Sales managers invest a lot of time and preparation when working with their sales team and the limited time spent with each individual sales team member is limited, so each interaction is highly valuable. The coaching session and feedback provided during a sales field travel is very important for the sales rep to retain and to get a summary or field travel report from you, their sales manager in a timely manner, while it is fresh in their minds. The summary/feedback report also serves as a reminder for your sales rep as well as a follow up system for you to review prior to working with that person next time. For my field travel reports, I make sure to have at least one agreed action item to be taken by the sales team member. I know how difficult it is to travel, stay on top of problems, emails and administrative tasks, but if you take the time to coach your sales team and if feedback is given during the ridealong, it is just as important to provide them with a post field travel report. Below are some best practices to help you complete your report in a timely manner. Your aim should be immediate, but no longer than 48 hours to make the coaching and feedback effective.
WRITE YOUR REPORT THROUGHOUT THE DAY
The best approach to tackle larger tasks is to break it down into smaller parts. As your travel during the day, take notes throughout the day and add items to the report in between customer visits. When the rep drives, this makes it much simpler for me to type out what was just discussed and it is much simpler as I don’t have to recall what was said earlier, if I chose to do it later.
FOCUS ON A FEW POINTS
If you make a theme for the visit or have one or two focus topics that is the most important, then it makes it much simpler to create a report that supports and is much easier to digest as the recipient. If a sales rep is given too many areas to work on, the task might be overwhelming and they might not know where to start. Focus on a few key items and keep it simple for them to follow through.
If you like to think through the experiences and write the summary later, then taking detailed handwritten notes will help with memory when the days pile up and the customer visits start blending together. With notes, you can use it to recall what was said and create your report while flying home or at your desk if that is your preferred method of creating feedback report.
CREATE A SYSTEM
Create a process and stick to it. If you find something that works, make it a system and commit to following it. The job of coaching your sales team is not complete until all the steps are completed and the post field travel report is the important final step. Lead by example and follow through with your end of the accountabilities. In having a system, it makes it simpler for you versus trying to recreate the wheel each time.
USE AN APP
I have been upgrading the way I provide and record my notes. I use an app called the Easy Voice Recorder Pro. As I do have a rental car quite a bit nowadays, it makes it simpler for me to press record and verbally record my notes and ideas. Who knows, maybe the follow up report could be a recorded verbal Mp4 in the future versus just a typed up report as I don’t see why not as it conveys a message and serves its purpose. Maybe I will give it a try.
Any other tips/pointers from other successful sales managers for getting the field travel report out in a timely manner? Please do share below, thanks.