SealSkinz, a specialist manufacturer of outdoor wear recently asked us to help them optimise their field sales territory structures.
SealSkinz waterproof, windproof and breathable outdoor-wear
SealSkinz is an independent company specialising in fully waterproof, windproof and breathable socks, gloves and hats for specialist and enthusiast Sports, Outdoor, Cycle, Marine, Country and Equestrian markets, alongside their duty products for the emergency services, military and industrial personnel.
SealSkinz use patented technology for socks and knitted gloves, and are extremely proud to manufacture over 50% of their product range by hand in the UK. Working alongside key people in their markets – from sporting figures in the public eye to people using their product day in, day out – they are at the forefront of innovative product design for the outdoor market.
Mick Bustin, Sales Office Manager of SealSkinz approached Graham Barlow, MD of Tech4T for help with field sales territory planning, mapping, development and optimisation.
Challenge – reduce workload, reduce mileage and increase customer service at the same time.
As Mick explained, “Having consolidated the number of sales territories in the last 3 years it was time for us to re-design our territories in order to reduce the workload on our sales staff by reducing unnecessary mileage and time in the car but with the goal of providing improved customer service to our 1600 retail accounts across the UK and Republic of Ireland”.
Step 1 – Sales territory assessment
In order for Tech4T to make a positive impact by delivering the right sales territory structure, we had to get under the skin of the business. SealSkinz operates through a complex distribution system, a mix of sales reps and sales agents. There were many different customer types across multiple industry sectors each purchasing a diverse product range.
Additionally, each sales rep also had widely differing product specialisms and key account customer relationships, not necessarily all falling neatly into a unique sales territory.
Tech4T combined all these factors to produce a series of geographic maps of the current field sales territories serviced by each person, clearly showing the distance travelled by each, where crossover existed within the territory structure by people with the same specialism and also identifying territory structure changes to minimise overlaps, reduce gaps and increase sales rep coverage.
Step 2 – Field sales territory planning, re-design and optimise
After the initial assessment Tech4T created several new sales territory structures for consideration and selection by SealSkinz, each designed on slightly differing scenarios but geared toward reducing sales rep drive times whilst still ensuring specialist sales reps were servicing the right customers in the right sales territories and key customer relationships were maintained.
Tech4T also provided SealSkinz sales reps with prospect data based on their product specialisms and sales territory allocation. The individual sales reps now had complete visibility of each and every customer classified by priority using a Recency, Frequency, Value segmentation together with a list of prospects within their territory.
Sealskinz Visit Scheduling
The visit schedule would ensure that on a given day each sales rep was visiting the right customers and prospects in the right route order based on opportunity value and customer service criteria.
In other words, the often expensive sales resources were being deployed where they could achieve the highest impact and the balance set between new business from existing customers and signing up new customers.
As with any product or service, the proof is in the pudding. Here’s what Mick had to say about his engagement with us:
“Clear visualisation of sales territories across the UK in a very simple to understand the colour keyed country map. This has continually proved useful when speaking to potential new employees and when presenting to company stakeholders as well as helping us communicate internally to our customer service team.
The largest gain for SealSkinz is a more balanced workload and our team can service all their customers without us having to recruit.
SealSkinz combined with the invaluable postcode segmentation of sales territories across the UK for both active accounts and new leads and prospects have clarified the areas that moved us away from a soft allocation of sales territory and removed any chance of confusion. We probably use the “Postcode Allocator” at least once per day in the office and amongst the sales team.
Having clearly defined postcode mapping now allows us to be more specific in our trade marketing campaigns and can now direct our campaigns more accurately.
Re-design of the sales areas has given a more balanced spread of customers for each account manager allocation allowing more time with each account. The largest gain for us is having a more balanced workload which means that each account manager can give proportionate service to their customers on a regular 6-week call schedule without us having to recruit extra account managers.”