Activity Data consolidated from 5,000 Field Reps using Mobile CRM and
Repsly is the world’s leading provider of Mobile CRM and Data Collection Software, with nearly 500 customers gathering field data in over 40 countries. Repsly end users consist of mobile workers that range from independent sales reps to large scale merchandising service organizations to regional construction services companies and everything in between. Nearly all of our customers are interested in data that is germane to their industry, region, or specific product or service; however the common thread through all of these organizations is the Mobile CRM Data that field reps generate simply by executing their jobs.
This data can provide great insights into productivity, focus, accountability and the overall health of a field organization. Collecting and analyzing activity data creates the baselines and the measures needed to effectively manage and optimize field operations. We have anonymized and aggregated all of the activity data from millions of tasks completed by thousands of reps around the world who use the Repsly Mobile CRM and Data Collection software. This data can provide insights that will help organizations understand how they are performing when compared to their peers and competitors in terms of mobile workforce management.
This report is the first in a series that analyzes these millions of Data Collection Software records. The report provides data about mobile worker activities segmented across regions of the world. We share a summarized view of data by region, and propose some potential explanations for the variations. You are free to use this data with no obligation other than to share and cite it freely!
This report focuses on six key metrics that apply to nearly all of the 5,000 field representatives included in the study: Visits per Day, Activities per Visit, Minutes per Visit, Minutes per Activity, Productive Time (and Efficiency Rating), and number of Photos taken per visit. We examine each slice of information, including what may influence the numbers, how managers may interpret the data, and the raw metrics themselves that you may compare against your own organization’s performance.
There is a wide range of mobile workforce management style and culture across the regions represented in the Repsly Mobile CRM Data. For example, we see great differences between the amount of time spent at customer sites across different regions, and find that this metric doesn’t necessarily align with the number of activities completed by reps in each area.
On the surface these differences might be interpreted to indicate how hard different field teams are working; however on deeper contemplation it most likely indicates cultural differences in how business is conducted around the world.
Repsly Data Collection Software is used to conduct business in all corners of the world, and across all types of businesses. We have organized the data across two dimensions in this report: Region and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
The regions included in this report consist of: the U.S, which makes up about 20% of the activities in the data set, Latin America (5% including all of South America, Central America and Mexico), the continent of Africa (15%), Asia Pacific (45% and including Asia, Australia and New Zealand), and Europe (15%).
This report focuses on six Key Performance Metrics (KPIs). These metrics generally indicate how much activity a rep completes, and how efficiently the rep’s time is spent. These are core KPIs for effectively managing a field organization as they can identify:
The data in the Repsly Mobile CRM Report is aggregated across all industries and serves as a general guide to how measures compare regionally. The brief analysis in each section is a view into the factors that should be considered when an organization examines its own performance.
The number of customer visits made by each field representative on average each day.
This is a key productivity metric that must be examined within the context of specific cases. For example, two reps with the same job description, working for the same company can have drastically different customer visit measures; one making a total of 2-3 visits per day, and their counterpart making 6-8 visits per day. This could represent a glaring training issue that needs to be addressed, or it could be perfectly within an acceptable range if, for example, the first rep has a rural territory and the second works in an urban environment.
Other factors that can impact visits per day may include:
- The type of work being done by the rep; a service tech may be able to complete more routine maintenance visits than installation visits, for example.
- Seasonality; there may be different responsibilities during peak times of year vs. during the slower periods for a given industry.
- The type of customer being visited; a merchandiser will be able to complete more calls in variety stores than in ‘big box’ retailers.
Cultural factors may also impact the number of visits that a rep makes, such as the social nature of conducting business, and the acceptable length of the typical work day or week. All of these factors must be considered when assessing your organization’s performance.
The number of visits made each day by the average rep is significantly higher in Latin America than anywhere else in the world. According to Repsly’s Mobile CRM Data, Latin American field reps visit 9.6 customers each day, 78% more than African reps who only make their way to 5.4. Surprisingly, the Latin American reps report 25% less working time each day than their African counterparts, spending 208 minutes vs 278.
This disparity is tied to the length of time reps spend with each client (Latin Americans spend 17 minutes while Africans spend 37), possibly combined with the time it takes to get from one customer to the next, and the customary workday length in each region. These factors must be taken into consideration when analyzing what the correct visits/day target is for a given field organization. It may be impossible to control the dispersal of customers and the resulting time it takes to travel between them; however the length of each client visit is a combination of management’s plan for what should occur during the visit and the rep’s execution of that plan.
The average number of activities that a rep completes at each customer visit.
Activities that make up the Repsly Mobile CRM Data consist of filling out mobile forms, creating orders, completing audits or inspections, taking notes or taking photos outside of the context of a mobile form.
The number of activities per visit is tied tightly to the expected work process associated with each customer visit. Organizations may break the goals of a customer visit into discrete activities that they want their reps to complete, may separate administrative tasks from actual work, or may even organize activities by work category (e.g.; installations vs. routine maintenance vs. certification inspections). The number of completed activities can provide a view into how complex the average visit is, and how broadly distributed the work categories are.
According to Repsly’s data, the average field rep completes 3.38 activities per visit, with a range across the five major regions studied from 1.4 activities/visit in Europe to 6.0 activities in Asia/Pacific.
Activities per visit can provide insights to the complexity of the work that is going on, and the drive of reps to complete tasks. Organizations may decide to break work down into discrete tasks (activities), and coach reps to complete each task in sequence in order to simplify the execution of the entire visit, and in order to capture metrics about each major component of a client visit.
An example of this may be a “Direct Store Delivery” visit made by a beverage representative to a grocery store. In this example, the rep may be prompted with four activities: Take inventory of the existing product on the shelf, Create an order to refill the shelves, Complete in-store Marketing Activities, Complete a survey of competitor activity. Breaking the visit into these discrete steps helps the representative stay focused on each part of the visit, ensures that all of the major activities are completed, and enables management to collect metrics on each part of the visit.
On the other hand, organizations want to be careful about giving their reps too many activities to manage. For example, it might not be a good idea to create a separate survey for each competitor, or a mobile form for each In-Store promotion to set up.
The length of time that a rep spends at each customer location.
This measure is a combination of ‘explicit’ and ‘implicit’ visit information; explicit being visits where the rep checked in and out of a visit, and implicit being where Repsly calculates the time with a customer based on the start of the first activity and the submission of the last. Minutes per visit is a key metric that is directly impacted by the type and amount of work that needs to be performed at each visit. When these factors are rationalized, the minutes per visit are one of the best indicators of rep efficiency.
Quantitative focused organizations may push reps to reduce the amount of time they spend on each customer visit, so they can get more visits completed per day; however qualitative focused organizations may coach reps to spend a bit more time with customers to strengthen relationships and to encourage open feedback.
When combined with activities per visit, the time per visit becomes even more meaningful as it can indicate how much time is being spent on a per task basis.
Field reps in Europe spend the shortest amount of time with their customers (16 minutes/visit). This is less than half the time spent by African field reps (37 minutes/visit).
Possible explanations for the disparity in the amount of time reps spend with their clients from one region to another range from a the cultural propensity to engage more on a social level as part of the customer interaction in some areas, to potential differences in value placed on strict adherence to process.
Measuring the amount of time a rep spends completing tasks is a key element of understanding their work process and habits. Assessing this metric within the context of the work being done, quality of the results and the overall investment being made is critical to planning the appropriate approach to managing how reps conduct their visits.
The average number of minutes a rep spends completing each activity.
The time that reps take to complete individual activities is a combination of the granularity and complexity of the tasks that have been assigned, and the speed with which they are working. These metrics vary with industry, but can be quite useful within an industry or organization when examined within the context of quality scores. Organizations that focus on quality may tend to have longer activity times than those focused more on operational efficiency. Organizations often try to achieve a balance between cost and quality, and in the case of field operations, the time spent on each activity can greatly influence both parameters, making it a natural place to focus measurement and coaching.
The Repsly Mobile CRM Data shows that organizations in Asia/Pacific appear to be far more focused on efficiency than those in the rest of the world, completing activities in an average of 4.44 minutes while European companies may be more focused on quality with an average activity time of 11.56 minutes.
The time spent on site, and the ratio of this time to all of the time worked.
The Repsly Mobile CRM Data includes two measures of work time: Time from the start of day to the end of day, and time at client sites (visit time). The difference between these is the time spent travelling between sites, performing administrative tasks, or taking part in some other activity that is not related to customer visits.
The ratio between the time spent with customers, and the total workday time can be a good proxy for the efficiency of the rep or field team. This report takes this ratio to represent an Efficiency Rating.
A key metric for field organization to gauge operational efficiency with is ‘Productive time’. Repsly considers this to be the time spent ‘on location’ with clients, or at service locations. The ratio of this productive time vs the total time spent from the start to the end of the workday represents a basic measure of Efficiency (Efficiency Rating). This rating can be used to judge the efficiency of territory plans, and to identify training opportunities within an organization.
The Repsly Mobile CRM Data indicates that the most efficient field organizations in the world are in the Asia Pacific region where an average of 88.5% of time is spent on locations vs. traveling or on administrative tasks. This may be due to a concentration of field work in large cities where the distance between clients or service points is very short. The Efficiency Rating in Europe, on the other hand, is 43.4%, indicating that Europeans spend most of their time traveling between customers, or working on administrative tasks. Globally, the average efficiency rating across all Repsly users is 66.1%.
The total number of photos a rep takes on a typical client visit.
Photos provide more qualitative data from the field. Reporting photo metrics separately from the numeric and text based-data gathered in mobile forms, audits and orders gives an indication of how much an organization values information that comes from outside the analytics derived from traditional data.
Photos give organizations the ability to ‘see what their reps see’ and are used by field teams in a variety of ways, such as:
- Proof of delivery of a product or service,
- Documentation of pre-existing conditions,
- Details associated with an inspection, or
- Visibility into competitor activities (e.g.; Endcap Displays at retail).
Organizations that make photos part of their field work process can use the frequency of photos in work reports as an indication of how thoroughly the work processes are being followed, or the relative occurrence of issues of a certain priority.
The type of activity that management prescribes can tell a lot about the culture of the organization's mobile workforce management, whether it is influenced by the region of the world, the industry the company is part of, or simply the leadership of the organization itself. Some organizations are quantitatively focused, analyzing numbers and ratios to determine how well the team is performing; while others are more qualitatively focused, looking at the relationships between types of work, levels of execution, and customer feedback to determine how much value the organization is generating.
Additionally, field organizations can prioritize either the task execution metrics, or the observations that these teams make and report back to management. Both are equally valuable, and the focus can swing between extremes on both ends. As an organization develops accountability and discipline, it may shift to more analysis of data related to rep’s observations rather than their execution, and if the quality and consistency of that data begins to deteriorate, organizations may shift the emphasis back to execution.
Photos as a form of data collection can be used in both environments, though it is more likely that qualitatively oriented companies rely on them more for gathering market information from the field (e.g.; photos of a competitor’s activity) than for driving accountability (e.g.; photos of work that the rep has completed).
The Repsly Mobile CRM Data shows that organizations in Europe differ significantly from the rest of the world in their reliance on Photos. European field reps take only .26 photos per visit, while the rest of the world ranges from .60 photos per visit in Asia Pacific to .74 photos in Latin America.
Repsly’s consolidated Mobile CRM Data shows that there are significant differences across regions of the world when it comes to Key Performance Indicators for Field Teams. These metrics are heavily influenced by culture, geography and the general economics across the regions. When assessing a single organization’s performance, it is crucial to recognize the impact that each of these factors has on its operations. Measuring the relative performance of a field team against peer organizations will create a baseline that can be used to manage performance over time, and measuring individual mobile workers against team performance will be more effective than comparing to larger scale samples.