Why Journey Planning Is So Important

Despite the rise of the internet and improvements in mobile technology, there is still a need for sales people to visit their existing and prospective customers. This means that most sales people spend a large amount of their time “on the road”. Without effective journey planning a significant amount of “selling time” is lost.

The following worked example shows the problem field sales professionals face in creating more face-to-face selling time.

Taking away bank holidays, weekends and the minimum holiday entitlement of 20 days per year, there are 233 working days per annum. If each working day is taken as being 9 hours long then this equates to 2,097 working hours per sales person per year.

Assuming the sales person travels 30,000 miles per annum at an average speed of 35 miles per hour, then their total travel time is 857 hours per annum. Therefore, their available annual selling time is 1,240 hours.

From this we need to deduct rests and lunch breaks. Assuming this is just 1 hour per day, then annually this equates to 233 hours, leaving 1,007 selling hours.

Professional sales people need to prepare for every customer meeting. Assuming this preparation time is just 10 minutes per visit and there are 6 visits scheduled per working day, then this takes away another 60 minutes per day, leaving just 774 selling hours per year.

Invariably, the sales person has to wait for the customer in reception, say just 5 minutes per customer visit - which equates to 30 minutes a day or 116.5 hours per year. Leaving just 657.5 hours per year for face-to-face selling time, or 2 hours 54 minutes per day.

So with 6 customer or prospect visits scheduled per day, each sales visit can only last a maximum of 29 minutes. And this is probably an optimistic estimate as we have not scheduled time spent at head office, completing essential paper work and solving customer service issues!

These figures illustrate very clearly why sales people need to be skilled at journey planning if they are to maximise the time they have in front of customers and are actively selling.