In our 33-plus years of experience helping DSD businesses run more efficiently, we have seen and assisted all kinds of business models in making their operations run more smoothly and efficiently. After all, that's the goal of our Solid Route Accounting™ software. In all these businesses, though, one thing is constant. The faster a salesperson can move through a customer's site, the more stops they can make in a day. This translates into real dollars for your business that can be seen near immediately.
How to improve your salesperson's efficiency is what this article is all about. What you might find surprising, though, is that this will actually have very little to do with your salespersons! This report will show you how to make small changes within your Solid Route Accounting™ software to shave seconds, minutes, and by week's end hours off of your salesperson's work without having to increase their responsibilities.
In fact, this article will show you how to reduce their responsibilities so they have fewer things to worry about, fewer records to sort through, and fewer errors to correct. The best thing is that a lot of these things will require a very little amount of your time to implement; however, the more of these you can use, the more money will show up in your bank account at the end of the month.
Click here to read Speed Up Your Route Sales People - Part 1.
Click here to read Speed Up Your Route Sales People - Part 2.
Do it for your salespersons!
The whole goal of using route accounting software to improve your business is to lessen the responsibility of your salespersons. Ultimately, their only responsibility should be to drive to a customer site, make an invoice, and move on. Solid Route Accounting™ has many tools available that will allow your salespersons to do just that without them having to worry about special pricing, item availability, and if they will have enough inventory to complete a day's work.
1. Special Price List
Solid Business Central™:
The Special Price Lists are the most robust and often the most useful form of special pricing available. Special Price Lists allow specific prices to be set for items sold to specific customers. This method also allows you to create discounts based on volumes sold and set start and end dates for this Special Price List's duration. This allows you to create limited-time promotions and seasonal sales well in advance.
For more details, see Solid Know-How™ Article #146 How to Create a Special Price List (SPL) in Solid Business Central?
Price Levels let you set custom pricing for different customers in QuickBooks®. Once you create a Price Level and associate it with one or more customers, Solid Sales Pro™ automatically pulls up the correct custom price for a customer each time you create a transaction for those customers.
For more details, see Solid Know How™ Article #176 Using Price Levels in Solid Route Accounting for QuickBooks.
Once all that's been set, the salespersons should never need to adjust those prices again.
2. Approved Product List
An Approved Product List (APL) takes the Special Price List one step further. APL is an additionally licensed feature, but for those who use it, they will tell you why it is well worth the added cost. Basically, APLs restrict what items can be sold to what customers at what prices, thereby eliminating any guesswork or error from a salesperson's point of view. If an item can't be sold to a customer, it simply will not show up in the inventory list when invoicing that customer. The beauty of this is that if you already know how to create a Special Price List, then you already know how to create an APL.
For more details, see Solid Know How™ Article #53 Approved Product Lists (APL) and Article #294 Approved Product Lists (APL) for QuickBooks.
3. Give the Incentive to Do Better
People are competitive by nature. When presented in any situation, it is human nature to try and outperform others. Why not use that to your advantage? A simple monthly or weekly competition among salespersons can show positive sales improvements without much investment from the company. It is amazing what a $50 gift certificate prize will do. Even just posting the top salesperson on the wall for that period will give other salespersons an incentive to perform better. Be careful not to post a complete list, though, as the poor performers may 'give up' and start to perform worse if they are consistently at the bottom of the heap. This is a form of positive reinforcement that does not take much effort to do but can improve salesperson performance and, with that, company profit. Even if there are just one or two salespersons on your fleet, set a sales goal and if it's met, have a reward.
Retraining on Using the Mobile Computers
This may seem like the least likely thing to improve a salesperson's efficiency. After all, they have probably been using mobile computers for months or even years by now. Why would they need to be trained on something they are already comfortable using? This is because people simply forget. They get used to doing things a certain way and will continue to do things the same way, even if a better way is available, simply because they forget that it can be done differently. We've talked with salespersons who use a mobile with a fully functioning number pad, for instance, that had no idea you could use those numbers to enter the quantities and prices.
Here are a few points to consider covering:
- Using the various drop-down filters when choosing Customers and Inventory Items
- Using the Search field to find the records you need
- Enter quantities by using:
- Increment and Decrement buttons
- Mobile's number pad (if available)
- Tap on the 'Quantity' field and use the onscreen keyboard
By providing salespersons with the chance to re-learn the basics and to get together and share how they make their stops with your other salespersons, progress can be made to make them all more efficient.