Sales professionalism 17

By:  Dr. M. Shehab

All rights reserved to the writer

Time and territory management (TTM)

Sales people sometimes function in management roles like time and territory management which involve the planning, organizing and implementing of sales activities to optimize sales performance. The essential task of TTM is to determine which activities are most conductive to sales success and to perform these activities on priority basis.


The performance of sales people is affected by: objectives, territory and time use. The more information you have about these key variables, the better job you can do of adapting to changing market and organizational needs.

For sales person as effective TT manager he must complete three activities:

1-      Prioritize and plan their work. (Setting priorities)

2-      Execute their work in an efficient manner. (Efficient work execution )

3-      Analyze their efforts and results to seek continual improvement.

Setting priorities: Sales people (Medical Reps) priorities are set by annual objectives which divided into quarterly, monthly, weekly then daily and even individual sales call objectives. As we said before these objectives must be SMART. If the sales person doesn’t put a smart objective for his work he will not get the sales performance.

Sales person (Medical Rep) must determine how to allocate his time among customers. As Pareto law (80/20) which states that 80 percent of the company’s sales will come from 20 percent of your customers. So sales person must focus in those customers gives them more time, services and interest.

 Efficient work execution: In addition to prioritizing their work, sales people (Medical Reps) must execute it efficiently. For example before travelling sales person must plan his route and schedule his visits to avoid time wasting. He may use territory map indicating customers’ locations. He also concerns with adequate coverage for all customers. Sales people should plan to see their customers on a regular base but with different call frequency according to importance of each one and customer’s preference.


Analysis of efforts and results:  Sales people and sales managers should constantly analyze their efforts and results to try to improve the productivity and time spent on various activities. One standard tool for analyzing individual sales call is call report. Call report may be handwritten or entered to computer. The report should be written immediately after the call since information is updated from the report. Analysis of sales call on regular bases can lead to improved time and territory management.

   I.            Time Management


Time is the scarcest resource, and unless it is managed, nothing else can be managed. How do sales people (Medical Reps) use their working-time?

Sales people spend their time in selling like calling customers and non-selling like (travelling, waiting administrative work) activities .Some companies discover that sales people spent 30% only of their time in customer contact. Others discover that contact time is only 13%.

 New Picture

Effective time management requires you to Identify key activities to be accomplished., Prioritize activities (As: A, B & C), Rank orders the activity within the priorities, Estimate the time required for accomplishing each task and develop a plan to accomplish the activities.

New Picture (1)

 “A” Priorities Activities are:

  • Activities that require immediate attention
  • Activities your manager expects to do before anything else.
  • Activities, if not done “business will suffer”

“B” Priorities Activities are:

  • Important activities, but they are not as crucial as “A”
  • Activities, if they are not done “business will be partially/negatively impacted”

“C” Priorities Activities are:

  • Activities can be done once “A” & “B” is done.
  • Activities if not done: “minimal/marginal or no impact on business would occur”

                                                                                                                                         II.            Territorial management


Efficient Territory Management involves careful planning to cover most effectively the relevant type of customers and influencers. The objective of territorial planning is to subdivide the territory so as to provide as far as possible, an equitable work load every day to minimize time lost in traveling between widely scattered customers.

In order to determine “where” you would be on any day, appropriate maps of your territory are helpful to set up a routing plan. The map may be precise or just a rough drawing by the sales person (medical rep).

You should divide the territory into (4 or 5) bricks, and then each brick into (5 or 4) lists, each list should contain a suitable number of customers you could cover them adequately during a full work-day. You have then to write down a daily list of customers you are going to cover each day.

Unavoidably, whatever plans you are following, there will be exceptional emergencies which will justify unscheduled departures from orderly working. Nevertheless, this is does not alter the general value of the method and principles of territorial planning.

 For every Medical Rep., the more organized his territory work path, the more effective he will cover it at optimum efficiency. Remember that your results, in terms of sales-achievement, are strongly dependent on the regular follow-up on your customers.

Changes on the territory will sometimes call for variations in the daily routing plan. There is no carefully worked out system can give precise, regular, and permanent routes of travel. The importance of some customers will increase or diminish, so that, different “call-rates” or “time of call” will need to be re-established. Further, where more than one person needs to be seen at a given point of time, the time devoted to each should be correctly related to the customer’s current capacity to increase sales opportunities.

I will be happy with your comments.