Beat Plan: Importance In Sales And Distribution Management

A good beat strategy is one of the most critical parts of FMCG sales and distribution management for the plain reason being that it prevents wastage of time and effort. Clearly defined territories guarantee that field executives do not overlap and focus on their outlets and produce business, which is the organization’s ultimate goal. This framework must be carefully constructed to properly align business objectives with resource capabilities to accomplish revenue targets. For an FMCG firm and its stakeholders, beat planning is essential for each distribution point and each sales resource.

What is beat planning?

Beat planning and beat optimization are two words that create the groundwork for any consumer products company’s sales distribution system. It’s a sales route map created for field sales representatives on a specific day and a specific beat.

If you haven’t thought of beat planning yet, it’s high time you get started as it comes with a whole lot of benefits, here’s why:

Increased Productivity:

Without a doubt, it increases the team’s productivity by drastically reducing travel time. As a result, there will be more visits per day and more time spent at the outlets or point of sale.

Cost-cutting:

Cutting costs will also save money on travel expenses. By using efficient beat planning, one can tremendously reduce total TA costs. 

Healthier Relationship: 

No one can deny the impact a store can have on a brand’s sales by influencing customers. This influence is achievable if the customer and the retailer have a strong relationship. And the relationship with the retailer is bound to improve due to the prolonged time spent at the shops.

Traditionally, beat planning and optimization were handled at the line manager level. For example, an area sales manager who was an expert in a specific location with extensive knowledge of each beat; However, when the retail industry grew and added more locations and products, this activity could no longer be appropriately completed by hand; therefore, corporations turned to technology to automate the process.

What is Route Planning?

The practice of calculating the most efficient mode of transportation or transfers across multiple stops is called route planning. Route planning is used to determine which route is the most cost-effective when going from one location to another. For route planning and compiling the required routes, most logistics or transportation organizations employ applications/software. Consider the situation when you need to get from your office to a specific store. The office and the shop, in this case, serve as the source and destination, respectively. The route to take results from the route-planning algorithm. It specifies all of the roads and intersections needed to get to the destination from the source.

If you’re wondering what’s different between a route and a beat, know that a route is a collection of beats placed together, and depending on the number of outlets along the route, a route may have one or more beats. In comparison, a beat is a defined schedule of outlets to be covered on a single day. Which is also referred to as a daily beat plan.

A beat plan has mainly two components, out of which one is the schedule of clients to be visited each day and the second is the route to be followed each day.

The beat plan is super important, especially for a sales person. All you need to do is carefully draft a good beat plan and stick to it to cover your sales territory effectively.

However, as a salesperson/manager, you should instinctively consider the below two factors before formulating a beat plan.

Hierarchy:

Based on the business, consider dividing your counters/dealers into categories and then finally decide the frequency of visits required for each type.

Geography: 

Consider all areas to be visited and possible travel time. Once you’re done with that, narrow down on routes that will help you cover maximum counters in the shortest duration possible.

A well-thought-out beat plan strategy is crucial for sales and distribution management. It ensures that the organization clearly defines, aids in team focus, and maximizes field force efficiency while minimizing travel and time expenditures. The consumer goods companies are definitely on the path to experience a rise in employee productivity, sales, and customer happiness if they follow the above criteria to build an intelligent territory strategy.

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