A Proper Planning and preparation prevents poor performance -(Stephen Keague)
The outcome of any activity depends on two important factors i.e.Planning and Execution. Off Course the companies are emphasizing on these factors in their sales processes but here we are talking about a tool that will act as an assistant to the field force in Planning, Implementing, Studying Variance and Bringing out Analysis of their activities.
Tour Program Feature in any conventional Sales Force Automation will assist the field force in the above-listed activities in certain ways. It will help the Sales officers in planning their month (day-wise) and their territory in advance so as the sales people can give the best output possible.
The Tour Program is usually made on monthly basis in planning the working of the next/coming month that lets them decide the type of activity, working geography and Retailers/Stockist to meet on a particular day for the whole month. The plan of action is sent to his manager for review, The manager can amend the plan as per the need. Now, there are Important Retailers or Customers for every organization, With the help of this tool, they will not be missed as the Managers and Senior Level people can select Joint-Working with the Field Staff in the tour Program Itself. The Joint-Working feature will also help the Managers analyze their upcoming month and can help in planning it in the best way possible.
The Tour program can also be filled as per Journey Cycle(JC) which can be an important factor in FMCG sector. Unlike the monthly plan, the Journey Cycle is planned to keep some specific needs in mind. As an example, the JC can be in day format like a 15 day or 28 days JC. It can also be a bi-weekly cycle. The JC should be made such that it can be copied for next months as well. This is called Permanent Journey Plan(PJP). Though it should account for holidays/Sundays and shift the working to the next working day. This will ease the process of the field force as well.
With the Tour Program tool available in mobile and web application, the Execution of the plan becomes possible as it gives ease to enter information on the go. The automated tour program alert will also tell the Field Force about their planning on the mobile app itself making information about the plan of action available to them at the start of the day. This will also help in preparation of the upcoming station.
As we know, the there is variation in planned and actual activities and there can be deviation of the same. In this case, the reason can be personal or professional like Retailers meet, Joint Working, Leave etc.This should be checked and accounted for in the system. The variance from the plan can be communicated to the field force in the form of automated alerts on daily basis. I will depict an example of the same situation.
Now in the Tour Program planning, the sales person planned to visit X station on 12/07/15 but actually, he visits Y station on that date. Then the system will send him an alert on his mobile application itself showing his variance. He can record the reason for same that will help in the analysis in the later stage of a sales process.
The analysis to the sales planning is equally important as it can help amend future course of actions. This can be done by showing a variance report from his planned vs actual working on day to day basis. The same can be discussed with each SO to know the cause of the deviation.
Any SFA should have a tour program feature as there is a certain need for the Sales officers to follow the decided course of action. Usually, the executive tends to visit few stations/retailers more than the others due to certain factors are best known to them. Though this should not affect company's sales and should be checked for with the help of Tour Program. As the manager can edit/approve the Tour Program decided by the SO, he can validate an even distribution of all the territories under him and at the end of the month a variance on the plan can be checked for This process will also give emphasis on HQ-Ex HQ-Out Station working to ensure 360 degree productivity from all the customers under any Sales Officer.
The system in place will act as an assistant to the field force to plan their month in advance and improve sales effectiveness. Tour Program is just one of the many unique features available in a state-of-art Sales Force Automation. A good SFA combined with a passionate sales team will improve the operational efficiency of the Organisation.
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