Daily activity reports - Sales Management

Some form of daily activity report should be required from all levels of salespersons including territory salespersons, key account managers and field sales managers, partly asa record of activity and partly for management control purposes.

A key account executive is likely to fill in form of contact report, which is basically brief record of who was met, points discussed,agreements reached, and subsequent action required (including a note of who should progress the action).

An-example-of-a-daily-activity-report

Any field sales manager working with subordinate with the objective of monitoring performance and providing training and motivation should prepare a brief training review record noting strengths and weaknesses observed and training given. This record should be kept as part of ongoing performance review and development programmes.

If a field sales manager is making visits to retail or other trade customers with a view to establishing levels of display and distribution, his or her observations should be recorded on simple form to be reviewed with the appropriate salesperson as soon afterwards as practical.

Prompt feedback is an essential element of training and development processes if the feedbacks to have current relevance to activities and performance. When a field sales manager is conducting follow -check audit on a recent day’s work by territory salesperson (which is particularly appropriate in many consumer goods markets), the best recording aid is to use the manager’s copy of the relevant daily activity report, and mark observations on the copy as appropriate.

At the level of the territory salesperson, the daily activity report is most important to:

  • identify the salesperson and territory
  • identify who was visited: customer name and address provide a statement of daily work activity and achievements
  • summarize orders taken on journey
  • summarize special in-call activity (product merchandising, promotional activity, etc.)
  • provide a post-call control to line managers
  • assist in monitoring performance and training needs
  • enable actual calls made to be compared with scheduled calls in the territory sales journey schedule (i.e. to check the scheduled call coverage)
  • monitor pioneer calling activity (i.e. contact with new prospective customers,where all such contacts should be recorded on the daily report)
  • enable field audit checks to substantiate reports based upon the salesperson’reported activity.

Daily activity reports can also be designed to record information covering:

  • time of first and last calls
  • time spent in each call
  • in-call activity
  • contacts made
  • objectives
  • orders received
  • mileage
  • use of time (time of entry to first call – exit from last call).

There is no ideal format for a salesperson’daily activity report. Design and layout(whether in paperwork form, or using a computer reporting system as now used in many selling organizations) should be suited to the information and management control needs of the business. What is important is that every salesperson has an obligation to record relevant daily activities and achievements asa personal discipline and management control.

Some companies do tend to adopt the approach that their salespersons are well known to the company, and can be trusted to be working. The purpose of a daily report is not to show distrust: it is to provide a means of accurate measurement of activity that can then provide a focus on ways to improve skills and productivity, to improve returns from that very valuable company resource –the sales team. A simple design format is illustrated in Table.

The advantage of a daily activity report is that it focuses attention over a relatively short time span, and adds a sense of urgency to selling as the salesperson is faced with writing his or her results down as the day progresses.

Some information should always be recorded, such as the customers visited and the orders taken (with a note of value or volume,such as bottles sold, if that is easier to record against target). The information recorded in the other columns can focus attention on priorities in any month, such as distribution, display and promotional factors.

Using the daily activity report

There are many variations on this format that might suit a company, but most will be similar in content.

  • Calls should be recorded in the order in which they are made.
  • If a duplicate form is used, then the back copy can be used as a pre-planning(journey plan) copy, where the salesperson submits his or her proposed daily itinerary in advance, in calling order, and a field sales manager should be able to pick the salesperson up on journey.
  • Also, where a pre-planning copy is made,this can be cross-checked with calls actually made (calls not made will not show entries under the category headings).
  • The column headings can either have permanent recording categories preprinted in, or can be varied monthly according to priorities for recording and monitoring.

In the example of Table, particularly suited to retail selling:

  • the volume headings, A to E, might bemused for the top five brands, or top four plus one brand on special promotion;
  • the facings heading, which in this case is intended to measure the number of display facings of product on the standard shelf fixtures, similarly can bemused for a regular set of products, or varied to note special products of interest to the company;
  • the promotions heading leaves room to record up to three special promotional activities, such as demonstrations, offish displays, point of sale material, etc.
  • The salesperson can record his or her daily and cumulative progress against targets at the bottom of the sheet.
  • New prospects (pioneer) calls can be entered on the daily activity report from the bottom upwards, so that they are noted separately.
  • Monitoring mileage and time into first cal land out of last call acts as a control on salesperson productivity.
  • Inter-salesperson comparisons can be made on:
  • call rates
  • sales to calls ratios and average sales values and volumes per call
  • average time spent in call, etc.

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