It is common for companies that have external sales teams, also need commercial vehicles for the operation, which implies some form of fleet management.
Aiming to increase productivity and allow operations to run stably and dynamically, the purpose of this management is, for example, to supervise:
- the performance;
- the need for maintenance
- the quality of vehicles made available to sellers,
This management is also responsible for caring for vehicle overhaul, fuel costs, driver management, asset utilization, route planning, and implementation of any solutions that increase productivity and reduce operating costs with the company’s vehicles.
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Therefore, it is vital for companies to have a comprehensive record of the cars in the fleet that they serve sellers, as the good functioning of these cars influences the good pace of the team, which depends on them to gain agility in visits.
And it’s no surprise that productive, agile sales teams bring success to the entire organization.
The performance of your sales team depends in large part on whether your salespeople have the right tools and resources to do their jobs efficiently, even when they’re away from the office.
How fleet management can help your team of external salespeople
Well, as a sales manager, you should know firsthand that setting up and managing an external sales team is not an easy task, mainly because controlling productivity from a distance, for example, is quite a challenge for any manager.
In addition, for your team of external salespeople to be able to yield many closed contracts, it is necessary to ensure all working conditions and equipment are always up to date, that is, it is very important to have a vehicle in full condition.
But fleet management can also be a great ally in the control and management strategy of external vendors. Because, if you can control the vehicle’s history, you can monitor the performance and productivity of the driver, who in this case is the salesperson.
These are four ways in which fleet management practices can contribute to improving your sales force’s performance:
1. Getting location and routing information
A systematized and digitized vehicle control process makes specific information on routes, locations, time spent on each external visit accessible to sales managers.
This tracking can often be viewed in dashboards or even detailed reports that turn factors that once seemed subjective and difficult to measure and control into measurable metrics.
For example, the average number of external customer engagements in a day and the average length of each engagement tied to each salesperson on the team.
2. Integrating fleet data into CRM
In addition, to promote complete management of the external sales team, fleet management data can also be integrated into the CRM system.
This allows travel information and the time spent on it to be compared against the amount of leads visited, opportunities generated, and deals closed, making it a type of metric to measure the effectiveness of each sales rep on the outside sales team.
The fact is, an underperforming sales force can be extremely expensive for companies. Also, identifying where improvements need to be made can be a time-consuming task when the salesperson is not in the office full time. Thus, information originated by fleet control can be useful in monitoring the productivity of an external sales team.
In many cases, it can act as an early warning system, allowing problem areas to be addressed before they become real problems.
3. Encouraging more responsibility on external visits
External vendors are often more resistant to the use of organization and control technologies imposed by the companies they work for.
Of course, salespeople need a certain amount of freedom to do their jobs, but when they become too free, it can affect their results. Not returning to the office after a two-hour visit to a single client could be a problem, for example.
In addition, fleet control avoids aggressive driving, as it makes it possible to manage fines, which links each violation to the driver responsible for it. And if your sales team drives company cars, you must make sure they are driving safely and courteously at all times, don’t you?
4. Controlling and reducing sellers’ overtime
Out-of-office work, which involves outside visits, is central to many businesses. However, many sales managers are unable to accurately track the productive working hours of their outside salespeople.
But with mileage control features, relocation, and good vehicle management practices, it is possible to track the exact location of the sales executive during his/her external journey and, therefore, account for overtime, if applicable.
5. Generating more complete external visit reports
A detailed visit report shows how much time a salesperson spends with each customer and can be used to analyze sales force efficiency. In addition, it is even possible to display details about how many times each customer was visited during a certain period, for example.
This means more complete and robust reporting. You have the ability to analyze all the details, including how long a salesperson has been at the customer’s location, which route they used to get there, and whether they made any detours on their way to the next destination.
When it comes to external sales, this information can be very useful, makes the visit report much more accurate and complete, and helps the sales manager know who is productive in the sales team and who should improve.
How about applying these insights to your outside sales team?
Today, all organizations strive to achieve a progression in salesforce productivity by adopting new methodologies and trends. These methods should encourage sales teams to constantly find new business opportunities.
And the adoption of best practices measures for the fleet management process in your company can be another important step to collaborate in this process.
For this, the management of vehicles used in external sales processes needs to be organized, optimizing the time dedicated to sales activity.
Remember, you need to set goals, maintain data-driven planning, track performance indicators, and take corrective action where necessary.
Efficient management of the fleet and salespeople is a guarantee of good results for your business! Therefore, a good question that companies need to ask is: “Is the management of the vehicles used by my salespeople being carried out consistently and contributing to increased productivity and business objectives?”
If you want to improve this scenario, know that with a fleet management system combined with a CRM -Commercial Management System, your organization can eliminate many manual processes.
This will allow your outside sales team to focus on what’s really important, close more deals and increase revenue. While the sales manager will be able to create, visualize and extract reports that are much more complete and faithful to the reality of external visits and the individual performance of each salesperson, following in detail the team’s performance during the visits, even when they are away from the office.