Salesmen's Journey Cycles

Salesmen's Journey Cycles

Salesmen's Journey Cycles

In order to establish the optimum number of salesmen needed to sell the company's products into a given sector of any trade or industry, it is first necessary to examine the current journey cycles of the existing sales team. A 'journey cycle' is the period of time that it takes a salesman to call once upon all the customers allocated to him. Thus an eight weeks' cycle means that it takes the salesman that length of time to make one visit to each of his customers. Put another way, if the nature of the product-or the service-to be sold and the geographical scatter of customers results in an average of six customer visits per day, a salesman working a five-day week will take five weeks to service one hundred and fifty accounts.

It will be apparent, however, that out of a total of one hundred and fifty retailers, some will require more frequent attention than others. In deciding the frequency of calls necessary for individual outlets, there are various factors to be considered. One is the amount of capital which particular retailers are prepared to tie up in holding stocks of the manufacturer's product. A trader who is willing only to hold a few weeks' stock of any one brand will require more frequent visits from the supplier, in order to place orders to replenish this stock, than one who is prepared to order sufficient supplies to cover his requirements for a considerable period. Another factor is the frequency of visits undertaken by one's competitors upon major retail outlets. We have already referred to the battle which exists between product manufacturers in the fast-selling consumer goods field, for a maximum share of the retailer's precious shell and display areas for their products. It is only by frequent calls that the salesman can maintain a strong personal relationship with the shopkeeper and thus ensure a fully adequate display for his company's brand.

On the other hand, one must consider the costs involved in salesmen's calls plus the cost of the execution of the orders received, including that of the movement of goods from the warehouse, transportation, the issue of delivery notes and invoices and of subsequent collection of payment, and set these against the value of the business involved. Small or medium-sized retailers may need regular sales contact to ensure that one's brand is adequately represented on their shelves; but this does not mean, necessarily, a personal visit of the salesman on every occasion. Providing he calls, perhaps, once every two or three months, routine servicing can be maintained by regular telephone calls from a sales clerk based at Head Office, to ask for repeat orders and to check that everything is satisfactory.


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