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  • Sales calls management: visit plus location management

    I suppose a zillion of people have the same problem I have, and use GDT, and so have probably developped some simple ways of handling this:

    I have a number of people/places to visit outside (both sales and service calls), mostly within 2 hrs drive from the office: for some the time/date is given by the clients, some I go alone, others with an employee, some are urgent some not, etc. I generally have a whole list of people I promised I would call them "when we plan to be in your area". Still, the number of calls is way too small for justifying a high tech system, but I feel the current highly intuitive system based on "OK I have to go there tomorrow, let's see who I could call in the neighborhood" is not efficient.

    How do you people do that ? The informations are multi-dimensional (place, time constrains, who is coming) and quickly obsolete. One could do it with a map (paper or computer based) with labels, or start with the calendar ... does anybody have a good system and wants to share its insights ?

  • #2
    This probably won't work if you have more than 200-300 potential customer locations at any given time, but I use a road map on a cork board with color-coded pins. (Color codes designate potential purchase size).

    My tracking system is a hybrid - partly paper-based and partly electronic. I usually plan trips around one or two "pivot appointments" and then glance at the map to see what other potential contacts exist in that geographical area. I then have to consult my electronic and/or hard-copy files to gather all the names, phone, numbers, and addresses. to take with me.

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    • #3
      have you looked into CRM software?

      check out http://www.salesforce.com/

      I've never used it but I hear good things about it.

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      • #4
        I get a lot of "paper" leads. I can't possibly stay on top of each and don't input them into Outlook until I actually have a conversation with them. Once I speak with them and there is potential business, I enter them into my GTD system in Outlook that syncs with my Palm. I suppose I could enter them all and assign categories base on cities or counties, but it seems like too much work until I have established some sort of relationship with the suspect.

        Until I have something to work on with the lead, they are filed in low tech file folders by city or county whichever makes sense for that area.

        Who is travelling with me doesn't make any difference to me when it comes to who I will call or go by to see when in a particular area.

        Anything that is truly urgent or important (appointments and critical to-dos) go on my calendar as these are hard landscape items.

        I will also plan my trips around "pivot" appointments. If I schedule an appt. two hours South of town, I work like mad to fill up the space on either side of the appointment with something productive (i.e. other appointments). By having the low tech files with leads sorted by geographical location, it is very easy to see who I can call quickly to schedule additional appointments.

        Take care.

        kbcooley

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        • #5
          Originally posted by remyc88
          have you looked into CRM software?

          check out http://www.salesforce.com/

          I've never used it but I hear good things about it.
          Looks good but expensive, or am I missing something ? The min. seems to be "$995 a year for five users".

          Also I do not see something about geographic location / maps ?

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          • #6
            Originally posted by spectecGTD
            This probably won't work if you have more than 200-300 potential customer locations at any given time, but I use a road map on a cork board with color-coded pins. (Color codes designate potential purchase size).

            My tracking system is a hybrid - partly paper-based and partly electronic. I usually plan trips around one or two "pivot appointments" and then glance at the map to see what other potential contacts exist in that geographical area. I then have to consult my electronic and/or hard-copy files to gather all the names, phone, numbers, and addresses. to take with me.
            I like the low-tech & high tech mix: I just started trying this: I put the roam map on the wall, red pins for the 2-3 contacts "to absolutely positively visit" and yellow one for the others. This should keep it simple enough. I'll report the experiences from this system in some time.

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            • #7
              If you do "circle trips" covering several cities in a day or more, it's also a good idea to cut out one of those matrix charts showing distances between cities and pin it to the cork board. A further helpful idea is to keep a strip of paper or cardboard marked with intervals of 20-40-60-80-100 miles according to how the map is scaled. This distance chart and/or strip of paper can be very helpful in estimating driving time between points at the same time as you are looking at the map & planning who best to visit.

              I regard this as planning the trip in 3 dimensions: 1) Customer priority; 2) reasonable time & distance constraints; and 3) Efficient planning of road time before you get in the car. The only thing left is to actually use the driving time effectively - has anybody mastered how to type on the PDA while driving and not spill the coffee or drop the danish?

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              • #8
                Originally posted by spectecGTD
                The only thing left is to actually use the driving time effectively - has anybody mastered how to type on the PDA while driving and not spill the coffee or drop the danish?
                Yeah - use the voice recorder.

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