Battleship and Tour Planning

It’s hard to sink those elusive PT boats without a dynamic approach!

Playing Battleship and organizing a sales trip have a lot in common – and much more than they should have.

With the Battleship game, you have a certain number of targets ranging in size from carriers to tiny PT boats in a limited, but unseen, geographic area. Your goal is to find and sink these targets before the enemy has located and destroyed your fleet. Game on!

It’s a lot like a sales region.

You have a list of targets, some are big, some are important, and some are just potential. Time is limited and your competitor is out to do the same thing as you – only faster.

With Battleship, the usual strategy is to fire in a uniform grid that is sized to catch the mid-sized ships and hope to get a pesky PT boat by coincidence and luck. Without luck, the plan is to make the firing grid eventually smaller and make it impossible for them to escape.

And then there is the sales trip. “When it comes to establishing the target list, some use an Excel sheet to prioritize and others use their intuition,” points out Daniel Popa, head of products and innovation at maihiro products. There is also the problem of putting these targets into an actual route –straight lines, zig zag, or a combination of  the two – and placing this all within the time and geographic limits of a sales reps actual day. “Some reps might want to have 10-12 customer visits a day. And in the US, the distances are generally larger than in Europe.”

The problem is that deciding whether to zig or zag – either playing Battleship or planning a sales trip – is a minor, static part of the entire process. Unlike Battleship, business life is dynamic – new customers appear, there are traffic jams, priorities change from straight sales to lead nurturing.

Catching these changes – whether these are new contacts in the SAP Sales Cloud, unplanned accidents, and changing management objectives – also means going on the road with a dynamic route planner. There are limits to doing this with pen, paper, and an online map, points out Daniel: “It’s a question of establishing your priorities, then letting maiTour take it from there.”

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