Getting reliable reports from salesmen


Here are three questions to be asked to determine just how necessary a report a request for information might be:

  1. Is this information necessary to maintain control of the salesman’s activity “for routing purposes”, one company insisted that its salesmen file daily mileage reports. And yet, it was unable to demonstrate any way in which this information was ever used for routing control. Salesmen had complied freedom to route themselves. The only mileage figure actually needed available from the monthly expense report.

2.            If there information is useful, is it being used?

As already mentioned, reports that are not read and acted upon worthless even if they contain much potentially valuable information. The better to eliminate reports that you do not have time to use, because salesmen quickly discover whether or not they are performing worthwhile paperwork, ands they resent filling out reports that are of no practical value.

3.            Is, there some other way to get this information?

One manager was interested in the average number of calls his men had make on a customer before that prospect signed an order. He designed special form that showed the date of each call prior to the one in which the sale was made. The form was in use for 2 months before one of the salesmen suggested that they simply jot down the number of the order-getting call at the bottom of the order blank. This has the manager all the information he needed, and saved the salesman the trouble of completing the extra form.


Don’t base discipline on what salesmen report.

Show that the reported data is read & used.

Check reported information personally from time to time.

Other control mechanism, which may be used to evaluate the effectiveness of the personal selling effort.

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