teams – scenario modelling
It can be difficult to know if your team/s can fit in all the activity required to achieve revenue and/or customer service targets. Many things eat into the time available for actual visits – travel, administration, holidays, training, illness. Unless this is taken into account when planning activity, your team/s are likely to fall short of expectations.
Our approach to sizing a field sales team helps you define the optimum field force structure – whether a single national team, localised product-focused teams or a more complex structure comprising multiple teams that may incorporate key account and product specialists, new business development and sales/service support.
To understand if your field force sizing is accurate, and your team correctly positioned with sufficient capacity, Tech4T undertake workload-to-resource modelling. We work with you to review varying scenarios, adjusting parameters to arrive at the best possible solution for the size and structure of your field force, including cost and travel projections for the number of employees needed.
This will show you whether or not the current teams (field sales, product specialists, service team, brand ambassadors, field marketing, assessors, engineers…) are the right size and in the right locations to make the required number of visits.
Calculating workload for a field sales team
If you’re not sure of the total activity required to achieve your revenue and customer service objectives, accurate customer segmentation and activity planning will help you establish effective sales strategies and how to achieve them by defining the right number and frequency of visits, telephone calls and marketing communications.
The table below shows the impact on workload of reclassifying customers.
If you’re reorganising your field force or territories, a customer segmentation breakdown is essential to ensure restructuring will be effective.
Accounting for sales reps travel time
When Sizing field sales teams, travel time is often overlooked when calculating the number of people needed and this can have significant repercussions on the efficiency of any team. Field sales teams can easily spend one third of their time in the field driving – that’s over one week a month! Therefore improved scheduling and visit planning will quickly lead to increased sales.
The graph below shows inequalities that can easily arise when travel time is not taken into account in field force design.
Underestimate travel time and you could be employing too few people and not servicing customers effectively. Overestimate travel time, your headcount could be too high and people are expensive.
We appreciate that sizing field sales teams and positioning the reps just right is a complex task and well beyond territory mapping. From a technical point of view we use specialised analysis, geographic information and logistics software to run multiple sales team and travel scenarios, constantly adjusting input parameters. Equally important, our experienced team work closely with you throughout the whole process of sales and field force sizing to understand the nuances and detail of your business to arrive at the best possible solution.
Contact us today to see how we can help you improve your field sales team’s performance.