[Interview] Continuous optimization of sales sectors and portfolios – The testimonial of Française des Jeux

 Oct 13, 2020

Photo credits: Dylan Nolte - Unsplash

Française des Jeux (FDJ) and GEOCONCEPT, an enduring partnership. Ever since 2007, the company has been using GEOCONCEPT’s expertise and tools for geo-marketing and map production purposes and then, starting in 2014, for sales territory management issues against a backdrop of change. Anaïs Combes, Project Manager at FDJ, reflects on the organization and tools put in place to create, optimize, and permanently update field sales staff portfolios.

Française des Jeux’s sales organization has undergone sweeping changes since 2014. Can you describe the current organization and say a few words about these changes?

The organization today is based on 3 Regional Directorates, subdivided into 52 geographical sectors with the same number of local agencies. Each agency is built around a team of salespeople whose task it is to develop and drive the sales outlets within their territory. Our sales force therefore manages a network of 30,000 sales outlets – the vast majority of them being bars, tobacconist’s shops and newsagents – spread over more than 11,000 municipalities. In terms of sales outlets, the FDJ distribution network is reputed to be the most extensive in France!

Starting in 2014, FDJ initiated a transformation of its sales and logistics organization. The team to which I belong was tasked with supporting the network and agencies throughout the key phases of this transformation. As part of this transformation, we turned to Geoconcept to simulate the mapping of sales sectors.

As part of the process of setting up the new organizational model, with customer parcels being delivered directly to sales outlets as a result of the centralization of preparation and dispatch from a central warehouse, the sales force was refocused on its core business, requiring a rebalancing and resizing of sales portfolios.

We decided to look for a specialist tool that would help us achieve “on demand” multi-criteria portfolio optimization and balancing to respond quickly to specific agency requirements.

What tool kit did you originally have for working on territory management and portfolios?

For some time, our working practices were rather archaic, using Excel files and maps, often on Google Maps and occasionally on paper. Given the number of parameters we were working with it was occasionally long and complicated – and all the more time-consuming as we virtually had to start again from scratch if one of the parameters changed, or the agency in question didn’t like the proposal. We therefore decided to look for a specialist tool that would help us achieve “on demand” multi-criteria portfolio optimization and balancing to respond quickly to specific agency requirements. We chose the Geoconcept Territory Manager solution on the one hand because GEOCONCEPT was known to FDJ for its geo-marketing solutions. On the other hand, among the solutions we evaluated, it was the best fit with all our criteria. Our decision was fully validated after a conclusive pilot period.

What are the main parameters used in creating and balancing portfolios?

One of the key points is the segmentation of our sales outlet network into four categories: Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze. This segmentation, based on the sales outlets’ average betting turnover, drives sales staff visit frequency. Typically, a “Platinum” sales outlet is visited 4 times as frequently as a “Bronze” sales outlet. The object of the exercise is to generate portfolios that are consistent with this segmentation and, obviously, to balance the portfolios of sales staff within the same sector. Their portfolios need to be equivalent in terms of the number of sales outlets and visits, given that each sales outlet is associated with a predetermined number of visits. Each portfolio also must be geographically logical, specifically relative to the salesperson’s place of abode, which is typically where his or her route starts from. Before Geoconcept Territory Manager, we needed at least a day to create such a scenario. Nowadays, we change the parameters directly within Geoconcept Territory Manager, and the tool generates a scenario for us within 30 seconds and several of them in record time. The timesaving is simply enormous!

We provide the FDJ agencies with an à la carte portfolio optimization service.

How are you organized to respond to portfolio change requests?

We centralized and pooled this capability. There are 4 of us in the team using Geoconcept Territory Manager and able to respond to the sales agencies’ specific requests and needs. Indeed, we provide the FDJ agencies with an à la carte portfolio optimization service.

The Regional Directorates escalate the requirements so that we can plan the responses. Using the tool’s agency criteria capitalization system, we can then run as many simulations as required by the agency’s managers. Geoconcept Territory Manager enables us to provide an output product comprising sector mapping with detailed data in Excel format.

After almost 2 years of use, what major benefits does Geoconcept Territory Manager provide you, as a user, and FDJ?

We are extremely satisfied with Geoconcept Territory Manager. As a user the most important benefit is without question the timesaving. The second major benefit is the increased relevance of the territories provided to the agencies and there is far less to-ing and fro-ing with the agencies. It really is an easy tool to use which, inherently, avoids weighting errors or simply oversights. I would like to add that after training I was soon able to work on my own. The GEOCONCEPT support has always been very responsive and helps find a solution.

For FDJ, Geoconcept Territory Manager is the ability quickly to translate sales organization-related assumptions and simulations. Making the organization more agile.

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