Importance of Route Planning & Optimization for Sales Teams
Key Reasons Why a Route Planner is Vital for Sales Representatives
In the world of sales force automation, sales route planning and management is vital to a successful business. Here is why an effective route planner is a must to ensure smooth sales route management.
Be it any industry segment, field sales still hold importance and is considered most effective for great business prospects. Managing field visits, tracking salespersons’ routes, calculating time that the sales staff spends in the journey, keeping track of meetings, prioritizing client commitments, optimizing route etc. are some of the trivial statistics that are a must in field force management.
This calls for an effective management of the entire sales route through a route planner/sales route management solution. The traditional method went by planning through maps and routes manually which led to longer hours and mismanaged schedules. Now comes the automation of route planning and scheduling visits, through an effective solution that can assist the field force in optimizing routes to its best.
Sales route planning has proven to be highly fruitful in connecting sales representatives to huge business opportunities, at the right place and right time. Let us first understand what sales route planning means and then look at the reasons why a key route planner is essential for sales teams.
What is Sales Route Management?
Sales route management is an integral part of field force automation wherein the entire tour/beat scheduling is done by the field executives and the back-office staff, combined with distribution mapping. It focuses on the comprehensive journey plan along with the geolocation of the client address. It also helps bigtime in planning for pre-scheduled monthly tours through the calendar.
It is a wholesome process of searching for the most efficient and cost-effective way for sales teams to move from one route to another in such a way that it yields maximum profit, wasting least time and resources. It helps sales representatives in finding, understanding, and moving through the best of opportunities. This solution takes into consideration the market scenarios, competitor activities, client engagement and status. Route optimization is key to increasing productivity levels by having sales reps complete their tasks in a fast and logical manner.
While selecting a good sales route management software, there are a few things that must be kept in mind:
- All designed routes must be aligned to the organisational objectives, without which it is not possible to attain the best of benefits
- There must be a certain amount of flexibility involved that caters to unforeseen circumstances like traffic, last minute demands, emergencies etc.
- Sales representatives must have immediate access to client information to make things smoother and hence access to other third-party systems is preferred
Key Reasons Why Sales Route Management is Needed for The Sales Force
- Advanced Planning and Automatic Structuring of Sales Force Activities
A route planner helps the field force in planning their sales activities in advance and thereby leads to a proper structure that can be well managed and monitored. A route map can be created that can showcase the distances to be travelled, client line-up and other opportunities that can be availed. Based on this, sales managers can plan the entire schedule optimally and effectively. There is a proper and defined structure that can help sales teams in focussing more on their goals of attaining increased business rather than wasting time and efforts in planning their routes. Sales reps can also take agile decisions on the go, based on different parameters like weather, traffic etc.
- Increased Data Connectivity, Productivity and Profitability
An effective route planner takes care of culling out the best possible routes between different locations and sales force, to ensure that there is maximum productivity involved with least of extra expenses. Data gets well connected to each other, offering the best of information at the tip of a finger. Even complex scenarios involving many vehicles or customer visits can be catered to, with ease and it surely helps sales force in enhancing their time and fuel management.
- Important Details with Special Focus Not to be Missed Out
With all sales details and planning automated through the route planner, sales teams will have the provision to keep a stringent eye on those special activities or important details that are not supposed to be missed out. Else, manually, there are all chances that the sales teams may miss out on significant details thereby, leading to a loss in business. The software solution comes handy with features that can help reps note down these important details and ensure customers of a great service.
- Comprehensive Visibility to Sales Managers
As sales team struggle to manage their sales routes, sales managers have their own chunk of hurdles in getting the latest information with ease. Implementation of a route planning module helps in keeping the managers abreast of the latest real-time information, with which they can easily monitor and manage the field force. There is increased collaboration and interaction between the teams on road and the mangers, offering a complete look into the activities. Even the costs being incurred, routes being changed, late or rash behaviour of drivers etc. can be easily tracked and necessary action can be taken.
- Seamless Integration with Other Systems
The route planning module can offer best of results when it is integrated seamlessly with other important systems like the CRM solution. It helps in a thorough centralized management of all necessary documents that can be made available to sales teams and managers at any given point of time. Data can be easily synchronized; automation can be increased, and errors can be reduced to a large extent.
- Enhanced Client Service, Better Customer Engagement
For all the advantages mentioned above, there will be a direct impact on the satisfaction levels of customers. An efficient service, prompt delivery, secure outcome is bound to create a better client engagement level and offer customers an impression that the entire sales process is well-defined and managed with professionalism.
- Relief from Inefficient Expenditure and Trips
Having a good software solution for route planning and management can relieve the sales force from incurring unnecessary expenses and unwanted trips. It helps in extracting the best possible routes with which the sales reps can manage to save on costs and time. Its calendar booking feature can help in planning for trips, in an exact manner. It can also cater to rescheduling, addition, or cancellation with ease.
- Scheduling Long Term and Short Term
An efficient route planning solution helps in planning of sales activities, routes, and vehicles both – for a short term and a long-term schedule. Based on requirements, this solution can help in planning for pre-determined time that can assist managers is taking actions exactly as needed.
- Creation of Quicker and Smaller Sales Routes
Since the route planner increases efficiency at each level of planning routes, the output is well-created faster routes that are smaller and effective in its length. This saves on time, efforts, and costing. It comes up as a big boon for sales teams and managers, alike. It also offers a good experience to clients, increasing the overall satisfaction levels. Even re-routing or altering routes is possible through the software module, making it easy for the field force to deal with changes.
- Saves on Fuel and Extra Costs
Since the routes of sales representatives are planned perfectly, there are less chances of sales force going haywire or on wrong routes, amounting to lesser driving. This saves on fuel costs and all other added costs that would be incurred if the representatives would have to roam here and there, in case of unplanned routes. Route planning comes in handy for drivers not to waste time and resources, finding locations and adapting to the most effective route possible.
- Unlocks the Potential of Data
With so much of data involved, a potential sales route management system is sure to leverage the huge amount of data and offer a deep insight into the valuable information that it holds. It is a boon for the sales managers to extract the best of reports and dashboards that offer analytical information based on the input parameters that are needed. The real-time information that it offers, will benefit the sales teams also, in terms of instant availability of information at any level.
As We Wrap Up
Intelligent and effective route planning forms the crux of a good sales force management solution. It is one of the basic processes in an SFA solution that must be given due importance right from the beginning till its implementation. A comprehensive sales route management module is sure to assist sales force and sales managers in many ways that can help them increase their business manifold and ensure a smooth operational flow between routes.
More so, because it considers all possible delay factors like weather changes, heavy traffic, vehicle non-functioning, unexpected orders, multiple layovers etc. The smooth functioning of routes is sure to impact the overall productivity and profitability of the organization. It will have a direct impression on the performance of the organization, customer satisfaction levels and the ease with which the business is operated. Hence, effective sales route planners are a must while implementing any sales force solution and must be give due importance.
Author Bio: Stephen is a content writer for ZooM Sales Force Automation(SFA). A voracious reader, a logophile, and a tech geek. He is fascinated with automation and loves to write and share content related to business automation. In his free time, he loves to watch soccer, exercise and play billiards.