A customer survey can be used to ask key questions that will quickly troubleshoot the problem and tell you whether you have a valid reason to dig deeper. Your customers can provide valuable insight into whether the account executive (farmer) portion of the sales force size is too thin. If you need more help with your territory alignment, request a brief 30-minute workshop with an expert. Simply send us a note and we will schedule an introductory call to share territory alignment best practices and resources.
Customers Know – Just Ask
If your customers complain that they are not sure who their salesperson is or they do not see them enough then you have good reason to analyze what’s happening, and the answer may be a thin sales force. A customer survey can be used to measure the current customer point of view to get insights into sales force sizing issues faced in Territory Design. An effective survey should have the following characteristics:
- Brevity – fifteen or less questions
- Clarity – questions should lack ambiguity
- Non-influential – questions should not “lead the witness” or otherwise suggest a response
In addition, depending on how your farmer reps are organized (company size, vertical, geography, etc.) make sure you ask question in the survey so you can cross-tab the survey results and dial into potential sizing issues by segment. This also provides your sales managers with insight into potential performance issues.
Suggested Questions for Your Customer Survey
The following questions are a good basis upon which to build your customer survey.
- Does your account executive communicate from you at the appropriate interval? (Y/N) – (Select Interval – Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Quarterly, Semi-Annually, Annually)
- Does your account executive follow up on your requests within a 48 hour period? (Y/N)
- Would you prefer online ordering methods, telephone ordering methods or face to face salesperson ordering methods? (Select “Prefer Online Ordering”, “Prefer Telephone Ordering” or “Prefer Face to Face Salesperson Ordering”)
- Does your account executive offer you additional new services? (Yes, No, or My account executive doesn’t offer additional services)
- Have you considered switching to another vendor due to lack of sales support? (Y/N)
- Do you derive value from your account executive in product selection or purchase decision making? (Y/N)
- Do you keep up to date on the latest product advancements and notifications via your sales person or some other means? (Choose “Sales person” or “Other Means”)
- Do you look forward to meeting with your account executive? (Y/N)
- Is it clear to you who you should contact for ordering or discussing any of our products? (Y/N)
- Who prompts you to increase or decrease the amount you order?
While this approach of using a customer survey to identify potential sizing issues does not replace the more exhaustive sales force sizing analysis, it does give you an efficient first step to stick your toe in the water to evaluate the urgency and existence of a sizing issue. Analyzing the responses from your customers will tip you off if your farmer sales force is too thin, and has the benefit of letting your customers know you are interested in their feedback.
If you need more help with your territory alignment, request a brief 30-minute workshop with an expert. Simply send us a note and we will schedule an introductory call to share territory alignment best practices and resources.