Using Sales Force Automation for Effective Beat Plan Management
Effective beat planning, also known as Permanent Journey Plan (PJP), is crucial for the success of field teams, whether it's for sales executives, merchandisers, or any other field employee. Inefficient beat planning can result in reduced productivity and increased costs, especially in the FMCG and Beverage industry, where the field team covers almost every inhabited place on earth.
Benefits of Effective Beat Planning
- Better Productivity: An effective beat plan can significantly reduce travel time, resulting in more visits per day and more time spent at outlets or points of sale.
- Cost Optimization: Efficient beat planning can cut down on travel costs, resulting in a 50% reduction in TA/DA costs.
- Better Relationships: Spending more time at outlets can improve the relationship between the field team and retailers, which can lead to increased sales.
- More Business: With more time to focus on their job and frequent visits to important outlets, the field team can achieve their targets and improve overall business for the company.
- Motivated Employees: Effective beat planning can motivate the field team, resulting in better business outcomes.
Approaches to Effective Beat Planning
Beat Planning using Advanced Computing and Data Analysis
With the advancement in data computing and availability of powerful statistical software, a more structured approach would be to generate beats based on some pre-defined constraints. For example, if your team is asked only to upload the entire outlet universe along with GPS coordinates and to enter some configurable constraints such as maximum distance to be traveled per beat, category-wise visit frequency per week/fortnight/month, minimum and maximum number of outlets to be covered in each beat, a powerful data computing algorithm can generate optimized beats as per the defined constraints. If your SFA has the capability to define such algorithms, you can be assured that your concerns regarding beat planning will be addressed.
Map-Based Beat Planning
This approach is simple yet highly effective in creating beat plans. The SFA solution utilizes GPS coordinates to display all the outlets on a Google map, with different categories of outlets shown in different colors for easy identification. Users can create efficient beats by simply selecting an area of the map, even if they have limited knowledge about specific areas.
Beat Plan Creation by Field Team
It’s actually the field team who has the best knowledge about the exact location of outlets and business potential from them. If you have full faith in most of your team, you can actually enable them to create their own beat plan from the SFA app itself, and the respective supervisors can review the plans quickly before giving their approval. Through a few iterations, the plans will be optimized, and eventually, the need for approval can be eliminated.
Effective beat planning is crucial for the success of field teams, and an SFA solution can help achieve the benefits of cost optimization, increased productivity, better relationships, more business, and motivated employees. Organizations must choose an SFA solution that offers advanced computing and data analysis, map-based beat planning, and the ability for field teams to create their own beat plans. By doing so, they can ensure that their field teams are working efficiently and effectively, resulting in better business outcomes.