Tech4T +44 (0)1733 890790 https://www.tech4t.co.uk Experts in Territory, Location & Field Force Optimisation Thu, 09 May 2019 15:36:57 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.3 Help Your Franchisees Be the Best in the Business https://www.tech4t.co.uk/2019/05/franchise-territory-maps/ Fri, 03 May 2019 16:32:42 +0000 https://www.tech4t.co.uk/?p=11447 Supporting Your Franchisees Supporting and motivating your Franchisees is key to a successful franchise business. You want to give your franchisees the best opportunities for them to maximise revenue and sustain growth. But let’s be honest, it isn’t always simple. A major factor, however, is getting your […]

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Supporting Your Franchisees

Supporting and motivating your Franchisees is key to a successful franchise business. You want to give your franchisees the best opportunities for them to maximise revenue and sustain growth. But let’s be honest, it isn’t always simple. A major factor, however, is getting your franchise territory maps right.

Sizing Territories Correctly

In this context, what is meant by right? The answer is basically territories that contain a sufficient number of prospective customers to establish a thriving business who also fit the right profile for your brand. And these potential customers need to be easily accessible whether you travel to them or they to you. You don’t need a motorway running through the middle of your territory making access difficult for instance!

Determining Customer Profiles

So, what’s a customer profile? This is simply a description of the type of people most likely to buy your product or service. Such as families with children aged 5-18, people over 65, businesses of a specific type and size and so on.

Some franchisors are very clear on who their best customer types are. For others, an analysis of customers, trading area and the demographics of that area are really beneficial in establishing concrete customer profiles. Such analysis can also help to establish the numbers required in a territory to make a viable business. This information can be married up with the types and frequency of marketing and sales activity undertaken by the franchisor which will give potential investors reliable insight into the amount of activity required to establish a successful business.

Creating Franchise Territory Maps

So, once you know your customer profiles and how many prospects are needed in a territory, what’s next? How do you actually design and make the territories?

You need to put together your customer profile and numbers needed with the actual people living in an area and effectively create territories around them. This is complex as you need to take into account:

International Territory Map with Florida enlargement.

Tech4T’s Franchise Mapping System – Territory Runner. International Territory Map with Florida enlargement.

  • Information on the population, often census data or business statistics dependent on who you sell to
  • The level of geography that will form the ‘building blocks’ of your territories, which are frequently postcode sectors in the UK or 5-digit zip codes in the USA
  • Attractors drawing footfall to your location such as leisure facilities and stores of a particular type (up-market or budget for instance) if you operate a site-based business such as a restaurant, takeaway or gym chain
  • Other information relevant to your business such as the locations of local schools or healthcare facilities

To pull all this information together really requires a mapping system of some description, not to mention the necessary skill. Using a mapping system could be compared to using Microsoft Word though – whilst you can write with it, it doesn’t make you a world class author!  That’s why many franchisors prefer to rely on the expertise of a professional mapping company to create a territory network for them. It gives them access to experts with many years’ experience in designing and mapping territories (and the associated data analysis). And can prevent difficult problems such as who can trade where arising in the future.


”We couldn’t grow our franchise without the territory borders as it alleviates any argument about venues, it also gives us a structure to prove to buyers that the model is set in a certain way”

Dan McVerry, Sweaty Mama Ltd


Substantiating Territory Value

Franchise territory mapping with venues plotted

Territory map of franchise territories with venues plotted. Easily determine which venue is in which territory.

Territories frequently have the same investment value within a franchise, so it’s only fair to ensure all franchisees have equal sales opportunities. If you take into account the factors outlined above, you can substantiate the basis on which your territories have been designed.

Although, as we do not live in a perfect world, equal territories are not always possible. In which case territories can be graded (indexed) to take into account any inequalities in terms of sales opportunity. This gives you a methodology to adjust the purchase price whilst keeping investment costs fair.

Supporting your Franchisees

Territory with colour coding (heat mapping) to show high concentrations (in red) of target market within territory.

Once a franchisee has invested in your franchise you want them to have a positive start to working with you. The right mapping system can help here by guiding your franchisee to the best areas to focus marketing and sales activity on.

  • Easy sharing of interactive territory maps lets a franchisee explore their territory
  • Zoom access to target market information gives them the close-up picture
  • Heat mapping (colour shading) shows high and low concentrations of your target market
  • Exporting postcodes shows the best areas to target local digital marketing, canvassing or leaflet drops

If all your territories have equal sales opportunity, as time goes on you’ll be able to compare performance knowing that all your franchisees have the same starting point in terms of potential customers. You’ll be able to identify any under-performers who may need extra support and those high performers who have developed best practice. As can be seen, territories are the backbone of your franchise organisation. Getting the design and size right at the outset is crucial to the long-term future of your franchise.


”Tech4T have worked in partnership with Mac Tools since 2016 providing a custom mapping solution for our franchise network both in the UK and Republic of Ireland.  Tech4T’s consultative approach and understanding of our business goals has given Mac flexible mapping software which supports both expansion into new regions and growth in our franchisees’ territories.

Ongoing support and training has been of a high standard and has enabled us to embed the Territory Runner eXplorer system into our daily work lives allowing us to support our franchisees to build successful businesses.”

Lesley Cobb, Franchise Operations & Recruitment Manager, Stanley Black and Decker


 Tech4T has over 25 years’ experience in franchise territory mapping. We are experts in the building of innovative customised Territory Runner systems designed specifically for franchise territory mapping and management. Our clients range from start-ups to international franchise companies with global Territory Runner systems. Contact us to see if we can help you help your franchisees become the best in the business.

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Postcodes and Mapping https://www.tech4t.co.uk/2019/04/postcodes-and-mapping/ Thu, 04 Apr 2019 11:25:15 +0000 https://www.tech4t.co.uk/?p=11207 Postcodes Postcodes. We all know what they are and how to use them for addresses in day to day life. But do we ever think where these humble sets of numbers and letters come from? And the myriad of other ways in which they can be used? […]

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Postcodes

Postcodes. We all know what they are and how to use them for addresses in day to day life. But do we ever think where these humble sets of numbers and letters come from? And the myriad of other ways in which they can be used?

For instance, they are vital to Tech4T’s work. They are at the heart of much of our postcode mapping for sales territories, franchise territories and location planning services. So, we thought we’d tell you about the history of them, why they’re used in mapping and how they bring great benefits to business.

The History

Postcodes as we know them today, were introduced in 1965 to organise and make the process of delivering mail easier. Although they were introduced only 53 years ago, the concept has been around since the 19th century, when people used post towns and names to send mail to the correct recipients. The volume of mail being sent began to increase in the 1850’s, so it was decided that a more organised system needed to be put into place. This started with the splitting of London into EC and WC. This approach filtered out throughout the country, and by 1934, major cities such as Liverpool, Birmingham, Manchester and Edinburgh were split into numbered districts.

But soon this wasn’t enough. The volume of sent mail continued to grow, so it was decided that a new solution was needed. The Royal Mail introduced a mechanical sorting system to make the process of sorting easier. This meant they needed to make addresses machine readable. A codal system was first introduced into Norwich and proved to be successful. Due to its success, Labour Minister, Tony Benn announced the 8-year programme to extend the new postcode system to the whole of the UK, starting in Croydon in 1966 and finishing with the re-coding in Norwich in 1974.

For more information on the History of Postcodes, visit the Postal Museum Website.

The Structure of Postcodes

CB = Postcode Area – 124 in the UK

CB2 = Postcode District – roughly 2,480 in the UK, usually 20 districts in each area

CB2 = Postcode Sector – around 9,000 in the UK

CB2 1RB = Unit Postcode – circa 1.8 million in the UK with around 15 addresses in each

The graphics below show a Postcode Area split down to District Level and then Sector Level. Click to see more detail:

Cambridge Postcode Areas Cambridge Postcode Districts Cambridge Postcode Sectors

Postcodes – Building Territories and Siting Stores

As mentioned, Postcodes are an important part of our work. That’s because Census data and other demographic and business datasets can be linked to postcode Unit Postcodesboundaries. Demographics can show all sorts of information about the population so this can help companies pick the best areas to sell their products and services in. We mainly use Postcode Sectors when creating territories or siting a new outlet in the UK. This is because the size of a postcode sector is small in comparison to  postcode areas or districts so it gives greater flexibility in designing territory boundaries. Depending on requirements, however, we can also use unit postcodes for location planning. As you can see from the graphic on the right, this shows street level.

Creating Territories

The first thing we need to understand is the type of people (or businesses) someone wants to sell to. We call that a customer profile (an ideal customer). Some companies have several ideal customer profiles. We then match the customer profiles to relevant demographic data such as children aged 5-18 or over 65’s for instance. There is plenty of choice. There are around 17,000 variables in the Census alone and many open source and commercial datasets available.

The next step is to join Postcode Sectors together to form territories. How many sectors to join? That will depend on two things:

  • The number of people with the right customer profile a business needs in each territory to make enough sales
  • The number of people with the right profile in each postcode sector

Fortunately, we can count the number of ideal customers by postcode sector as we join them together to get the right number. Territories will vary in size geographically, particularly urban areas compared to rural ones. Bigger is not always better! What’s important is the number of potential customers in each territory and easy means of travel to get to them (or for them to get to you).

Using Postcodes to Site Stores

Many businesses gather customer address information, either as part of the sales process or through marketing offers. This can be combined with demographic and postcode data to calculate how far people are prepared to travel to a store or restaurant. This is called the catchment area around an outlet, which can be viewed on a map as a band around your outlet with, for example, 10 or 20 minute drive times or walk-times.

Once you have established your catchment area, demographics will give you information about the people living in them. For instance, do they live in mainly affluent areas or is bargain hunting more important to them? This is all great information when deciding on product lines and your marketing messages.

When you’re opening new stores, you can use postcodes and demographics to analyse and compare your stores and use this information when selecting a site for a new one. Simply replicate the characteristics of the best performing stores in other areas around the UK.

We hope that this has given you some insight into why postcodes can be so important to a business and the way in which we get the most out of them for our clients.

Tech4T are experts in applying location intelligence to territory mapping and location planning, delivered in our customised Territory Runner international mapping systems.

For more information on our services or systems please call 01733 890790 or send us an enquiry.

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Think Twice Before Recruiting A New Sales Team Member https://www.tech4t.co.uk/2019/02/think-twice-before-recruiting-a-new-sales-team-member/ Thu, 14 Feb 2019 17:15:08 +0000 https://www.tech4t.co.uk/?p=11095 So, you have a member of your sales team leaving and the amusing leaving card is being passed around for signing. You’re thinking you now need to scramble and look for a replacement, trying to recollect where you sourced previous candidates from. Ask yourself this: “do I actually need to […]

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So, you have a member of your sales team leaving and the amusing leaving card is being passed around for signing.

You’re thinking you now need to scramble and look for a replacement, trying to recollect where you sourced previous candidates from. Ask yourself this: “do I actually need to recruit a replacement?”. 

Even if you do, are you absolutely sure which is the best geographic location to provide the optimal coverage, taking into account future sales potential?

You remember how it goes… After a few months of reading CV’s, several rounds of interviews, reference checks and all the other paperwork you find a candidate that you think can do the job and should be a good fit. You make a decision and cross your fingers. The candidate has to work their notice and that adds to the delay.

The invoice from the agency arrives for several thousand pounds (or more) and then you have to wait for the new member to get up to speed and start bringing in results. Very expensive and time consuming, and you’re taking a gamble the chosen candidate will work out.

 

What’s the alternative to recruitment?

Sometimes recruitment isn’t the correct business decision.

Carrying on as before (sales person leaves… recruit new sales person) is a default behaviour that you assume gives the best cost/benefit. Consider these factors first:

  • Your remaining sales team
  • Their sales territories and allocations
  • Your evolving products & services
  • Your customers and influencers (you do know who your influencers are and where they are located don’t you?), past and present and the allocation of them amongst your sales staff

You may not need to replace that member of sales at all. It may be best recruiting in a different geographic location. You should match resources to the current needs and the untapped potential. By doing a comprehensive review exercise you will be surprised to learn how much more can be achieved, often at a lower cost.

Maximising the effectiveness of the Sales Team

How many of the following sound attractive to you?

  • Field Sales Team achieving more visits per day.
  • More focused sales effort, achieving the maximum results.
  • The right balance between prospecting and servicing existing clients, objectively analysed not based on your sales staff’s subjective opinions.
  • Which customers should be visited, when and on what frequency.
  • Whether you should be: increasing, redeploying or reducing headcount.
  • Quantify the ideal mix of Field Sales, Sales Support and Internal Sales for your business.
  • Understand where your competitors are positioned within the sales territories.
  • Combining disparate Field Sales teams.
  • Strategies for entering new markets and launching new products.

Doing more, with less

To paraphrase Peter Druker “to manage, first you must measure” – if your business hasn’t done a strategic sales planning review exercise in recent memory (or at all) then you’re missing out on huge potential.

If you’re thinking of recruitment, or suspect your sales team could be achieving more than they are then call 01733 890 790 or contact us for details on our Strategic Sales Planning analytic services.

 

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A Guide to Territory Mapping https://www.tech4t.co.uk/2018/10/territory-mapping-sales-franchise/ Fri, 12 Oct 2018 15:38:26 +0000 https://www.tech4t.co.uk/?p=10719 Why is Territory Mapping a Challenge? Often people don’t attempt territory mapping because it’s considered a tedious process. Mainly this is because of the way it’s been done in the past. Using paper-based Google maps and highlighter leaves a lot of room for error, not to mention […]

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Why is Territory Mapping a Challenge?
UK Territory Mapping With Customers Plotted

UK Territory Mapping With Customers Plotted

Often people don’t attempt territory mapping because it’s considered a tedious process. Mainly this is because of the way it’s been done in the past.

Using paper-based Google maps and highlighter leaves a lot of room for error, not to mention muddle.

You can’t see how many customers are in an area nor how many target homes or companies each territory owner will have. Neither are there any business statistics or demographic information to guide the team where best to target within their territories.

Mapping Software

Basic mapping software is a big improvement in mapping territories but far from perfect. Generally you have to fit your way of working to the software. The background cartography may be inflexible and difficult to apply to your team. Customer updates are often difficult with customer visit history being overwritten.

Territory Optimisation: A Better Way to Do Territory Mapping

Effective sales territory  and franchise territory mapping is a mix of skills, the right data and specialised software. Get these right and your team will be visiting the customers and prospects most likely to buy. They’ll also be moving around their territories more efficiently so can fit in more visits. This will impact sales performance for the better. So to delve into the factors involved, review the steps below.

1.       Select the right target market demographics or business stats

2.       Calculate how many high quality customers are needed to sustain a salesperson or business

3.       Calculate the workload necessary (number of visits, follow-ups) to bring in the sale

4.       Look at the logistics – can a territory owner realistically make the necessary visits

5.       Size territories by visit workload in each territory (for sales) or target demographics (for franchise)

6.       Assign the team and allocate current customers and prospects

Let’s look at these points in a bit more detail.

Territory Mapping and Target Market

Territories "Heat-Mapped" to Show Target Market Levels - Homes Owned Outright (no mortgage)

Territories “Heat-Mapped” to Show Target Market Levels – Homes Owned Outright (no mortgage)

When mapping territories and sizing them, you need to start with your target market.

How big is it? What are the different groups (segments) within it? What do you know about them. If you’re selling to other businesses, what is their profile? Consider business size, type, sales value and future potential.

If targeting consumers, is home market value important? Home ownership v renters. What about income levels. Do you sell to families, young singles or the elderly?

Customer Segmentation

The more information you have about your current customers the better. You’ll understand the type of customers you’re most successful with and find it easier to identify higher quality potential new customers.

But remember that products and services all have a core set of higher quality “best” customers – your offering must solve their problem or be something they aspire to own or a service they would benefit from; this must be coupled with sufficient means to make a purchase.

This is why accurate targeting and segmentation is so important. If your sales team or franchisees are clear what a “best” customer looks like, visits can be better targeted, the close rate should increase and sales made are likely to be of higher value.

If you need help grouping your customers into viable segments, identifying higher value types and geographic “hot-spots”, Tech4T’s analysis services will deliver the benefits you need.

 

How Many Customers?

Once you’ve defined your target market and high quality customers, you need to work out how many customers your business requires to be successful (actual and potential). Your business objectives will drive the numbers – for example, sales and product targets, capturing market share, combating specific competitors.

However, it is unwise to look only at this side of the equation without considering the workload logistics and team size and skills necessary to achieve your business objectives.

Logistics

Logistics are important to ensure good sales coverage is achievable across a territory, country or region without being cost prohibitive to service.

So how many visits realistically can someone make in a day in your business? You need to take a wide view here and answer a number of questions.

  • What are the types of visit your team make – new prospect first visit, prospect follow-ups, regular customer visits, specialist visits with a technical expert and so on
  • How long are the different visit types – prospect first visits or technical expert visits are likely to be longer than a regular catch-up call for instance
  • How much repeat business is likely
  • What is the average travel time between calls
  • What is the typical sale close rate (this will drive the number of prospect visits)
  • How many days in a week/month/year  are not available for selling due to holidays, sickness. exhibitions and training
  • How much time does each salesperson spend on administration
  • Do you need to allow time for each salesperson to set their own appointments

One other thing to bear in mind. If you use an indoor team for appointment setting, how do you determine which salesperson is nearest and when is the best time to visit? Your indoor team need to see where your salespeople will be geographically so they can avoid making appointments that result in your teams criss-crossing territories several times a week. This wastes valuable selling time.

So once you’ve got a clear target market and a firm sales plan logistically capable of implementation, you can then start looking at mapping territories.

Calculating the ideal number of customers and salespeople required to achieve sales and product objectives is an iterative process. Tech4T can test potential coverage scenarios for your consideration.

Sizing Your Territories

Territory Mapping - London

Territory Mapping – London

Customer numbers, territory size and number of salespeople are all inter-dependent. You should design geographic territory  boundaries based on the workload needed to visit a pre-defined number of ideal potential customers. You’ll also need to take account of the road network and the terrain.

If a territory is too big geographically, a salesperson or franchisee will never be able to cover all of it, competitors can gain a foothold and income is lost to the company. You’ll miss sales targets if territories are too small as there won’t be enough good prospects. The right size territories are essential so you can set stretch but achievable targets.

Mapping Your Territories

To map your territories, you’ll  need to work out where your ideal customers are located – not all areas will be equal. Get it wrong, and you can waste a lot of money marketing and selling in areas where your market is thin on the ground.

For this exercise you’ll most likely need a territory mapping system with the right postal boundaries and demographic/business data in to match your target market. You can then size territories properly with enough (but not too many to handle) customers and prospects matching the descriptions of your high quality customers e.g. xx families with young children, xx businesses with over 5 employees in industry sectors xxx.

With the right system able to take account of the road network and terrain, your team should also have equal sales opportunities and achievable workloads. This all helps to keep your team motivated and stable. It’s also easier to spot salespeople in need of extra support.

Tip:Tech4T can design optimised territories for you, build cost-effective territory mapping solutions with just the data you need to do the work yourself or a combination – we design the territories, you have a system to make adjustments.

Assigning Territories & Allocating Customers

With mapping systems becoming ever more sophisticated, why rely on spreadsheets and static maps for sales planning and appointment setting. Centralised and individual planners can carry out these tasks more easily with dynamic maps. These show territory boundaries and ownership, customer and prospect data and overall customer “hot-spots” (ideal if “door knocking”).

Modern systems enable sales teams to:

  • Zoom into territories, view customer/prospect locations
  • View customer segments and the underlying demographics/business statistics
  • Easily share maps instantly with colleagues
  • Select who to visit in close proximity to each other
  • Automatically create the best route to get round
  • Create weekly or monthly work zones

 

For more guidance on planning territories, check out our Free Sales Calculators

Effective territory mapping is a complicated subject. The points above should give you a steer on the factors impacting team success. However, please give us a call on 01733 890 790 if you would like help to effectively implement optimised territory mapping in your company.

 

Tech4T – Experts in sales team and franchise territory mapping services and customised software. Our Territory Runner systems are used worldwide for improved sales planning and operations and franchise territory sales. We are also exceptionally skilled in merging internal company data with new demographic and business stats, blending the two together to give you the insights needed to drive your business performance.

 

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Generate more selling time with visit scheduling and a route plan https://www.tech4t.co.uk/2018/08/route-plan-route-planner/ Fri, 03 Aug 2018 11:08:03 +0000 http://www.tech4t.co.uk/?p=2023 Generate more selling time with visit scheduling and route planning In logistics, company profits rely on being able to deliver the right goods to the right point in the quickest, shortest route possible. Without robust delivery scheduling and a route plan logistics operations would collapse. Many companies […]

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Visit scheduling and routing helps sales people

Generate more selling time with visit scheduling and route planning

In logistics, company profits rely on being able to deliver the right goods to the right point in the quickest, shortest route possible. Without robust delivery scheduling and a route plan logistics operations would collapse.

Many companies that employ a field-sales force overlook their logistics, not delivery trucks in this case but field based sales managers.

With a little thought and logic applied, Visit Scheduling and Route Planning can be used to make better use of your available selling time ensuring that a sales visit has the best chance of generating a positive outcome.

More visits, smarter conversations.

Assuming that our sales territory structures are right i.e everyone in the sales team has a clearly defined geographic patch that doesn’t overlap, let’s look at how visit scheduling and routing help maximise a sales manager’s time and reduce their travel or time spent driving.

To achieve a robust visit schedule and route plan for each sales manager we look at 3 areas.

Sales rep planning visit scheduling and routing
Available Selling Time.

There are only so many hours in any given day a sales manager can be in front of customers. Calculating and understanding your available selling time per head of resource is the first place to start.

Take the time to understand their working hours and what this looks like throughout the quarter or year. This step needs to take into account holidays, office planning days, training, illness etc.

An over estimate of the available selling time per sales manager will lead to targets that are physically not possible to meet. An under estimate may mean that expectations are set too low for a sales manager or sales team.

Customer & Prospect Priorities

Not all customers are equal and just because a sales manager visits a customer on a certain frequency doesn’t necessarily mean he or she should! In previous posts we’ve looked at how using a recency, frequency value segmentation analysis can help determine the different tiers of customers you may have.

The sales team’s daily activity is a constant juggling act, consider;

  • Seeing the right customers in the right frequency to keep the competition at bay, safeguarding your order book.
  • Identifying which accounts present the best opportunity for growth and warrant a field sales manager.
  • Transferring low opportunity, high maintenance accounts to a cheaper telesales channel.
Hunters, Farmers or a mix of the two..?

When it comes to prospecting are you trying to build a field sales of  “hunters”,  “farmers” or a mix of the two? Knowing how much of your available selling time per sales head you would like to assign all help to drive the daily visit schedule and ultimately the sales persons route plan.

Call Frequency

Finally the call frequency, a question in two parts; Visit scheduling and route planning

  • How often do certain types of customers and prospects need to be seen throughout the year to generate the outcome you desire?
  • In a face to face sales engagement how long does a typical meeting or visit last?


The output – What does my Monday look like?

The final step is to make sense of the above using a routing engine. A routing engine will take into account all of the sales visits you wish to make and will calculate the most efficient way of traveling to and between sales visits.

A good routing engine should take into consideration, multiple visits, overnight stays, road speeds at peak times,  average speed by road type, rest breaks etc.

Once the calculations are complete a list can be given to a sales person via an excel file for example showing him or her exactly the activity required per day.

Clients who have used visit scheduling and route planning to schedule activity in this way have achieved significant gains. More sales visits, improved employee morale, better customer engagement to name a few.

To see how visit scheduling and routing benefits our clients please visit our client case studies section or please do get in touch with us to find out more.

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Does your field force deliver for your business … and your customers https://www.tech4t.co.uk/2018/07/field-force-deliver-business-customers/ Sat, 14 Jul 2018 14:27:00 +0000 http://www.a9ksystems.co.uk/tech4t/?p=3296 Does your field sales force deliver for your business ….. and your customers? Many organisations view sales force optimisation as a cost reduction exercise. Hardly surprising, when there are significant cost efficiencies available. But focus on cost alone is to overlook the size of the opportunity prize […]

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Does your field sales force deliver for your business ….. and your customers?

Many organisations view sales force optimisation as a cost reduction exercise. Hardly surprising, when there are significant cost efficiencies available. But focus on cost alone is to overlook the size of the opportunity prize – and to ignore the needs of the customer! These organisations will nevertheless claim to be “customer-centric”. Really?

Additionally, sales structures and territories may well be “broken” after years of recession. The time has come to gear up for growth to meet the changing needs of your customers before your competitors do.

Aligning your structures and territories with the needs of your business and your customers is one of the most powerful things you can do. Monitoring the activity of your team in the field and driving improved performance can then deliver competitive advantage, achieving a step change in the productivity of your field sales team. So, how should you approach this?

Start with a single customer view

Start with the customer in mind, rather than your sales force.

Check firstly whether you have a clear view of the value of each customer. Often we see duplicated customer IDs with different records for the same customer, where for example a call centre deals with different decision makers in the same organisation to those with whom your key account managers or sales reps have a relationship. Get the full picture by aggregating and de-duping your customer and transaction databases.

Segmentation analysis and scoring will identify and prioritise your most valuable customers and prospects. Understanding the needs of each segment will enable you to develop a value proposition and contact strategy that delivers for the customer in the most cost-effective way.

Customers can then be mapped and external data such as prospects visualised:

Mapping customers

Customer and prospect mapping

Target service delivery based on the needs of the customer and potential profitability

Some customers don’t need expensive face-to-face interaction and a change to a more cost effective telesales channel may actually increase satisfaction and profitability. Others may be happy with a “light touch” relationship with sales visits only when required. Key accounts will need regular relationship management and sales visits, whilst customers with higher potential than being achieved may benefit from more visits than their current sales would suggest. Customer buying behaviour should influence contact strategy.

Align your sales territories and structure

Coming out of recession is a good time to review whether your current sales structure and territories are “fit for purpose” Isn’t it time you optimised your field sales force structure and aligned your territories with your commercial objectives? Do the right thing for your customers before your competitors do, winning high value clients you were too busy to service. Tech4T can help you set your sales team up for success 

Get in control – monitor field team activity and stretch performance

Developing a single customer view, segmenting your customers, targeting service delivery and optimising your sales structure and territories are all things customer-centric organisations should do.

It’s an easy mistake to make, to stop there without making a step-change in your ability to monitor and direct the activity of your sales team in the field. This is what world-class organisations do well – and you can learn from this – developing this capability doesn’t need to cost the earth.

Being smarter about how you acquire, use and interpret the information you already have (or could have) will add huge value and could be the difference between average performance and exponential growth through competitive edge.

Tech4T offer a real-time cloud based sales planning tool and customer database – Territory Runner – to allow the field team to make the optimum visits to the right customers at the right time.

Capture data in the field

Tech4T’s Territory Runner runs on tablets enabling field data capture. This enables you to report on and visualise time spent on different activities by your sales team. KPIs give you better Management Information to direct team activity and influence performance, monitoring and comparing performance by geography and customer segments.

Customer targeting and visit planning

Territory Runner – customer/prospect targeting, visit planning, data capture in the field

Data flows in both directions, Territory Runner delivers customer information such as sales history and growth potential to sales reps whilst in the field so they can plan and make more informed visits. Importantly, it results in much less wasted time; if an appointment is cancelled whilst a rep is in the field, they can view customers or prospects nearby and give them a call. Capture information in the field such as next visit, best opportunity, likelihood to buy etc.

…and find out how Territory Runner can help you improve field team performance and increase sales.

Whatever your industry sector, Territory Runner can be fully customised to suit the way your company works and its terminology. It’s suitable for companies of any size from one man organisations to companies with sales teams of 1000+.

It will support mangers in implementing company strategy consistently and successfully, and field people to carry out their day to day activities more effectively and efficiently.

To find out how our solutions will improve field sales force effectiveness and efficiency, please call Graham Barlow on 01733 890790 or click here for our contact form

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Is poor sales performance always down to the rep? https://www.tech4t.co.uk/2018/07/sales-performance/ Sat, 07 Jul 2018 16:00:29 +0000 http://www.tech4t.co.uk/?p=7314 Is poor sales performance always down to the rep? Or could it be their territory? Poor performers sometimes find their way into the sales force – despite best efforts in recruitment. Once identified, a common solution is to manage them out. But is this always the right […]

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Is poor sales performance always down to the rep? Or could it be their territory?

Poor performers sometimes find their way into the sales force – despite best efforts in recruitment. Once identified, a common solution is to manage them out. But is this always the right plan? In our experience, poor territory design can sometimes inadvertently cause a good seller to look like a poor performer. Salespeople who struggle to reach targets are classified as poor performers, but in reality, a poor territory could be restricting their success. So how do bad territories occur, what are the consequences, and how can you deal with them?

How do bad sales territories occur?

How postcode areas and maps impact sales performance

Visualisation of customers and prospects and their proximity to each other impacts sales performance

The root cause is poor design and allocation. But the problem is frequently perpetuated because of a fear or disruption and favouritism. Top performers are assigned territories with the highest amount of opportunities; new people may get given territories with appreciably lower opportunity.

It’s not unusual for sales leaders to become overly attached to their high fliers. And that’s completely understandable – they help them achieve their targets and they’re usually very good socially, they become friends. It’s also quite hard to move away from viewing a rep as a top performer even if they have a bad year. There can be a tendency to rationalise poor results away, putting them down to causes beyond the rep’s control. This way of thinking leads to a fear of disruption and a culture that tolerates imbalances.

What are the consequences?

A major impact is a vastly reduced sales capacity. When the high performers are given the richest territories with an over-abundance of opportunities, they can’t cover them all effectively. On the other side of the fence, other sellers fail because they are allocated territories with insufficient opportunity.

Such a workload imbalance has another effect. Over time, salespeople who started out as hunters are transformed into farmers. They end up being so busy dealing with existing accounts, they have little time to close new sales. So the burden of growth is placed on the average and below average sellers. To make matters worse, ambitious sellers in the farming territories often leave because they are frustrated, they enjoy growing a business, not farming.

Unbalanced sales territories slow growth and increase sales costs. If they’re not dealt with effectively, it can result in high staff turnover which is always undesirable being very disruptive and expensive. Your sales team become demoralised and customers are often left confused and dissatisfied with your service; they defect to better organised competitors.

How can you deal with them?

A thorough review of your sales territories will show you the steps you can take to eradicate the negative features of unbalanced territories. Indeed, organisations with high performing sales teams undertake such a review on a regular basis, usually annually.

The review process will deliver the information you need about your reps, customers and prospects and their relationships to each other. It should include some key actions:

• Calculation of account, prospect and territory opportunity potential
• Development of a workload model
• Estimation of the optimum workload in each territory
• Development of a territory balance index score; at a minimum this must include workload and sales opportunity
• List of territories that are 20-30% above or below the average index score
• Where possible rebalance outlier territories keeping disruption to a minimum

Rebalancing territories provides all salespeople with equal opportunities for success and effectively increases selling capacity. Companies can measure performance and know that they have truly identified the high performers. It’s often quite an eye opener. When given the right ingredients for success, many of those low performers will shine. Conversely, many top performers who surpass others when they are in the highest opportunity territories may turn out to be not as good as thought.

Take the first step to improving your sales. Call us for an informal chat on 01733 890790 or go to our contact form

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Good sales territory practice https://www.tech4t.co.uk/2018/06/good-sales-territory-practice/ Mon, 04 Jun 2018 12:38:01 +0000 http://www.tech4t.co.uk/?p=2052 What constitutes good practice when designing sales territories? When it comes to designing sales territories there’s often more than one way to carve up your geographic sales landscape. In this post Tech4T explores some of the points for consideration and where some of the pitfalls lie. Start […]

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Sales Territory Design principlesWhat constitutes good practice when designing sales territories?

When it comes to designing sales territories there’s often more than one way to carve up your geographic sales landscape. In this post Tech4T explores some of the points for consideration and where some of the pitfalls lie.

Start with a clear business objective

Often overlooked, good sales territory design starts with drilling into what the business objectives are for the field sales force. Geographic mapping software can help to visualise customer and prospect locations

A sales territory structure is only going to be truly effective if it’s size, shape and opportunity match up with what you’re trying to achieve.

A good example here is to consider how your sales manager’s time is going to be split between prospecting for new business vs. managing existing customer accounts.

This simple equation can help to determine how big a territory needs to be to contain the right level of opportunity to keep the sales manager engaged effectively in a month, quarter or year.

Plotting customers and prospects on a map is a great way to see if a territory contains too many or too few opportunities for a sales manager to handle effectively in a period of time.

Avoid conflict

Territory mapping - What does your picture look like? Gaps, overlaps lots of rep crossover?Healthy competition amongst the sales force can be a good thing as each member strives to out-perform last month’s target.

Territory competition however; can be damaging to a business.

Territory competition occurs where territory boundaries haven’t been clearly defined by the business.

If the boundaries that divide (or unite for the matter) a field sales manager aren’t clear you could find yourself in a situation where your expensive resources are crossing over each other en route to customers and prospects every day.

This criss-crossing round the country reduces the overall efficiency of the sales team. Often where territory boundaries are not defined, a sales rep or manager will be traveling excessive distances in relation to their base location.

A solution would be to clearly define each sales manager’s boundary allowing them to focus their time on driving the shortest possible distance to reach the most amount of target customers and prospects.

In some cases territory conflict is inevitable, particularly for larger field sales teams where different product specialists exist or certain sales managers are aligned to key accounts for example. For this type of field force a defined territory structure will take all of this into consideration together with the rules that govern the ability to travel off patch.

On-patch vs. Off-patchSales territory mapping - clearly defined help you to align resources best

Businesses change over time, a fact of life is that the front end field force will inevitably change either through staff leaving or entering the company or as a result of an internal re-structure.

Ideally with each change of head or re-structure, part of the change process should include a territory evaluation to ensure that the existing field sales territory structure matches the change.

More often that not sales people are recruited based on talent first and their base location second. If you are a business who has one or more sales managers in close proximity to each other, consider having a territory structure where a sales manager is allowed to live off-patch.

That way the talent is allowed to flourish within the business whilst still maintaining territory integrity.

Owning a socket set doesn’t make us all Formula One mechanics!

The building blocks

In order to create field sales and franchise territories for that matter, many companies use geographic mapping software (GIS). Geographic mapping software creates territories based on “balancing criteria”.

The balancing criteria for territory design are based around setting the key variable that determine territory size and shape. For example territories in the franchise sector are often created using a target Census or demographic variable such as number of households or an age segment.

In the sales arena, typically it’s customer or prospect types. Be wary of trying to set too many balancing criteria and creating a mission impossible for the software. Remember the more conditions applied to a query the smaller the result.

Artificial AI vs. a Human

A common pitfall to avoid is the assumption that a geographic mapping software solution alone can deliver the answer. Sure it helps to have the latest software and cartography available but owning a socket set doesn’t make us all Formula One mechanics.

Good territory design is an iterative process that should secure buy in from sales managers and stakeholders along the way. In order to do that human intervention is required adjusting territory boundaries and balancing criteria rules to suit the sales manager and executive sponsors alike.

From a practical perspective whilst purchasing a piece of software may be a cheap option in the short-term think about total cost of ownership over 3-5 years after factoring in updates, licence renewals, support etc.

Know your customers

By far the single biggest most important factor when considering territories. What do your customers want and need? After all without customers to visit, a sales manager is redundant.

Things to consider here,

  • Is the opportunity great enough to warrant a sales manager visiting?
  • Are there some customers greater priority than others?
  • How often does a sales rep or manager need to visit to secure the first sale or sustain the order profile?
  • Do customers have preferences for when and how they like to be seen?
  • Where are customers in proximity to one another?
  • Can a single journey satisfy multiple customers?

Designing sales territories is an interesting process and one that every sales manager or director should actively encourage.

It affords the business an insight into what is actually happening on the ground visually. Gaps and overlaps in coverage instantly jump off the page. How close customers and prospects are to each other can be seen. Financial information overlaid onto a map shows where the over and under-performing areas are. Much more than can be gleaned from a spread-sheet alone.

A company with clearly defined sales territories based on rigorous analysis and sound logic has every chance to succeed. All that remains is to close the deal.

We hope you found this post useful, please do let us know via our contact form if there’s a particular topic you would like to see explored in relation to any aspect of our services.

For more information on sales territories please see our sales territory design page.

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Best UK franchisees https://www.tech4t.co.uk/2016/06/best-uk-franchisee/ Mon, 13 Jun 2016 15:00:01 +0000 http://www.tech4t.co.uk/?p=9634 Best UK franchisees nominated for bfa awards Top 20 finalists for the bfa HSBC Franchisee of the Year Award 2016 now announced. Franchisee nominations come from companies of all types and size – from franchise micro businesses to international networks – and cover such diverse areas as […]

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Best UK franchisees nominated for bfa awards

Top 20 finalists for the bfa HSBC Franchisee of the Year Award 2016 now announced.

Franchisee nominations come from companies of all types and size – from franchise micro businesses to international networks – and cover such diverse areas as signs, domestic services and senior care.

The Awards celebrate business excellence and are now in their 27th year.

The Finalists are:

Young Franchisee of the Year (aged 30 or under)

Luke Hodgson, Snap-on Tools, Milton Keynes

Heather Ratcliffe, Swimtime West Midlands

Ben Witcomb, Metro Rod Newport, Hereford & Gloucester

Female Franchisee of the Year

Tricia Craig, Metro Rod North East

Clare Jefferies, Home Instead Wimbledon & Kingston

Cherry Lewis-Taylor, McDonald’s Essex

Alex Scotchbrook, Tutor Doctor Surrey

Microbusiness Franchisee of the Year (less than £100,000 turnover)

Richard Bryan, Wilkins Chimney Swee Tyneside North

Mike Lethbridge, TruGreen Newbury & Basingstoke

Matthew & Jenny Snell, Trophy Pet Foods Swindon & North Wiltshire

Customer Service Franchisee of the Year

Nathan Holmes, Revive! Cambridge

Zak Patel, O2 Yorkshire

Dez Ward & Emma Lea, Molly Maid York & Harrogate

Jane Wiles & Ray Allenby, Signs Express Portsmouth

B2B Franchisee of the Year

Lee Brimecombe & Paul Nebbett, in-toto Exeter

Kevin Lawley, Minster Cleaning Services Norfolk & Suffolk

Andy Mee, Business Doctors North Bucks & Oxfordshire

Olderpreneur Franchisee of the Year (aged 55 or older)

Steve Brown, Rosemary Bookkeeping Newbury

Peter Eccles, Snap-on Tools Bridgwater

Charles Folkes, Caremark Redcar & Cleveland

Franchisee Awards 2015

Last year’s Franchisee Awards

Pip Wilkins

Pip Wilkins, the bfa’s CEO, commented: “With around 45,000 franchise-owned businesses in the UK, we’ve had to make some very tough choices to get down to 20 finalists.

Selecting just a handful of exceptional business owners to go through is extremely difficult. These are outstanding entrepreneurs that are leading the way in franchising and we’re set for an even more difficult task ahead in choosing the winners.”

The overall UK Franchisee of the Year 2016 will be named from one of the six category winners.

All finalists will present their case to a panel of expert judges on 13 & 14 July, which this year includes Nikki Broadhurst of law firm Stevens & Bolton; Euan Fraser from AMO Consulting; and Stuart Walsh of Franchise Finance. They’re joined by Brattesani, Wilkins and Brian Smart, who will chair the panel.

Winners will be named at a black-tie ceremony on Thursday 29 September at Birmingham Town Hall. News of the finalists and winners can be followed via the hashtag #FranchiseeAwards16.

 

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Field Team Headcount from an HR Perspective https://www.tech4t.co.uk/2016/03/hr-field-team-headcount/ Tue, 08 Mar 2016 15:30:31 +0000 http://www.tech4t.co.uk/?p=9518 Using HR and company data to plan field team headcount Getting a field team headcount right – with the right people in the right locations – can be extraordinarily difficult. Consolidating HR and your company data can give a better outcome. An organisation’s strategic objectives need to be considered […]

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Using HR and company data to plan field team headcount

Getting a field team headcount right – with the right people in the right locations – can be extraordinarily difficult. Consolidating HR and your company data can give a better outcome.

An organisation’s strategic objectives need to be considered along with the skills, compensation plans and logistics of the field team. But most importantly, an accurate workload needs to be established to meet company goals.  Far too often though, workload calculations are unclear, based on wrong or out-of-date information and assumptions or simply decided by “gut feel”.

HR field team selection

This leads to a lack of clarity as to what daily/weekly/monthly activities are required of people which makes it impossible to accurately calculate the correct field team headcount.  Obviously this is a problem for the HR Dept, particularly if they’ve been tasked with reducing staff costs or increasing customer service levels in the field.

However, this issue can be overcome by joining company and HR data and applying spatial analytics to deliver the bigger picture of what’s happening on the ground and identify improvements to feed into headcount calculations. For example, the map below shows distances of staff to the accounts they serve and where they encroach on someone else’s territory.

HR Field Team Star Map

From an HR perspective, spatial analytics will also show gaps in coverage, identifying the best geographic areas to recruit.  Or conversely, identify where the ratio of people to workload is too high in which case the team may need re-positioning geographically, refocusing on different products or a changed headcount. This could be taken a stage further if the potential value of each customer is incorporated in the analytics process – some customers, particularly in more remote areas, may not warrant a visit and could be served by other channels such as telesales if this is an option.

What Factors Impact the Workload Calculation?

These are just some of the things to be considered when planning field team headcount and locations:

  • Any specialist skills needed to sell specific products or service different types of  customer
  • Hours available for face to face meetings – working hours less travel time, holidays, sickness, training days, etc.
  • Sales channels for different customer value segments – how many need a visit, how many could be serviced by telesales or email
  • Customer, outlet and prospect locations
  • Industry/company specific data and regulatory factors…

The above information needs to be consolidated and analysed to produce an accurate projected workload by account in terms of visits, telephone calls, travel time, etc.  The current or projected team size can then be overlaid and you can understand if you have the right number of people, too many or not enough – and in the right place.

And because the sales data has been factored into the equation, a company will be able to direct its field team in a much more focused fashion – are more hunters needed (to recruit new customers) or more farmers (to service existing accounts) or people able to do both – who may need retraining.  Knowing precisely the requirements of the different roles in each geographic area means HR can recruit with confidence knowing exactly what skills are needed to lead to a successful hire.

Evaluating Options

If you’re undertaking a major restructure or merger of field teams, there is never a 100% perfect solution when it comes to getting the field team headcount and territory realignment correct. Trade-offs generally have to be made to arrive at an acceptable “cost-to-serve” and retain customers. To fully understand the options, spatial modelling can be applied to create multiple field team scenarios for comparison, varying the headcount, number of territories, customer sales channels and so on. The impact on revenue of the different scenarios can be calculated and the impact on individual team members and risk to the business assessed objectively.

This approach will support good decision making in your organisation leading to better outcomes in terms of staff retention, more effective use of field team time and higher revenues. And if consultations with the field team are on your agenda, the rationale behind any changes and the benefits to the team can be explained in detail to help mitigate disruption.

Is the playing field level? Are your star performers really the stars?

If you’re adjusting field team headcount, you need accurate performance figures for your existing people. Spatial analytics will let you objectively assess and compare individual performances in relation to the sales potential in a territory.

Field sales team HR assessment

Purely assessing sales figures may not give the full picture when comparing performance. To get a complete picture, the number, value and locations of customers and prospects in each territory need to be factored in. This will identify differences in individual workloads – some people may travel much further than others in the course of a month limiting customer facing time, some may recruit many more new customers than others whilst some rely on sales from a few existing big customers to meet their targets. Average performers are often found to be better than thought when market potential and travel time are taken into account.

So whether you’re carrying out performance reviews, recruiting for a single field team member or having to deal with the challenges of a full scale team restructure or merger, the impact of spatial analytics can only be positive – more successful hires, improved territory realignment, increased R.O.I. for the field team and increased revenue for the company.


Tech4T are experts in data and spatial analytics, specialising in field force optimisation, customer targeting and location analysis.

Click here for more information on improving field team performance

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