10 must-haves for the perfect sales visit


EFMP Dutch partner PSfm, share 10 important pointers to ensure successful field sales visits . 

As field marketers, our objective is to ensure that all our efforts work together to achieve a successful outcome. So, with this in mind, PSfm have outlined ten important ‘must-haves’ as follows: 

1. Choose the correct location

Location, location, location! Nothing is more frustrating than investing money and paying a lot of attention to an enterprise without it yielding  any return on investment. The location where your product is available or visible is therefore extremely important. So these questions need to be addressed. Is the point of sale at the heart of your target demographic? This is important for relevance, as is the information as to where specific products for that target group are available. But it does not end  there, say PSfm, also consider the location on the shop floor.  It is important to make sure that product-related displays, which are sometimes developed at significant expense, are actually on the shop floor and  situated in the best possible place.

2. Choose the right time

Time is money! And that is precisely why it is important to visit the locations at the best time. Be flexible and adjust the time to the assignment. For example, it may be required that the right contact person is present, or that sufficient time must be planned to be able to set up or adjust the shelves as optimally as possible.  At PSfm they determine the right time to visit, based on the assignment and to save time,  they also assess whether or not it is important to schedule an appointment in advance. 

3. A deal is a deal

Building a good  trusting relationship with a contact person is very important in order to get  things done. In the view of PSfm,  genuine interest, credibility and security are  important details when forging these work-related connections. On either side, failure to keep agreements is disastrous for the client/ customer relationship, and PSfm invest a lot of energy in building their client-customer relationships. In their view, even though building trust always takes more energy than breaking off an association;  from a business perspective,  it is energy and effort well spent. That is why the mantra, ‘a deal is a deal’, is one of their core values which serves to emphasize this commitment.

4. Provide the correct presentation

Appearance is everything. To ensure that the consumer is engaged by your product, it is  important that the product is presented in the right way. Of course it is necessary that attention is given to several in-store  marketing  factors such as the shelf layout and shelf height, but it is also important to remember the Second Placements, or Displays, in the store. Today’s consumers may no longer go through all the aisles checking products and they often practice convenience shopping, which involves a quick shopping tour without a cart. This has made Second Placement Displays more valuable than ever to attract the attention of consumers and to captivate their interest. And it is always important to remember that the price of items must always be clearly visible! 

5. Well trained personnel

Before the Field Sales Team start on a project, a so-called on-boarding program is very valuable. It is important that the team thoroughly understand the most important elements of the brand such as product and sales training and techniques. For example, as well as implementing training programs using available technology, one can now also hone in on the various personality types by means of DISC assessments and learn how best to deal with them. The team must also be trained to know everything about the brands products that they represent so that they can answer all possible questions. In addition, it is good for them to undergo training in commercial skills and interpersonal relationships. For example, it is advisable for them to learn how to deal with objections, and also to realise  what one radiates through non-verbal communication, and the impact that this can have on achieving the desired sales outcome.

6. The right profile

It is the view of PSfm that you can train teams and happily send everyone into the field, but the most important thing is that the field team connects with the brand and can propagate it. It all starts with a pre-selection of the right people for this role.  Depending on the role and the brand, the ideal characteristics for brand ambassadors may vary, but the basis for field sales consists of experience within the channel, the right sales skills, communication skills, product knowledge and a proactive attitude. The recruitment department within PSfm regularly works with Personas to determine the perfect candidate before they are selected. In this way they prevent a mismatch with the brand and the assignment in 97% of all filled positions.

7. Build a relationship

The added value of a good employee lies in the relationships that they are able to build with the contact persons in-store. A relationship starts with trust, and as mentioned previously, relies on the premise that agreements are always expected to be fulfilled.  By honoring agreements, you do not create a favor factor; that the agreement is fulfilled is an expected outcome. That is why it is important to show genuine interest and to listen effectively, and to ask relevant questions in order to establish what the client’s explicit wishes and expectations are. When a good relationship has been established with the in-store contact person, many more commercial opportunities have the potential to arise as a result of the client having been satisfied with the work already performed on their behalf. 

8. Sustainability

Sustainability is not only a buzz- word, it is the present and the future of business operations. It provides for cost savings and also makes use of certain subsidies. In all types of field marketing processes, it is a concern to focus on creating as little waste as possible and to be conscious of the use of sustainable materials and practices where at all possible. For example, one can choose to work with sustainable and recyclable promotional materials for a campaign, and to modify and re-purpose some, or all, of those materials for subsequent outreaches. In addition, it is very valuable and cost-effective to plan efficient campaign routes to minimize carbon footprint and save fuel expenses, and also, if and when possible, to drive hybrid cars to reduce CO2 emissions.

9. Reporting & data

Data is key! It is extremely important that all facts and necessary information are accurately recorded during a site visit. With this information, insights arise to optimize all intended factors. This also offers possibilities in the relationship between the provider and user. Manufacturers can profile the entrepreneurs even better and thus discover where future opportunities lie. With the M.A.R.K. we can keep track of what is happening during all current projects in real time. This system can be customized for each project. The field sales teams are assessed by registering, for example, each visit, visit duration, the number of placements, turnover and new distribution points. In addition, it is important that documentation is kept for each visit so that the field sales teams are well prepared, and with the correct information at hand, can effectively implement the next visit. Everything can be measured, and thus it is always possible to determine the ROI of a campaign or visit.

PSfm have outlined 9 ‘must-haves’ required to determine the perfect sales visit, but in their opinion, there is still one more important factor to mention. They are convinced that this is an essential ‘must-have’ in order to achieve success within any field sales team or campaign.

10. Perfect preparation

“Be prepared!” Regardless of the work that has to be done, a field sales visit succeeds or fails on whether or not there was adequate, well planned preparation. Every visit starts consistently, time and again, with a considerable amount of preparation.

To give one example, PSfm teach their employees to make an inventory of the agreements made during a previous visit. They then draw up an agenda for a meeting where the relevant topics are addressed, such as: What was discussed and what were the goals? Have the goals set been achieved? And, what is the purpose of the upcoming visit? 

It is important to establish what these parameters are and to set clearly defined mutually acceptable goals. As PSfm’s MD, Kees Wolswinkel, stated succinctly, “Without a goal, the achievable is unattainable!” 

Furthermore, on a point of order, it almost goes without saying that before setting out all the materials that the field sales employee has at his disposal, including promotional support and electronic aids must be thoroughly checked.

And last, but by no means least, PSfm recommends that team members take a few deep breaths and put on a winning smile! Clearly, the importance of a positive attitude and pleasant disposition cannot be over emphasized. 

These useful Top 10 Tips from PSfm can help achieve the perfect field marketing sales situation in order to gain the desired effect and maximize profits for clients. 

Are you curious about more background facts or more in-depth information about the above sales ‘must-haves’? Or are you interested in finding out how PSfm can assist your business to attain its goals?   

Then don’t delay, contact PSfm, for your Field Marketing requirements, and benefit from their expertise!

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