How to Structure Time off Territory Data

Data Structure
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There is no reason to complicate Time off Territory registration. René shares his thoughts on Off-Territory data and pick-lists in Veeva CRM.

Having worked with multiple pharma companies on their CRM implementation I have often wondered about what lengths companies will go to create a comprehensive pick list of “Time off Territory” (ToT) reasons. Much effort is thrown into the discussion about local reporting requirements and the value of the list of reasons already implemented in their business.

Time off Territory is relevant and i’d be the first to say so.
For HR, in regard to contractual regulations, to keep track of vacation, sick leave and paternity leave etc. As well as local or national legislation and reporting requirements when it comes to e.g. jury duty or union work.
And for Fieldforce Management or Commercial Excellence teams, to track sales efficiency. Unlike for HR purposes, here a detailed level of Off-Territory data is generally not very relevant. Often the detailed options in pick-list are given, but there are no processes or approval flows in place, to support reporting on this high level of details.

For Time off Territory registration in your CRM to make sense and to keep the business agile. We leave the elaborate ToT reporting to HR and keep the pick-list options for Sales Management relevant.
You only need to provide the CRM users 4 to 7 pick list values to have a mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive list (MECE) to work with.

What do you report on?

So which 4-7 values are that? As a sales manager you want to know:

  1. Did the Rep/KAM have a regular Field day?
    Veeva works on the assumption of 8 hours of fieldday so no records are needed.
  2. Did the Rep/KAM work an evening or weekend day?
    Work outside the contract (expectation) e.g. weekend, evenings or in a sales capacity outside own territory? “Customer time” and “approved flex time” should each have a value in the list if congress days during weekends and off hours are tracked and compensated. If not a single value of off hours/weekend time spend is enough: “Customer time”.
  3. Was ToT work related?
    “Internal meetings” an important data point for salesforce effectiveness. Meetings like these are at the core of the sales managers tasks – prioritization of where the resources are bringing most bang for the buck! Visiting customers or attending a meeting – both can drive business – but if you don’t know how much potential selling time is spend attending internal meetings it will be difficult to prioritize. Administration is inevitable includes preparations, training, reporting etc.
  4. Was ToT not-work-related / personal?
    If the Sales Manager keeps track of vacation days outside the HR process or manages an integration between HR and CRM, one could add the picklist value of “vacation” – otherwise a record stating that KAM/Rep was not working due to Personal time off (PTO) is enough. Reasons like maternity leave or a sick (kid) day, is all for HR.

    Then there are public holidays: a national mandatory holiday should also be recorded as ToT. Less than 10% of salespeople enter these days in CRM!

Our picks

This will lead to the following values in the pick list:

  1. PTO (Personal Time Off)
  2. Vacation (Optional)
  3. Customer time (working a different terr. – congress etc..)
  4. Approved Flex. (Optional)
  5. Public Holidays
  6. Administration
  7. Internal meetings (sales/cycle meetings)

On top of these reasons, we could argue for e.g. Travel time? – can you influence this time allocation if you decided that a certain KAM should see a certain customer? And what about training as a separate record?

We could naturally consider all other activities a KAM, MSL or Rep is doing to achieve work objectives. Such as preparation and support tasks. And argue that these tasks should be recorded to enable quantification of non face-to-face time needed to produce an interaction. If the specific (customer) activities are relevant, then specific activity records/reason should be created. If not, then a simple ‘administration’ record – as listed above – would do the trick. We don’t want the sales team to spent too much time on registering ToT.


The pick list – macro – data will fit most of the use cases for management reporting, makes reporting easier for salespeople, provides an overview to the sales manager and complies with the GDPR idea of only keeping the data needed to do the job. Reducing the picklist guards you from potentially capturing personal data about your employee in a CRM system, designed to share and make data available.

Most of the entries needed can be automated or centralized – reducing time that Reps and KAMs spend on reporting, as well as increasing data quality (Read more about that here).

Final note; ToT reasons are relevant. And it is important to discuss what is used in Sales Management reporting. Strategy and working processes should determine the level of wanted details. But generally, from a SFE point of view you want high level information as to why the numbers of field days look the way they do. Adding too many details distorts the overall picture.

Time of Territory ReasonDescription
PTO (personal time off)
Sickness, maternity leave, paternity leave, bereavement…
Vacation (Optional)
Vacation is only needed if vacation data is integrated with an HR system
Customer Time
Working a different terr. – congress, symposia etc..
Approved Flex. (Optional)
Flex is only needed if flex time is compensated e.g. work on a Saturday entitles a half or full day off on a weekday.
Public Holidays
Like Saturdays and Sundays (Fridays and Saturdays – depending on where you work) not considered workdays and hence these should be taken out of ToT.
Administration and preparation needed to deliver sales and customer support.
Internal Meetings
Internal meetings, sales/cycle meetings, training and other activities managed by Head office and reducing fielddays.
How to Structure Time off Territory Data