Can Digital Merchandising Help Me to Optimize my Sales force Team?Digital Merchandising gives Consumer Packaged Goods companies the power to turn images, into insight, into action.
Can Digital Merchandising Help Me to Optimize my Sales force Team?
By Krzysztof Łątkowski
I have many years of experience in sales at global production companies in the CPG sector. I went through all the levels within the sales structures of the Traditional Trade (TT) and Modern Trade (MT) sectors. One thing is certain, a lot has changed over the past 25 years. Store formats, product categories, distribution channels, technology, communication, logistics, display, marketing activities, POS materials – everything has changed, except one, the most important element – the visit of a sales representative in the store.
This is where all the magic of the sales process happens. This time, I will not dwell on the stages of preparing sales reps for the visit, the visit itself and the work of sales rep after the visit. Maybe another time.
I will focus on the tasks the sales representative performs during a visit to the store.
Sales force plays a key role in every company selling and supplying products to stores. Currently, companies attach great importance to building the specialist knowledge of sales representatives in the field of modern sales and merchandising methods. As a rule, these employees are very well trained in increasing sales efficiency. The sales representative has become a partner of the store manager and has knowledge of modern sales and merchandising methods.
The recipe for obtaining very good sales results, is not only regular sales by the sales representative, but first and foremost, establishing appropriate relationships with store managers – which unfortunately takes a lot of time and attention.
The sales representative now plays the role of an expert, taking care of products, checks their rotation, completes deficiencies, fulfills orders, ensures constant access to products and its latest varieties, helps with displaying goods, offers additional tailor-made promotions, cares for Point of Sale Materials (POSM), ensures timeliness of delivery and quality of assortment, and also provides market data for specific products.
WOW! That is a lot of tasks.
If we realize that, on average, sales representatives devote only about 30% of their time to productive sales activities. All the rest are sales-related activities, this suggests one conclusion – sales managers really need do something about this.
One of the most important, but unfortunately a very time-consuming task performed by a sales representative during a visit to the store, is to examine the presence of products on the shelf and additional expositions.
Sales representatives examine the following:
– Occurrence of products on the shelf
– Presence of the competition’s products
– Share of shelf
– Additional exposure
– Price compliance
– Compliance of the planogram with the realogram
– Verification of the presence of additional promotional exhibitions
And all this happens during one visit, so that the sales representative can take action based on the results, and act as quickly as possible to complete the shortcomings, place an order, improve exposure, verify pricing, and merchandise appropriately.
Can these activities be automated, accelerated and thus optimizing the whole process? Of course, they can.
The vast majority of companies use SFA systems. Representatives work on mobile devices equipped with high-quality digital cameras, take photos that then integrate with the technology provided by StayinFront Digital that quickly provides reliable answers to all the above questions.
Our Digital Merchandising technology enables delivering insights directly to the device of the sales representative and allows him/her to instantly assess the exposure and take the necessary sales activities.
Digital Merchandising provides the information to what is most important – fast, error-free and objective information, while reducing the time of a sales representative’s visit by 30%. This is valuable time that the sales force manager can optimize or redirect to other key and valuable sales tasks.