How to Boost Profitability and Efficiency with a Sales Route Planner
December 5, 2021
Ever wonder how much time the average salesperson spends in a car or how many miles they cover during their career? Well, according to the Canadian professional sales association, the average outside sales representative travels over 19,691 miles per year by car.
In some industries, these numbers can be even higher, with sales reps covering between 700 and 1,000 miles every single week. With hundreds of meetings in different cities, even across states, planning an efficient sales route can be a huge challenge (often called the traveling salesman problem).
Therefore, one of the most important things shaping your sales performance is having the right software that not only imports a list of your sales lead’s addresses, but keeps track of your upcoming meetings, prioritizes clients based on importance or availability time constraints and optimizes the entire route for maximum efficiency.
So, let’s dive into how the best sales reps use software tools to quickly plan efficient routes using modern technology.
To navigate to the section which interests you the most, click below:
- What Is Sales Route Planning?
- Sales Route Planning: The Modern Seller’s Best Friend
- How OptimoRoute Makes Sales Routing Easier Than Ever
- How to Plan Your Sales Routes With OptimoRoute
What Is Sales Route Planning?
Sales route planning is the process of planning driving routes for field sales teams. It’s primarily used by sales managers to optimize the routes of their salespeople by minimizing travel time and distance. Planning the shortest, most efficient route can save salespeople hours every week, which, in turn, boosts the efficiency and profitability of the company.
Before modern technology, route planning was mainly done in excel spreadsheets. Manual sales route planning was a tedious process that took a lot of time and made it hard for sales managers to pinpoint the most efficient routes. Now, with the help of sales route planning software, you can find the fastest routes in just minutes, and provide your sales force a lot of extra time.
Sales Route Planning: The Modern Seller’s Best Friend
One common approach for field sales teams is meeting face-to-face with prospects to build relationships. That’s why a big chunk of a salesperson’s day is often dedicated to visiting prospects and clients.
When scheduling meetings, sales managers have to find a way for sales reps to visit each prospect within their assigned sales territory in the most efficient manner. However, managing a field sales team is more than just establishing a route that salespeople will follow when visiting as many prospective clients or customers as possible.
OptimoRoute conducted a survey with key industry experts discussing how to best tackle the issue. Depending on how it’s planned and scheduled, the sales route can either be a helpful time saver or a colossal waste of time, money, and resources.
Thankfully, the days of sitting with a physical map and planning your route with pins are long gone. And it’s not because of Google Maps. (With only 10 possible stops and no real route optimization features, Google Maps isn’t an efficient route planning tool.)
Instead, dedicated route planning software tools have made mapping sales routes much easier, so you can spend less time routing and more closing deals.
Let Software Handle the Routing
Once you have a list of qualified leads, you can simply import the list of addresses, and leave the rest to the route planner software.
The software will handle the routing, automatically arranging the addresses into the most efficient sales route.
Common Routing Challenges
- Efficiently assigning leads to reps based on their skills, rapport, or location.
- Planning long-term sales efforts and routes.
- Respecting time windows for planned meetings.
- Mapping routes to prioritize high-value leads during likely hours.
- Adjusting routes and schedules in real-time.
Most basic route planning tools can’t handle these challenges, but OptimoRoute offers a unique set of features to make planning the ideal sales route easy.
How OptimoRoute Makes Sales Routing Easier Than Ever
OptimoRoute is designed to handle the most complex workflows and find the best route by adjusting in real-time according to numerous factors.
This makes it the perfect ally for outside sales teams. Let’s dive into how the software changed the game for salespeople.
Take a typical sales manager managing a team of 10 medical field sales reps working for ABC Pharmaceuticals. Some key responsibilities of a typical sales manager include:
- Following up on anywhere between 150 and 200 field sales meetings per month.
- Ownership and client relations management for a multi-state area covering thousands of miles.
- Prioritization between planned meetings (high priority) and drop in cold sales (low priority).
Before OptimoRoute, planning long-term sales routes for field teams and taking ownership and reporting along a management hierarchy would have been a serious challenge. Simply, accounting for all the various factors like lead priority, meeting times, service areas, and more. Inevitably mistakes would happen, opportunities would be missed and the bottom line would drop.
In fact, when polled, field sales managers conclude that great routing software comes down to three key game-changing features.
1. Ability to schedule long term with weekly planning
With OptimoRoute you can create optimal schedules and routes up to 5 weeks in advance taking into account important constraints that a field sales team would require. For instance, restricting the meeting to only a specific time window when the client is available.
2. Set service areas to efficiently distribute leads among reps
Automatically assign territories to outside sales reps based on a specific location that they cover. OptimoRoute will then distribute new leads and meetings based on those areas allowing your sales reps to be more efficient and accomplish more while maintaining a strong relationship with clients and building rapport.
3. Maximize high priority meetings, and fit in drop-in visits whenever possible
OptimoRoute also lets field sales managers prioritize planned meetings with VIP clients, to make sure they get handled in due time. The lower priority drop-ins are scheduled for when sales reps have time.
4. Never get lost or arrive late with turn-by-turn navigation
Once a set of meetings or stops is scheduled, a manager can send them to teams on the ground directly to the mobile app (whether android or iOS). By selecting the next assignment, a field salesman can take advantage of turn by turn directions using their favourite navigation app.
This saves time on manually inputting addresses, ensures you use the most efficient and optimized route, and reduces the possibility of human error along the way.
5. Record notes, impressions or reminders for any meeting
Another great feature is remembering your prospective client’s important information or nifty details as you arrive at the meeting. Think about it, what was the name of their child or pet? Favorite sports team or a detail from your last meeting. This customer data can be added as notes in OptimoRoute and displayed just as you are arriving to the next meeting.
How to Plan Your Sales Routes With OptimoRoute
Planning a multi-stop sales route doesn’t have to be a complicated process with a lot of manual work. To see a full guide on how a field sales team can set up customer visits read our step by step guide.
With OptimoRoute, simply exporting and importing a list of leads from your CRM will get you an efficient route considering all essential factors.
Want to transform how you plan sales routes? Start your 30-day free OptimoRoute trial today.
Try OptimoRoute™ for Free
No installation or credit card required