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Last week, we provided an overview of our retail execution capabilities in C4C and how the entire process is centered around the visit, which the sales user performs at the customer site or any other location.

(In case you’d like to refer back to our first blog entry providing an overview on retail execution follow this link:

This week, we’ll go more in depth in regards to our route planning capabilities that allow users to plan and generate mass visits in advance, as well as how activity plans and routing rules can be utilized to properly route desired tasks and surveys to visits.

Plan Your Visits Efficiently using Routes

In C4C, routes act as the single point of entry for visit planning. Users can create custom route plans for sales personnel or utilize templates to conveniently re-generate often used route plans.

Key Features

  • Organize list of accounts to be visited with
  • Addition of accounts by search / query
  • Suggested accounts based on due / overdue accounts with no current visits planned
  • Honor account/sales-area based visit frequency and recurrence when planning across proposed date ranges
  • Exclusions of days of the week from planning
  • Honor account-level visiting hours
  • Automatic rescheduling
  • Re-align correct start and end times automatically for all visits upon time value changes
  • Manage visit attendees in route
  • Generate mass visits from a route
  • Link to generated visits within route

Visit Proposal

When creating a route, users can utilize queries to specify accounts that need to be visited. When planning visits for accounts that are due to be visited for a specified date range, additional criteria such as sales area, region, classification and account types can be used to further narrow down the desired short list.

After the desired criteria is maintained, users can also initiate visit recurrence, such that the route will display the number of recurring visits that would prospectively occur in the proposed date range. If the accounts are then selected for addition to the route plan, the first visit will be added on the account visit due date, with each recurring visit being added based on the visit frequency maintained in the account.

Validating Route before Visit Generation

After adding accounts to be visited to the route, the route will validate that the proposed date and time coincides with the account’s visiting hours or existing items on the user’s Calendar. If not, warnings are displayed onscreen to notify the user of any existing conflicts.

Within the route, users can view a prospective driving route to be taken day by day, and make changes to the route taken directly in the map view. Using the up and down arrows, users will see the route changes and driving route reflected in real-time. After the map view is closed, the new desired route changes for the day will then be reflected in the route plan. 

Users can also utilize a calendar preview to get an idea of the employee’s schedule before and after visits are generated from the route plan.

Planning and Routing Tasks/Surveys to Visits

Activity plans and routing rules are used to determine what tasks and surveys sales representatives should expect within their visits.  Desired tasks are defined directly within the activity plan, while valid and active surveys are added. Notes and attachments maintained at the task level within the activity plan are also transferred to the tasks once they are determined for a visit.

Within the activity plan, administrators can maintain tasks of one-time frequency. While by default, tasks are determined each time, tasks can be designated for one-time execution per account. Once the one-time task has been completed, all future visits for that account will no longer contain the task; however, if the visit containing the one-time task is cancelled, or the visit is completed without completing the one-time task, the task is then moved to an existing future visit within the validity date range, or awaits in the system for another visit to be determined. Upon transfer of the one-time task, characteristics like the task owner/processor, territory, and organizational unit are updated to reflect the current visit where it exists.

Routing rules are account-driven conditions which can be maintained as separate “OR” or grouped “AND” conditions to create as simple or as complex structures as needed to match specific account and visit criteria. Upon rule match, the activity plans maintained within the routing rule object will have their worklists determined for the visit.      

By maintaining automatic/manual assignment, validity date ranges and routing conditions, administrators have complete control over the sales representative’s worklist when they execute their visits. Administrators can also designate tasks/surveys as mandatory, and utilize scoping configurations to ensure that mandatory tasks/surveys are completed before the sales rep can check out of the visit.

After visits are created for an account, there is a background job that executes every eight minutes to determine worklist items for new visits. In addition, there’s also a nightly background job that refreshes visits with the latest worklist items and survey products that are newly relevant for the visit based on new activity plan or routing criteria. The visit can also be manually refreshed with the latest worklist items by triggering the ‘Refresh Visit’ action directly within the visit.

Worklist items that were designated to be automatically assigned will directly display in the relevant worklists within the visit. Sales representatives would have the option to manually add worklist items that are currently unassigned.

Hopefully, this blog entry provided some insights as to how route and activity planning can be effectively used to prepare and plan visits for sales representatives while ensuring proper task and survey execution. Let us know your thoughts on this topic and keep an eye out for next week’s blog entry where we’ll delve deeper into other focus areas of retail execution.

In the next blog of the series you will get to know more about Surveys