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The Ins and Outs of Retail Execution

Posted on : Friday, October 19, 2018 by : StayinFront

Learn the essentials of retail execution and why it’s critical for success at the shelf.

What is Retail Execution?

There are many definitions of retail execution; to put it simply it’s how a company enables the execution of in-store activities by a field sales team to ensure their products are presented and positioned in accordance with the company’s go-to-market strategy.

Why is Retail Execution Vital for Your Success?

When it comes to retail execution, CPG companies are still struggling at the shelf. In order to rise above the competition, companies should invest in technologies that enable their sales team to “sell more.”

It is vital for your company to know that in order to sell products in stores effectively, retail execution needs to be at its best to achieve the perfect store. Consumer goods companies are also discovering that flawless retail execution is no longer enough. To achieve an advantage in the crowded retail landscape, companies need to be able to have data and analytics at their fingertips to do more, know more and sell more than competitors – across every retail channel, in every store, every day.

Companies adopting this approach to optimizing their perfect store processes are winning at the shelf by:

• Providing the technology and tools to streamline and simplify retail execution

• Communicating and aligning field reps with the vision and goals for each store

• Guiding reps with the steps and best practices to achieve their store targets

• Empowering field reps with the data and tools to engage store managers with valuable information

What key capabilities should you look for when evaluating for a retail execution solution?

1. RAO – Retail Activity Optimization

RAO allows reps to take a more refined approach to their territories and store visits. Use POS data to determine which stores reps should visit first to deliver the greatest return on resources. Review POS data before arriving to the stores, to set a plan of what are the most important tasks to perform in the store before you go.

2. Image Recognition

Gain a 360-degree view of products, as well as competitor companies’ products, to move from 70% to 96% accuracy when conducting a digital audit. Take and upload store photos to be analysed in minutes, increasing rep productivity and providing management with faster, more accurate data on their distribution, out-of-stocks, Share of Shelf (SOS) and compliance.

3. Guided Selling

Use branching logic and fact-based data to give sales reps directions for their in-store and selling activities during retail execution. Launch customized pitches, calculate potential profits, display store rankings and play promotional videos with StayinFront PitchBook®.

4. Gamification

Motivate and incentivize sales reps and your field force with gamification which provides reps with drive to keep up with tasks, and not fall behind on their goals. Studies show that incorporating gaming techniques, such as leader boards, can motivate reps to work quicker, stay on task and keep their eye on the goal.

5. Augmented Reality

Enable field teams to stimulate point of sale materials in real size, real store and in real-time. Access visualization of images, such as displays, which will help understand the appearance and fit.

How  StayinFront Can Help

StayinFront applications enable reps to target the right stores, schedule their day easily using mapping tools and effectively plan their route. Using StayinFront TouchCG® on an Android or iOS mobile device, field representatives can call on more stores and complete more tasks in each store visit. StayinFront EdgeCG® helps reps do more in store with advanced features like image recognition to speed audits, barcode scanners that streamline up data entry and advanced filtering tools so the rep sees only what they need to see, which ensures focus on the right activities.

Watch the video on the Ins and Outs of Retail Execution

To learn more about how to increase field sales team performance w.ith our retail execution software, visit our resources page, or contact us today for a demo.

Promotional Execution – What is it Worth?

Posted on : Monday, October 8, 2018 by : StayinFront

While trade promotion spend by CPG manufacturers continues to increase, retailer compliance is trending downward, especially when performance is measured at the store/day/SKU level.

Promotions play an integral part in driving category volumes and profitability for retailers. Here are the top key factors on promotion execution:

-Promotions can drive volume and steal market share and are vital in encouraging shopper behaviour with respect to trial and switching between products

20:20 Retail Data Insight field research has shown that in categories where shopper loyalty is high, the volume sold on promotion can be as high as 80%.*

-Nielsen reports that in Australia, 40% of total grocery sales were sold on promotion. New Zealand surpassed that with 57% of total grocery sales sold on promotion. This compares with other major markets such as the United States (37%) and across Europe, including the United Kingdom (33%).**

-Electronic Point of Sale (EPoS) data measures the number of stores achieving the expected promotional lift in sales on Day 1; figures will be closer to 30%-45%, especially on promotions occupying secondary sites. This shows a significant opportunity for improvement in grocery.

-CPG manufacturers can minimize the lost sales from poor promotional compliance by leveraging tools and technology to ensure perfect execution from the first to the last day of the promotion and across all participating stores.

-Three common compliance culprits are: late starters, early finishers and incomplete executors.

To find out more download the Optimizing Promotional Execution in Grocery Retail white paper. This white paper examines the most common culprits of non-compliance and the power of retailer Electronic Point of Sale data to drive promotional ROI by improving the planning, execution and effectiveness of current and future promotions.

EPoS data provides a treasure trove of information for improving in-store execution ─ all the way down to an individual SKU selling in a specific store on a specific day.

20:20 RDI’s Sales View® and Field View® software, integrated into the StayinFront’s TouchCG® platform, provides a fast track to this actionable insight, with a series of automated alerts sent to the inbox of the right stakeholder, and standardized graphs and charts and compliance tracking reports which transform the performance of the customer management teams.

Sources:

*20:20 Retail Data Insight 2017

**Nielsen Homescan 2014

Is Your Field Sales Team Performing Perfectly or Plummeting?

Is Your Field Sales Team Performing Perfectly or Plummeting?

Posted on : Thursday, June 21, 2018 by : StayinFront

Area Managers are always expected to do more with less – they often wonder: How can I fit more stores visits in a day? How can I maximize our field force’s performance? How can I generate more sales?

The bad news is that they have a lot to consider and really don’t have much time.

The good news is that we have some helpful steps that could make their job a lot easier:

Top Features to Make your Field Sales Team Succeed!

  1. RAO – Retail Activity Optimization
    RAO allows reps to take a more nuanced approach to their territories and store visits. Use POS data to determine which stores reps should visit first to deliver the greatest return on resources. Review POS data before arriving to the stores, to set a plan of what are the most important tasks to perform in the store before you go.
  2. Image Recognition
    Gain a 360-degree view of products, as well as competitor companies’ products, to move from 70% to 96% accuracy when conducting a digital audit. Take and upload store photos to be analyzed in minutes, increasing rep productivity and providing management with faster, more accurate data on their distribution, out-of-stocks, Share of Shelf (SOS) and compliance.
  3. Guided Selling
    Use branching logic and fact-based data to give sales reps directions for their in-store and selling activities. Launch customised pitches, calculate potential profits, display store rankings and play promotional videos with StayinFront PitchBook®.
  4. Social Capabilities
    Increase teamwork and collaboration with instant messaging. This allows managers and field teams to easily share information, competitive activity and best practices to improve performance.
  5. Gamification
    Motivate and incentivize sales reps and your field force with gamification which provides reps with drive to keep up with tasks, and not fall behind on their goals. Studies show that incorporating gaming techniques, such as leader boards, can motivate reps to work quicker, stay on task and keep their eye on the goal.
  6. In-flight Analytics
    Use integrated analytics and reporting within a system to provide a view of store conditions, field activities and competitive intelligence. Managers and reps can drill down into the data from internal and external sources to identity trends and gain the in-depth knowledge to respond quicker.
  7. Predictive Analytics
    Gain Retail Data Insights which can enable you to maximize sales and your return on trade promotion and investments by driving actionable insights from EPOS data.
  8. Augmented Reality
    Enable field teams to stimulate point of sale materials in real size, real store and in real-time. Access visualization of images, such as displays, which will help understand the appearance and fit.

Marie Outred, Systems and Business Insights Manager from Arla Foods UK, implemented some of these steps and shared her opinion.

“Visits per rep have increased. We’ve managed to certainly drive efficiencies in calls, we are spending less time but getting more out of a call.”

To learn more about how to increase field sales team performance, visit our resources page, or  contact us today for a demo.

And the Winners Are…

And the Winners Are…

Posted on : Friday, March 23, 2018 by : StayinFront

Learn how digital merchandising helps Consumer Goods companies win the battle at the shelf.

The race to win at the shelf is an ongoing battle in which Consumer Goods companies need to constantly come up with new strategies and deploy innovative technologies in the hopes of out-working, out-smarting, and out-performing competitors. However, to truly win at the shelf, companies need be able to extract reliable, relevant insight from their field data.

Digital Merchandising delivers highly accurate and timely metrics that enable companies to measure the true state of their sales performance, product placement and share of shelf. The insights derived from these metrics can then be distributed and acted upon across the organization.

By having proper and accurate measures, companies are able to control, target and continuously improve their holistic sales strategy. Digital Merchandising, it’s not a “winner takes all” game. The benefits of digital merchandising go far beyond just one player or party.

Here are some of the digital merchandising winners:

  1. Sales
    Digital merchandising increases sales force ROI by supporting and ensuring the successful rollout of initiatives including perfect store, planogram compliance, trade programs, and promotions. With deeper insights into actual store conditions in real-time, sales teams can optimize their time and resource allocation to the most value-driven activities.
  2. Key Account Management
    With improved visibility into store strategies and their impact on sales at the key account level, KAMs become better informed partners, improving collaboration around trade program performance and compliance. Timely feedback at the head office level enables KAMs to optimize trade programs and maximize value for both parties.
  3. Marketing and Trade Promotion Management
    Marketing and trade teams receive accurate feedback from stores as to whether or not the displays have been deployed – within hours of launching a new promotion – and are able to initiate workflows to rectify issues and dark spots. Leveraging powerful Digital Merchandising technology, category management can assess planogram effectiveness and the TOP team can better understand whether a program’s poor performance was a result of lack of proper design or a flaw in the execution.
  4. Supply Chain
    Having a better understanding of supply chain distribution points allows companies to collaborate with internal and external partners in addressing weak spots of existing distribution models. As a result, supply chain teams can focus their resources on improving processes to ensure that stores, channels and regions have sufficient stock availability where needed.
  5. Category Management
    Perhaps the biggest winner of all is Category Management. With access to accurate store-level and shelf-level data and metrics, category management teams can assess shelf strategies and their impact on sales at the individual product, subcategory, and product category levels. By analyzing historical trends, they’ll derive valuable information on competitive activities and react quickly to counteract new strategies and initiatives. In addition the category management team will be empowered to better understand the different channels, especially the underrepresented traditional trade channels.

The companies that are quicker to adapt evolving technologies and innovations like Digital Merchandising will ultimately end up ahead of their competitors and closer to their end customers.

StayinFront’s Digital Merchandising solution with image recognition powered by https://www.lab4motion.com/ image recognition, provides these companies with data-driven insights to improve in-store execution, identify trends and execute winning sales strategies with confidence.

To learn more about leveling up your retail execution with Digital Merchandising, watch our latest webinar here or contact us today for a demo.

There’s (a Better) Life After Windows Mobile

There’s (a Better) Life After Windows Mobile

Posted on : Wednesday, February 21, 2018 by : StayinFront

As Microsoft ends support for Windows Mobile, companies should take this opportunity to leapfrog technology and the competition

While companies can claim their rugged Windows Mobile devices still have years left in them, the lack of support from Microsoft and the technology ecosystem, as well as security issues, is making them increasingly difficult and expensive to maintain.

But beyond these discernible expenses, there’s the opportunity cost. By failing to embrace current technology, companies are missing opportunities to empower their field teams.

The Evolution of Sales Force Technology

Since 2000, when Windows Mobile devices began replacing paper as the default method for retail execution, technology has advanced by leaps and bounds. The ubiquity and affordability of smartphones and tablets, coupled with integrated features such as GPS, cameras, touch screens, online/offline capabilities, and real-time access to data and analytics, has provided the catalyst for transforming the way reps work in the field. The fact that these devices can be equipped with rugged cases that can take a beating means productivity can be gain and nothing is lost – all at a significantly reduced price point.

It’s not surprising that many companies have incorporated smartphones and tablets into their sales and delivery processes. Powered by robust retail execution software, the increased speed, capacity and mobility of these devices eliminate many manual, time-consuming processes and deliver more information to the field, enabling reps to complete more work, proactively address issues at the store and uncover new opportunities.

Add in integrated tools such as augmented reality, image recognition and retailer EPoS data that drives “Next Best Action”, and the field rep can achieve more in store, execute perfect orders and deliver on expectations.

Choose the Right Device for Your Organization

When evaluating technology and mobile devices for your field team, key considerations are:

  • Does the field force work in conditions where internet access is unreliable?
    Devices that can function without internet access enable reps to be productive even in remote areas.
  • What tasks need to be performed on the device?
    The larger screen size of a tablet will be more effective in making presentations. In more task-based settings, a smartphone may be a better option.
  • What devices or platforms will the business support?
    Companies may mandate a specific operating system or type of device or it may have a BYOD policy. A mobile solution that supports multiple platforms and devices provides the most flexibility for the organization.
  • What is the cost of the device?
    When determining budgets, organizations should factor in service, data and support costs, in addition to the cost of the device.

The end of Windows Mobile support is an opportunity for companies to rethink their retail execution strategies and mobility solutions. For more information on how consumer goods companies are leveraging mobile technology to optimize field force activity and maximize in-store selling opportunities, download our Field Force Mobility White Paper here.

For more than 20 years, StayinFront has been consistently raising the bar, delivering and integrating innovative mobile field solutions that are focused on empowering retail field teams to do moreknow more, and sell more on every store visit.

The Retail Execution Race to Sell More

The Retail Execution Race to Sell More

Posted on : Tuesday, August 8, 2017 by : StayinFront

When it comes to retail execution, CPG companies are still struggling at the shelf. In order to to rise above the competition, companies should invest in technologies that enable their sales team to “sell more.”

According to the latest POI Vendor Panorama, despite all the advancements in retail execution technology, about 75% of the survey’s respondents aren’t using capabilities that enable their sales reps to sell more.

The Race is Heating Up. 

With Amazon encroaching further on retailers, private labels seeing a surge in sales and the Aldi/Lidl war heating up in America, it’s now more critical than ever for brands to step up their retail execution game and carve out their spot on the shelf and in the carts of consumers.

Some of the key capabilities POI recommends companies should look for when evaluating for a retail execution solution are:

  • Retail Activity Optimization (RAO) – POS data that determines which stores reps should visit to save time and drive the greatest ROI
  • Image Recognition – Taking a picture of a shelf that can be uploaded and analyzed to determine compliance and return KPIs on shelf  performance
  • Guided Selling – Using branching logic and fact-based data to give sales reps directions for their in-store and selling activities
  • In-flight Analytics –  Insights about performance and opportunities that can be utilized by sales reps online or offline

Getting More Value from Your Field Force

During store visits, most reps will complete the standard merchandising tasks and conduct audits and compliance checks.  Many don’t have the time, information or guidance to spend looking for additional selling opportunities or engaging the store manager in a discussion on ways to generate more revenue.

To truly be competitive, sales reps need to be able to complete the routine tasks faster, easily access information about the store’s performance and deliver targeted sales pitches on the spot.  Intuitive, fully integrated solutions for digital merchandising, real-time dashboards and KPIs, guided workflows with alerts, and dynamic fact-based selling tools, enable field reps to do more, know more and sell more on every store visit.

In race to win at the shelf, every bit of competitive advantage counts. So, to paraphrase Dale Hagemeyer of POI, “If your retail execution solution does not deliver ’sell more’ capabilities, why spend are the money?”

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StayinFront is honored that our consumer goods solutions have been named Best in Class for Mobile UX, Analytical Insights, Coaching, Guided Selling and Interactive Customer Presentations in POI’s 2017 Vendor Panorama for Retail Execution and Monitoring in Consumer Goods.

Why CPG Companies are Using EPoS Data to Drive Sales

Why CPG Companies are Using EPoS Data to Drive Sales

Posted on : Monday, July 24, 2017 by : StayinFront

Ron Temperley, sales management leader and Managing Director at 20:20 Retail Data Insight, discusses how consumer goods companies are using EPoS data to make more informed decisions to improve sales.

As more retailers make Electronic Point of Sale (EPoS) data available, Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) companies have a huge opportunity to make more informed, insight-driven business decisions that drive sales.

So why aren’t more companies using EPoS data?

Because it’s not easy. Companies face a number of challenges:

-Not Enough Time

-Too Much Data

-Inconsistent Reporting

-A Manual Reporting Process

At the end of the day, most companies end up with too much data and not enough insight.

In our latest Leadership Perspective, StayinFront CEO, Tom Buckley, sits down with sales management leader and Managing Director at 20:20 Retail Data Insight, Ron Temperley, to discuss how companies can move from making important decisions based on informed opinion to hard evidence—in turn real facts.

By drawing on extensive sales management and consulting experience with some of the world’s largest consumer goods companies, Ron highlights some ways CG companies have transitioned from estimating the impact of its field operations to calculating actual incremental sales. He stresses the need to make these insights accessible and actionable by the people who are in the position to address and rectify the issue.

Ron describes that the ability to analyze data at a daily, individual SKU level, and use technology to deliver timely insights via dashboards and alerts, can increase efficiencies and drive sales. Key Account Managers would see patterns earlier and get alerted if a SKU is not selling as expected in a few or even hundreds of stores. Field teams are directed to the stores with the biggest opportunities and can see which products are underperforming and more importantly, why. Using this information, reps can identify any gaps within the agreement between the retailer and supplier and engage the store manager in a discussion on ways to maximize revenue.

To learn more about how companies are driving actionable insight from retail data, read the full interview here.

A Perspective on How CPG and Life Sciences Companies Can Drive Greater Value with Technology

Posted on : Friday, May 19, 2017 by : StayinFront

Michael Del Priore, Senior VP and CIO at Catalent Pharma Solutions, shares his insights on delivering value with technology in the consumer goods and life sciences industries.

While the consumer goods and life sciences industries face their own respective challenges, they also share some similarities, including issues around supply chain and distribution, reading marketplace data for demand signals and selling indirectly – whether it be through doctors or retailers.

In our latest Leadership Perspective, StayinFront CEO, Tom Buckley, sits down with technology leader and Senior VP and CIO at Catalent Pharma Solutions, Michael Del Priore, to discuss the key technology drivers, disruptors, and implementation goals shaping both industries.

By drawing on extensive IT experience across both the life sciences and consumer goods industries for such organizations as Church & Dwight, Philip Morris and Roche, Michael provides a unique perspective and key takeaways for CIOs looking to leverage technology to deliver more value.

Michael advises CIOs to fully understand the details behind how their companies operate and make money so they can identify where technology and IT strategies can be applied to drive the company forward.

To learn more, read the full interview with Michael Del Priore here.

The 3 P’s for Powerful Retail Execution

The 3 P’s for Powerful Retail Execution

Posted on : Monday, March 27, 2017 by : StayinFront

Dale Hagemeyer of POI discusses 3 core issues consumer goods companies face with retail execution.

With the steady advancement of game-changing technologies in retail execution, the opportunities for executing perfect store strategies are at an all-time high. However, research from the Promotion Optimization Institute (POI) reveals that, despite increased focus on delivering a better user experience, increased functionality, and innovative technologies, 80% of consumer goods companies are not satisfied with their ability to execute at the store level.

Dale Hagemeyer, Partner at POI, reviewed the findings of this research at a recent StayinFront customer conference. Dale noted that while technology can indeed be a competitive game-changer, companies continue to struggle with retail execution unless they address 3 core issues.

People

According to POI research, approximately 75% of companies report having difficulty finding the right people. One of the biggest people-related challenges in retail execution is the lack of attention paid to skill sets, inhibiting employees from reaching their full potential. Companies may lack discipline in processes or have unclear or no change management plans. In addition, many companies do not offer any means or access to peer support and coaching. All of this results in employees working less efficiently and effectively.

Process

Think technique before technology. Deploying a new retail execution solution without first defining processes is bound to lead to clashes. In some cases, flawed process are automated, or a project plan with milestones or tollgates is lacking altogether. Solutions implemented to serve the enterprise need to be customer-centric and take into account the various processes and needs of different markets.

Politics

There’s no escaping politics—even in retail execution. Sometimes political issues arise when one division or geography forces its processes or technology on the other. Frequently, inter-company politics exist when different departments have vastly different goals or agendas. For instance, IT may be inclined to select or reject a technology based on the brand or the amount of resources required to implement and support it, whereas the sales department is focused on increased functionality and the ease-of-use. Then, there’s the shifting support from executives, or the “independent parties” – the technology or consulting partners that sometimes lack objectivity because of their partnerships.

Tackling these basic challenges enables companies to climb out of the “cloud of mediocrity” and start leveling up their game. Watch this video to hear Dale talk more about these challenges and the next 5 steps companies can take to reach the master level of retail execution.

For 20 years, StayinFront has worked with leading companies around the world delivering configurable and scalable solutions and services designed to support and enable field teams and managers to work more efficiently, know more about the customer and their performance and sell more effectively.

About Dale Hagemeyer

Dale Hagemeyer leads the research, best practices, and advisory function at POI. Previously, he was VP Research at Gartner, where his research included the application of technology to the business processes of trade promotion and field sales automation for consumer goods manufacturers. Prior to Gartner he spent 14 years in management positions related to the promotion and distribution of products at Sunbeam Corporation, The Quaker Oats Company, PepsiCo, Kraft Foods, and Kroger. He has served on various industry advisory boards for trade associations and industry periodicals and can be reached at dhagemeyer@p-o-i.org.

5 Things to Consider Before Partnering for Innovation

5 Things to Consider Before Partnering for Innovation

Posted on : Wednesday, March 1, 2017 by : StayinFront

Tony Bullen, StayinFront Executive SVP and CTO, discusses five factors companies should consider before adopting a “partnership for innovation model.”

Image Recognition, Big Data and Analytics and the IoT – These are just a few of the advancing technologies poised to fundamentally broaden the way most enterprise software works.

Software vendors, rushing to incorporate new technologies into their products, are coming up against some real challenges in finding the time and resources needed to quickly introduce and implement these technologies. Many are turning to partnerships.

IT Briefcase recently published an article by StayinFront Executive SVP and CTO, Tony Bullen, in which he discussed five factors companies should consider before adopting a “partnership for innovation model.”

Here are some of the key points from the article:

1) Focus on the customer value proposition and costs

Determining what is best for your customer – and what they are willing to pay for a new feature – should be central to any innovation partnership. Also consider other cost factors such as if it will require your customers to upgrade their hardware. Even the best technical solution may not align with your customers’ needs or budgets.

2) Determine the competitive advantage for all parties

First and foremost, ensure the technology will benefit your customers. Then evaluate whether the collaboration gives both you and your partner a competitive advantage. The advantage should be sustainable because competitors, especially the larger ones, may be able to quickly bring a new technology to market. By protecting your intellectual property, offering superior customer experience, and clearly emphasizing your new technology’s differentiation and value, you stand to have a greater competitive advantage.

3) Access your compatibility with the potential partner

Evaluate things such as how well your technologies integrate with each other or whether your upgrade and support plans are aligned. Also, make sure your partner is keeping up with the changing technology and will work with you through any initial challenges.

4) Work out the all details in advance

Deployment involves many steps and opens up many questions. Plan and coordinate logistics far in advance to ensure a seamless, well-executed deployment. Determine how users will be trained, how the software will be used in different markets and if any changes to functionality, formatting or language will be required to accommodate different regions. Also, it is important to address and plug any security holes and pay particular vigilance to data privacy issues.

5) Play the long game

Research your partner thoroughly and get to know their management team, their product and their customer base. Partnering for innovation can yield a distinct competitive advantage, but only once you understand the limits of what you know (or don’t know) about your partner.

Given the accelerated pace of technology and as mobile devices become more featured and powerful, attempting a “go it alone” approach to implementing these new technologies can be complicated and delay deployment. Partnering for innovation can resolve these issues and put you at a distinct competitive advantage, but you will need to consider the questions raised here and understand the limits of what you know, and don’t know, about your partner.

For nearly 20 years, StayinFront has been consistently raising the bar by delivering and integrating innovative mobile field solutions that are focused on enabling retail field teams to do more, know more and, most importantly, sell more on every store visit.

Read the full article or view the infographic here.

About Tony Bullen

Tony Bullen is the Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at StayinFront, and is responsible for the strategic direction of StayinFront’s product and technology partner development. While leading the R&D team, he has presided over the launch of multiple innovations, including the game-changing selling solution, StayinFront PitchBook® and industry-recognized social collaboration tool, StayinFront Chat™.

Seeing is Believing (and Selling)

Seeing is Believing (and Selling)

Posted on : Wednesday, February 22, 2017 by : StayinFront

Mickaël Jordan discusses how consumer goods companies are using augmented reality to engage retailers and sell more.

If you’ve ever taken a selfie with a Snapchat filter or chased a Pokémon around town, you already know that Augmented Reality (AR) can be fun. What you may not know is that consumer goods companies are using it to engage retailers and sell more.

StayinFront has partnered with Augment to integrate augmented reality into its retail execution and selling solution StayinFront TouchCG®. Our CEO, Tom Buckley, interviewed Augment Co-Founder and COO, Mickaël Jordan, for our Leadership Perspectives series, to learn more about where this exciting technology is going and to get insight into how augmented reality is changing the way consumer goods field reps sell in store.

Jordan acknowledged that the broad adoption of smartphones and tablets, coupled with powerful cloud-based field force solutions, set the stage for AR to thrive in the consumer goods space. Using mobile retail execution systems with guided workflows, reps can complete more tasks in less time − leaving more time to identify and sell opportunities. The increased interaction and personalization with AR helps improve customer engagement and alleviate the guesswork involved in the selling process.

As Jordan says, ‘Seeing is believing.’ Adding a digital overlay to the real-world environment enables field reps to show store managers visual proof of how a display will look in their store, in real size, and in the recommended spot – all without ever leaving the StayinFront system.

When it comes to measuring results, Augment’s CPG clients focus primarily on the following KPIs:

Incremental Display Sales: Did AR help field reps sell in more displays?

Merchandising Compliance: Did AR help merchandisers and field reps better execute display programs?

Customer and User Satisfaction: Did clients and field reps prefer AR over traditional 2D imaging?

To find out more about Augment and how consumer goods companies are successfully using augmented reality to sell more in store, watch the webinar or check out this infographic.

StayinFront is commitment to developing and integrating emerging technologies like augmented reality to enable consumer goods companies to do more in every store visit, know more about their customers and sales performance and sell more effectively on every store visit.

Learn more about more StayinFront TouchCG here.

Transforming Competition through Smart Connected Technology

Posted on : Monday, December 19, 2016 by : StayinFront

Wojciech Stramski, Co-Founder of Lab4motion Solutions, shares key insights into how consumer goods companies are leveraging image recognition technology to gain the competitive edge.

At a recent conference for StayinFront customers, Dale Hagemeyer, Partner at POI and former Gartner VP Research, discussed game-changing technologies that are transforming the face of retail execution and unleashing a new era of competition, exposing companies to new competitive opportunities and threats. Among these new technologies was image recognition.

To learn more about this technology, StayinFront CEO, Tom Buckley sat down with Wojciech Stramski, Co-Founder of Lab4motion Solutions, an image and video recognition technology company. Stramski offered some key insight into how consumer goods companies were leveraging the combination of product recognition and customer behavior analytics to understand the effect of product placement on consumer behavior.

Stramski pointed out that the future of retail and consumer goods lies within technology, stressing how much more effective merchandising visits can be when merchandisers are able to enter a given store and have immediate access to full conversion metrics. Data, such as the number of consumers who visited the location since their last visit, as well as demographic information such as gender and age group, lets them compare this information with the number of products that were sold during this period and establish the consumer conversion rate. This technology is enabling companies to bridge the information gap they currently face in terms of the omnichannel customer perspective.

Lab4motion’s primary focus is getting its customers – the consumer goods companies and retailers – closer to the consumer by creating an ecosystem in which customers observe, analyze, and understand the offline shopping journey through the eyes of the consumer and link this information to the online shopping journey

Stramski mentioned just some of the benefits companies could obtain through this analysis, including the ability to:

– Identify their share of shelf versus their competitors.

– Eliminate bias, subjectivity and error in assessing whether or not the product is on the shelf and its proper facing on the shelf.

– Access information and feedback on planogram compliance.

– Understand the effect of product placement, facing, and new packaging on consumer behavior

With an appropriate approach to the utilization of the available technology solutions, companies can address the needs of their customers. Companies that are quicker to adapt to evolving technology ultimately end up ahead of their competitors and closer to their end customers.

To learn more about Lab4motion Solutions technology perspectives and key tips for leveraging image and video recognition technology in the consumer goods retail space, read the full interview with Stramski in our Leadership Perspectives series.

What Does It Take To Be Best In Class?

Posted on : Monday, December 5, 2016 by : StayinFront

Dale Hagemeyer of POI talks about the organization's vision, industry trends and what it takes to be "best in class."

Nearly every company strives to achieve a best-in-class designation. But, what exactly does it mean to be best in class and, perhaps even more importantly, what does it take to earn this title?

To find out, StayinFront CEO, Tom Buckley recently interviewed Dale Hagemeyer, Partner at the Promotion Optimization Institute (POI), and asked about the criteria POI used to determine “best in class” status in the 2016 POI Retail Execution Vendor Panorama.

As a partner and the head of research, at POI, Dale offered some important insight into what distinguishes the best companies from their competitors in the ever-changing, increasingly competitive consumer goods market.

According to Dale, the first step POI takes in defining, “best in class,” is determining the categories that really matter and that are essential to today’s market – in essence, the capabilities that help companies improve sales performance. While conducting the research for the Panorama, POI assessed a wide range of vendors and their capabilities. They looked at company viability, geographic strategy, market responsiveness and track record, deployment capabilities, market understanding, vertical and industry strategy, partner leverage, and company vision. Next, they analyzed and compared product aptness and flexibility, solution completeness, offline capabilities, user experience, analytical capabilities, delivery flexibility, product vision, and configurability.

Dale stated that POI’s “Best in Class” designation is relative rating system, not an absolute one. The designation seeks to recognize excellence in the field and set the bar for the rest of the market. This enables competitors and vendors to gain an understanding of what resembles greatness and earns top honors from POI. Board members of POI collaborate as manufacturers, retailers, solution providers, analysts, academics, and other industry leaders committed to promotion optimization. These members work on an industry-wide effort to produce a guided roadmap and matrix on how trading partners can continuously improve their approach and profitability in real-time through relevant promotions.

To read the full interview and learn more about the POI’s vision, industry trends and key takeaways from the survey, visit StayinFront’s Leadership Perspectives series.

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StayinFront is honored to have been awarded “Best in Class” in the 2016 POI Retail Execution Vendor Panorama for analytical insights, guided selling, and mobile UX by POI this year.

StayinFront has 20 years of experience in developing an industry-specific sales force automation solutions, ensuring sales teams have the latest and most innovative technology to be able to do more, know more and, most importantly, sell more.

Learn More About StayinFront Consumer Goods Solutions

Latest Roundtable with Liza Pizzaro-White, President of LPW Services

Posted on : Thursday, October 20, 2016 by : StayinFront

Liza Pizzaro-White of LPW Services talks about training for the life sciences and consumer goods industry

StayinFront is proud to present “Leadership Perspectives,” a series of interviews with men and women who are changing the face of the consumer goods and life sciences industry. Twice a month, these innovators and leaders will share their insights and perspectives with StayinFront’s CEO, Tom Buckley.

In this latest interview, Tom speaks with Liza Pizzaro-White, President of LPW Services. Liza is an expert in pharmaceutical technology training, e-learning, and CRM solutions, and has led her team to execute over 500 software implementations and train over 60,000 users. Liza shares her insights and experiences on training for the life sciences and consumer goods industry, as well as the importance of communication and a strong work ethic.

Read the interview with Ms. Pizzaro-White here.

Introducing: Leadership Perspectives

Posted on : Thursday, September 29, 2016 by : StayinFront

StayinFront presents a new roundtable series with leaders and innovators in the consumer goods and life sciences industries.

StayinFront presents a new roundtable series with leaders and innovators in the consumer goods and life sciences industries.

StayinFront is proud to introduce “Leadership Perspectives,” a new series focusing on the men and women that are changing the consumer goods and life sciences industry. Twice a month, StayinFront CEO Tom Buckley will interview professionals ranging from the front-lines to the C-Suite to gain their insights and perspectives as leaders and innovators in their respective fields.

In the first part of this series, Tom sits down Esat Angun, Director of Sales Operations for Octopharma, USA. Esat is an expert in CRM and SFE with over 15 years of experience in deployment and implementation in countries across the globe. In this interview, he shares his insights on training, selling and implementing CRM for the life sciences industry, as well as his thoughts on global market trends.

Read the interview with Mr. Angun here.

Knowledge is Power: Using Retail Activity Optimization to be More Efficient and Effective in the Field

Posted on : Tuesday, August 30, 2016 by : StayinFront

Retail Activity Optimization (RAO) technology can help your field reps prioritize visits, optimize in-store execution, and increase effectiveness of their in-store selling.

Knowledge Is Power

It’s no secret that knowledge is power—it’s about what you know, when you know it and, most importantly, how you use it. For CG companies, the right information delivered at the right time can drive ROI by empowering field reps to do more and sell more on every store visit.

Retail activity optimization (RAO), has been defined by Gartner as technology that provides field reps with critical data that allows them to determine the most efficient and effective way to plan their activities. A retail execution and monitoring solution with RAO features can help companies optimize in-store execution, reduce costs associated with visiting locations where there is low or no need, and increase the effectiveness of in-store selling.

Know Where to Go

The traditional route of a sales rep is a linear journey. Reps receive their routes and then start at the beginning and continue through their stops until they finish their calls for the day. However, because not all stores are equal, this leads to wasted time and money as reps travel to stores that require low or no attention while stores that have issues or greater sales potential are not visited.

RAO lets reps take a more nuanced approach to their territories and store visits. By accessing data from POS, internal and other syndicated sources directly from their mobile device, reps can identify and prioritize store visits based on parameters set by the company such as the number of days since the last visit, zero scans, etc.

Know What to Do

Once at the store, reps should know exactly what needs to be done at that store to drive the highest return for the store and the company.

With a system like StayinFront TouchCG®, reps download current store data straight to their mobile devices before their day begins. Store-level views show store performance, including “perfect store” scores, as well as any opportunities, tasks and issues that need to be addressed. Integration with Google Maps enables reps to easily access store locations and directions, so they spend less time behind the wheel and more time selling in stores.

Know How to Sell

To engage store managers in meaningful discussions, reps need to deliver new, valuable and fact-based information on what’s happening in that specific store. For example, a guided selling tool such as StayinFront PitchBook®, lets reps show a manager how their store is performing against others in their chain and other stores in their area. Reps can also show how their products can be more valuable by looking at a scenario of replacing a competitor’s product on shelf with their product and calculating the revenue impact on that store.

Retail Activity Optimization is a Game Changer

At a recent StayinFront customer forum, Dale Hagemeyer, partner at POI and former Gartner VP of Research, ranked RAO as one of the 5 game-hanging technologies poised to change the face of the CG industry.

Watch this video of Dale discussing how Retail Activity Optimization can help your sales team be more efficient and effective in the field.

About Dale Hagemeyer

Dale Hagemeyer leads the research, best practices, and advisory function at POI and has been active on the POI Board since its inception. Previously, he was a research vice president and managing vice president at Gartner for 15 years. There, he did research in the application of technology to the business processes of trade promotion and field sales automation for consumer goods manufacturers. Prior to Gartner he spent 14 years in management positions related to the promotion and distribution of products at Sunbeam Corporation, The Quaker Oats Company, PepsiCo, Kraft Foods, and Kroger. He also fulfilled an international assignment in Mexico from 1995 to 1996. He has served on various industry advisory boards for trade associations and industry periodicals. Dale can be reached at dhagemeyer@p-o-i.org

Leveraging the Power of the Many with Social Technology

Posted on : Tuesday, August 16, 2016 by : StayinFront

Leverage the power of social technology to improve field force efficiency, effectiveness, and sell more.

Leveraging the Power of the Many

When it comes to gaining a competitive edge in store, consumer goods companies should look no further than their own field force. Companies that deploy a mobile retail execution solution with integrated social technology can leverage the power of the many to improve efficiency, effectiveness and sell more in store.

Join the conversation

Social tools allow managers and reps to share information in real-time. This can include direct messages between managers and reps, or posts in a community-like social network where reps share news and market intelligence with each other. However, beyond just simply sending messages, social technology can present several opportunities to ultimately sell more. There are three key—or in this case, “C”—benefits of enterprise social technology:

Connect – Companies can send messages and notifications vertically, between the field and home office, as well as horizontally, between team members.

Collaborate on best sales practices—For example, a rep could describe how he convinced a store manager to put up an additional display. He could also attach a photo of the display in the store. Other reps can now use this information to sell in that display.

Communicate and share competitive intelligence—If a rep sees that a competitor is having distribution issues with a specific product, he could alert the team that there is an opportunity to fill the void with their company’s product.

Built in and Meaningful

For social technology to succeed, it’s important to address the field teams’ primary questions:

1. Does it help me do my job?

2. Is it fast and easy is it to use?

Social tools deliver the highest impact when reps clearly understand how it helps them do more, know more or sell more in the field. Companies can begin by providing specific examples of use cases. Then, as the team gets more comfortable, they will find more ways to use and leverage the tools.

It’s critical that the technology is easy-to-use and integrated with their current system. Asking reps to toggle between applications or add multiple steps their workflow is a recipe for failure. A secure mobile field force system with built-in social technology, such as StayinFront TouchCG®, ensures reps and managers are on the same page, “in the know,” and can make more-informed decisions in the office or out in the field.

Social as a Game Changer

At a recent StayinFront customer forum, Dale Hagemeyer, partner at POI and former Gartner VP Research, discussed key technologies that are poised to improve retail execution and change the face of the CG Industry. Watch this video of Dale discussing Social as one of the Emerging Technologies for Consumer Goods Manufacturers.

About Dale Hagemeyer

Dale Hagemeyer leads the research, best practices, and advisory function at POI and has been active on the POI Board since its inception. Previously, he was a research vice president and managing vice president at Gartner for 15 years. There, he did research in the application of technology to the business processes of trade promotion and field sales automation for consumer goods manufacturers. Prior to Gartner he spent 14 years in management positions related to the promotion and distribution of products at Sunbeam Corporation, The Quaker Oats Company, PepsiCo, Kraft Foods, and Kroger. He also fulfilled an international assignment in Mexico from 1995 to 1996. He has served on various industry advisory boards for trade associations and industry periodicals. Dale can be reached at dhagemeyer@p-o-i.org

Why Does Life Sciences Pay More for CRM?

Posted on : Friday, August 5, 2016 by : StayinFront

Debunking the misconceptions of mobile SaaS applications for the life sciences industry

In most companies, a significant portion of the budget is allocated to Sales and Marketing, with sometimes millions of dollars going towards CRM systems. What’s interesting is that, compared to other industries, life sciences pays significantly more for mobile SaaS applications —often more than double.

Why is that?

Conventional wisdom states that the life sciences industry has unique processes and requirements that justify these high costs. However, in reality, there aren’t any obvious technical, regulatory or commercial reason to warrant such a large cost differential.

While there are certainly differences across industries, CRM systems fulfill essentially the same purpose: they allow reps to analyze data, conduct field visits, record activities, and educate and sell products. In general, processes, configurability, and integrations do not change.

Let’s look at the most common reasons for charging twice as much for, what is fundamentally, the exact same application.

#1: Life Sciences CRM Systems are Complex

True, but it’s important to note that life sciences systems aren’t any more complex than those in other industries. For instance, consumer goods systems need to handle hundreds or thousands of SKUs, multiple languages and different currencies, as well as perform complicated algorithms for discounting.

#2: Pharma Companies Need to Manage a Large Amount of Data

The amount of data handled by life sciences CRMs is relatively light when compared to the financial services industry where account records can contain millions of transactions or the consumer goods industry, which have to deal with many more data points on every call.

#3: Industry Regulations Increase Costs

Configuring systems to comply with regulations can add costs, but the regulatory rules for life sciences have been quite stable for some time and have been already built into current systems. Again, other industries, such as financial services, are also highly regulated, but those solutions are still significantly less expensive.

#4: Life Sciences Companies Expect Premium Services

What industry doesn’t expect quality service? Life sciences companies have been led to believe that, in order to receive premium service, they need to invest in “on shore” US-based services, and pay top dollar. However, “off shore” services have proven that it is possible to enjoy the same high quality, but at much lower costs.

For more on these common misconceptions, read the full article on PharmaLive.

So what’s the prescription?

With increased pressure to control and cut costs, accepting the status quo is no longer an option. CRM systems are essential– but they don’t have to be budget-breaking. StayinFront provides life sciences companies with a proven, cost-effective option. With over 20 years of global experience, StayinFront can deliver affordable SaaS solutions and services that enable reps to do more in the field, know more about their customers, and engage and sell customer more effectively.

Gotta Sell ‘Em All: Using Gamification to Motivate Your Sales Force

Posted on : Friday, August 5, 2016 by : StayinFront

What is gamification, and can it be used to motivate people? The answer lies in the latest craze that's sweeping the world.

Gartner describes gamification as incorporating game mechanics into activities and tasks to drive engagement, change behaviors, develop skills, and provide transparency of progress.

Q: Can gamification really motivate people?

A: Two words: Pokémon Go

Pokémon Go players are obsessed with leveling up and capturing all the Pokémon to fill out their Pokédex. The game appeals to players’ competitive nature by having different “teams” they can join that are a big part of the battling aspect. Not only are the winning team’s colors displayed and top players be listed as leaders, but team members also get bonus items for protecting its winning status against others.

-Pokemon successfully employs 3 critical principles:

-Clearly state the goal and the reward

-Provide constant status against goal

-Every action gets a an immediate response (either positive or negative)

Using these same principles, companies can use gamification to motivate and incentivize their sales reps to do more, know more and sell more effectively.

Now vs. Later

In traditional sales models, feedback is delayed, with results coming at either the end of the month or the quarter or even the year. However, there is extensive research that shows people respond better to instant feedback than they do to delayed feedback. What gamification does is provide sales reps with the motivation to constantly keep on task and not delay on their goals, lest they fall behind and be unable to “win.”

A KPI engine and dashboard is the perfect mechanism for delivering this type of information.

For example, using StayinFront TouchCG®, a rep starts out his call with a dashboard with various KPIs. He can see what his goal is for that store and the tasks he needs to do to get to that goal. After each action, the rep gets instant feedback – so he can see what impact that action had on his score.

Leveling Up

There is really no limit to how companies can implement gamification. For example, it can be as simple as a leaderboard that gives reps or teams bragging rights, or it can involve incentives where individuals or teams earn points or monetary rewards for do specific tasks that help them reach their goal. The important thing to remember is that you must communicate the goal and reward and then provide constant feedback and instant gratification.

By leveraging the principles of gamification, your sale force will be more motivated to do the right tasks, become more knowledgeable about their performance and sell more effectively in-store – and they may even have some fun at work.

Gamification as a Game Changer

Dale Hagemeyer, partner at POI and former Gartner VP of Research, recently discussed five game changing technologies that are poised to change the face of the CG industry by improving retail execution. One of these technologies was gamification, and Dale gives several examples of how gamification can be implemented to motivate your sales force, especially those that are millennials.

Watch this video of Dale discussing Gamification as one of the Emerging Technologies for Consumer Goods Manufacturers.

About Dale Hagemeyer

Dale Hagemeyer leads the research, best practices, and advisory function at POI and has been active on the POI Board since its inception. Previously, he was a research vice president and managing vice president at Gartner for 15 years. There, he did research in the application of technology to the business processes of trade promotion and field sales automation for consumer goods manufacturers. Prior to Gartner he spent 14 years in management positions related to the promotion and distribution of products at Sunbeam Corporation, The Quaker Oats Company, PepsiCo, Kraft Foods, and Kroger. He also fulfilled an international assignment in Mexico from 1995 to 1996. He has served on various industry advisory boards for trade associations and industry periodicals. Dale can be reached at dhagemeyer@p-o-i.org

Everybody Sells: Improve Your FMCG Sales with “Sell More” Capability

Posted on : Monday, April 4, 2016 by : StayinFront

Sales teams are more 'valuable' when they're driving maximum sales for the company. What can you do to enhance your teams to "sell more" while in the store?

What companies expect of their field teams (and their retail execution technology) is quickly maturing. With more competition and fewer resources, companies are deciding that it’s no longer enough for field reps to just complete transactional activities in store. The focus is shifting fast on arming the field force with the tools to effectively sell more in the store.

Leading analyst firms like Gartner are recommending companies seek out sales force automation systems with sell more capabilities, especially those that can scale globally.

And let’s not forget the users themselves – global CG enterprises down to the small local CG businesses – are choosing what they buy, based on this same criteria. It makes commercial sense for them and helps their organizations stand out in the crowded CG marketplace.

Sales teams are more ‘valuable’ when they are driving maximum sales for the company and more margin for the retailer. In order to do this though, they must be able to “sell more” while in the store.

What to look for when equipping your retail field force
Here are some recommendations from a recent Gartner.

Here is a list from Gartner’s Market Guide for Retail Execution and Monitoring Solutions for the Consumer Goods Industry of recommended sell more capabilities that can give you sales growth and a return on your investment:

1. Start with guided selling. This integrates information like point-of-sale (POS) data, with current in-store
shelf condition, promotional and marketing information allowing your reps to give a customized presentation
to any store manager. They can showcase valuable information that could include:

a. Relative sales of products across other local stores in the chain,

b. Projected uplift in sales and margins (using built in interactive promotional calculators),

c. Sell more and up sell opportunities. Show high-performing displays and planograms, as well as
present substitution scenarios using POS data to demonstrate potential revenue lift from switching
out a competitor product for your own.

2. In-flight analytics (KPI’s). When your reps are able to see what effect their actions are having on their
performance and goals, they are motivated to achieve more and take immediate steps to improve results.

3. Retail activity optimization (RAO). It is essential that your reps know the most important things to do in
the store – the ones that will give the greatest return – and with simplified processes and automated routine
tasks they should be able to do them faster and more efficiently, achieving more within each store visit.

What’s next? Look for selling solutions that are mobile, global and endorsed by the analysts and voted best in class by the users. Look beyond a sales force only fulfilling your transactional requirements to one that is always selling more of your FMCG products each and every day.

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StayinFront has been recognized by Gartner as one of the most highly-configurable mobile retail execution and selling solutions to deploy globally. Our 20 years of experience in developing an industry-specific sales force automation solution and ensuring your sales teams are able to do more, know more and, most importantly, sell more.

Learn More About StayinFront Consumer Goods Solutions

 

Why You Should Apply the 80/20 Rule Across All Your Routes to Market

Posted on : Friday, March 4, 2016 by : StayinFront

Can consumer goods companies apply the Pareto principle (or as most of us know it, the 80/20 rule) to all their routes to market, in every part of the world and be successful?

In the case of SFA systems – absolutely!

CG companies are finding they can lower the cost of sales from better efficiency and transparency of sales costs, as well as increase revenue from better sales, promotion and merchandising practices, by adopting a standardized technology platform that allows them to harmonize their sales processes and share best practices.

By switching the focus from the differences between markets to the similarities between routes to market and comparing these market routes from a sales perspective, companies are finding that they are fundamentally the same – Enabling them to standardize about 80% of the processes.

IDENTIFYING THE 20%
Consider it essential for an SFA to have built in standardized industry best practices. The core requirements in any given industry are universal, allowing almost all process-based differences to be eliminated. You only need for clearly defined ‘genuine differences’ (20%) to be configured.

Differences may include:

•Specific core business processes that differentiate you from your competitors
•Compliance with unique laws and regulations in your markets
•Matching software to the devices your sales teams use out in the field.

The benefits of standardizing core industry processes are better visibility throughout the enterprise, lower costs and easier management.

•Companies are able to measure, compare and benchmark best practices
•Less people resources required to manage the complexities of a custom solution with different applications by market – software fixes, upgrades and updates are simplified.
•Reduced cost of deployment with a quick roll out.
•Less training and specialization for your IT department supporting the system and your back office and sales teams using it.

FINDING THE RIGHT SOLUTION
But it is not about deploying a “one size fits all” setup. The end solution must be balanced with the ability to configure the unique needs and processes of your organization – the ones that deliver on the business objectives and enable all your field teams to work more efficiently, have more information about their customers at their fingertip and be able to sell more effectively.

The right SFA solution will include standardized processes based on industry best practices and the flexibility to accommodate market driven functionality and other changing company needs in order for you to be better than your competitors.

Accept no less.

StayinFront has been recognized by Gartner as one of the most highly-configurable mobile retail execution and selling solutions to deploy globally. Our 20 years of experience in developing an industry specific sales force automation solution and make sure your sales team do more, know more and most importantly sell more.

Learn More About StayinFront Global Solutions

Related Article: The 80/20 Rule for Standardizing Software – StayinFront CEO, Tom Buckley expands on the challenges and rewards of adopting global soutions.

Using Mobile Technology to Enhance the HCP’s Experience

Posted on : Friday, August 7, 2015 by : StayinFront

StayinFront is pleased to present the fourth in a series of guest blogs, Enabling More Effective Communication between Healthcare Professionals and Pharma Sales Reps, from Dr. Peter J. Shaw, chief medical officer at Emisphere Technologies.

The days of the paper-assisted sales presentation are now coming to an end, and the vast majority of sales professionals are using some kind of mobile device as their main platform for information delivery. Just how effective is this and how can sales professionals use the technology to enhance the HCP’s experience?

DOCTOR RECOMMENDED
Our research suggests that most physicians believe using mobile technology has a positive impact on a sales professional’s ability to deliver the clinical data and information, and may also have a positive influence over their clinical and prescribing behaviors.

Over a 6-week period early in 2014, medical oncologists from 12 different pharmaceutical companies, promoting a total of 25 different oncology products, rated their experiences with sales professionals. The information collected ranged from key performance indicators on all aspects of the interaction, to use of clinical data and any paper or electronic materials. One of the pharmaceutical companies changed from paper materials to a tablet halfway through the data collection period, so we had data on the sales team using paper materials and mobile technology on the same physicians.

When comparing the responses, it was clear that mobile technology had an immediate impact on almost every aspect of the interaction between salesperson and physician. In particular, physicians rated sales professionals much higher when they used mobile technology to deliver clinical data in support of their key messages, and when addressing concerns and questions. These were also the key performance indicators that had the greatest impact on the overall credibility of the sales person.

PROFESSIONAL OPINION
It was also clear from the data, across a number of different sales teams, that there were two main areas where mobile technology had a negative influence on the physician’s’ assessment of overall impact.

Opening a Call: Opening a call with a mobile device can be difficult and awkward. Some systems require the salesperson to start each interaction at a defined place – irrespective of where the physician is in their decision making. This also tends to focus the physician’s attention on the device and not on the topic in question.

Discussing Managed Care Issues/Patient Assistance Programs: Local and regional variations in managed care organizations posed another challenge for sales rep interactions with HCPs.

DOCTOR’S ORDERS
Mobile technology has the clear advantage in helping establish overall credibility for the sales professional. The responsiveness and dynamic capabilities help support the lend itself to the e to the specific needs of the target customer when used to support a presentation/discussion, However, the tablet should be used as a tool to facilitate the discussion, not as a prompt or as the focal point of any presentation. Being skilled enough to directly navigate to the information that the physician wants or needs, in addition to using such information to support a key message without having to read from the mobile device, is paramount to a successful interaction with HCPs.

Read more from this blog series, Enabling More Effective Communication between Healthcare Professionals and Pharma Sales Reps, by clicking the links below:

Part 1—The Anatomy of a 90-second Sales Call

Part 2 — How to Maximize Your Time with HCPs

Part 3 — How Doctors Are Using Mobile Technology

Learn More About Maximizing Time with HCPs
Medical sales professionals who can effectively use mobile technology will have a competitive advantage. StayinFront TouchRX, delivers the tools, data and analytics to enable reps to conduct more effective sales calls, gain a better understanding of the needs of the HCP and deliver more targeted, one-to-one messages that help build relationships — and lead to increased use of your products.

Dr. Peter J. Shaw, Chief Medical Officer at Emisphere Technologies, is an expert on improving communications between pharmaceutical sales executives and healthcare practitioners. He has 25 years of experience in clinical medicine in a variety of specialties, 20 years’ experience in product launches and pharmaceutical sales training and assessment, and 10 years’ experience in post-graduate education.

 

How Doctors are Using Mobile Technology

Posted on : Monday, June 8, 2015 by : StayinFront

StayinFront is pleased to present the third in a series of guest blogs from Dr. Peter J. Shaw, chief medical officer at Emisphere Technologies, on Enabling More Effective Communication between Healthcare Professionals and Pharma Sales Reps.

How Doctors are Using Mobile Technology
It wasn’t that long ago that doctors relied on multiple printed sources to access normal laboratory values, formularies and medical references. However, nowdays, mobile technology is an integral part of every doctor’s working day. With the advent of electronic health records (EHRs) and electronic prescribing, it is not unusual to see a doctor armed with an iPad or other mobile device, instead of a pen and medical notes.

Doctors need to be e-savvy and, by using mobile technology, they are able to instantly access a patient’s medical history, lab test results, digital X-rays, as well as have the ability to prescribe electronically and send the prescription directly to the patient’s pharmacy of choice. Critical documents are kept up-to-date on a routine basis and can be easily accessible from a smartphone or tablet.

From Hard Copy to Hands-On
As doctors have grown increasingly comfortable using mobile technology to access information, they have also become more receptive to medical sales professionals who only utilize a mobile device for delivering clinical details. The fact is that eliminating excessive paperwork enables doctors to use their time more effectively. It’s likely that everything they need to know about a product or device is available at their fingertips, including the ability to sign for any samples left electronically at the end of the interaction. However, it is still very important for representatives to have a printed version of a supporting clinical paper—or at the very least, the means of emailing that paper at the doctor’s request.

We recently conducted extensive research across multiple specialties, looking at how doctors use mobile technology in both their personal and professional lives. Our research revealed a rising trend mobile technology adoption, with medical schools now issuing tablets to new students as the main means of information delivery.

In other findings, over 80% of surveyed doctors reported using an iPhone or iPad for both professional and personal purposes. Further examination showed that 98% of the “new” doctors (less than 10 years out of medical school) totally relied on mobile technology in their clinical lives. Interestingly, over 25% of surveyed doctors, ages 75 years and above and still practicing medicine, said they regularly use mobile technology in their clinical practice.

Read more from this blog series “Enabling More Effective Communication between Healthcare Professionals and Pharma Sales Reps.

Part 1 – The Anatomy of a 90-second Sales Call

Part 2 — How to Maximize Your Time with HCPs

Learn More About Maximizing Time with HCPs
Medical sales professionals who can effectively use mobile technology will have a competitive advantage. StayinFront TouchRX, delivers the tools, data and analytics to enable reps to conduct more effective sales calls, gain a better understanding of the needs of the HCP and deliver more targeted, one-to-one messages that help build relationships — and lead to increased use of your products.

Dr. Peter J. Shaw, Chief Medical Officer at Emisphere Technologies, is an expert on improving communications between pharmaceutical sales executives and healthcare practitioners. He has 25 years of experience in clinical medicine in a variety of specialties, 20 years’ experience in product launches and pharmaceutical sales training and assessment, and 10 years’ experience in post-graduate education.

Winning the battle for the shelf in Australia and Asia

Posted on : Thursday, April 23, 2015 by : StayinFront

Australia and Asia. Each market presents unique conditions and challenges for consumer goods companies but in both regions the squeeze is on. You need to do more with less, driving efficiency up and costs down.

Our latest whitepaper directly addresses this issue, providing compelling market insights and case studies of companies who are winning the battle of the shelf thanks to powerful mobile technology that enables them to do more, know more and sell more. Download it here.

Snapshot:
In Australia, competition from imports and private labels, skyrocketing manufacturing costs and market domination by key retail giants means shelf space and profit margins are shrinking. Opportunity still abounds however, with non-traditional channels providing routes to new revenue streams.

In Asia, the consumer goods market is rapidly expanding but unwieldy local distribution networks and inefficient processes hamper the ability of companies to assess in-store performance, and effectively identify and leverage opportunities to drive sales.

In both markets, fundamental shifts are taking place and therefore new ways of working are required to unlock growth and win in-store.

Those already attuned to these market changes are equipping their teams with powerful digital tools to improve performance, efficiency and deliver a better ROI across all sales models and routes to market.

For example, when Kimberly Clark implemented a new StayinFront CRM platform in Australia, they immediately saw the benefits. They streamlined admin processes by reducing paperwork, improved field resource allocation and leveraged data insights to sell more. Territory managers now make an extra 2.1 calls per week – that’s 100 extra potential leads per person, per year!

To find out more about the latest market insights and how to maximize technologies to improve your bottom line, read the full whitepaper here.

How to Maximize Your Time With HCPs

Posted on : Wednesday, April 22, 2015 by : StayinFront

StayinFront is pleased to present the second in a series of guest blogs from Dr. Peter J. Shaw, chief medical officer at QPharma Inc. on Enabling More Effective Communication between Healthcare Professionals and Pharma Sales Reps.

The ability to demonstrate that you offer a solution that will make an HCP’s clinical/professional life easier is the first, and probably most important, factor that goes into determining how much time you will get to meet with an HCP.

In order to do this, a sales rep needs to first:

Understand the Office Dynamics

Know the dynamics within each office and who the key person is that will be making the decision on using your product or device. Remember, it may not necessarily be the doctor who makes the final decision even if they are the one that actually signs the prescription/order.

Know What The HCP Does

To maximize and capitalize time with any HCP, have a good understanding of what that particular HCP does on a day-to-day basis. Time and time again, HCPs, of all types, tell us that many medical sales professionals do not have a good understanding of what their job involves, what type of patients they see or how the product solves a problem or issue that they come up against in their clinical practice.

Solve A Problem

It all comes down to understanding that doctors and all HCPs are problem solvers and what they really want and need are solutions.

Knowing the problems/issues those particular HCPs face in the dealing with patients will enable you to identify and demonstrate how your product/device can help.

Adopting a problem/solution-based approach, rather than a product-based approach, will make the difference and help you stand out from the other sales professionals. It will also demonstrate to the HCP that you really understand what they do and how they interact with their patients.

Remember, when an HCP is dealing with a patient, they have to go through their process (taking a history, physical exam, lab tests, investigations etc.) before they get to make a decision on what to do. Product is the very last part of that decision making process and this can only happen when all the answers are in place.

Learn More About Maximizing Time with HCPs

StayinFront provides the tools, data and analytics that enable field representatives to do more for their medical professionals, know more about their needs and deliver more targeted, one-to-one messages that help build relationships and lead to increased use of your products. Read more about how life sciences companies are maximizing time with HCPs using StayinFront TouchRX® .

Read Part 1 – Anatomy of a 90-Second Sales Call

Dr. Peter J. Shaw, Chief Medical Officer at QPharma Inc., is an expert on improving communications between pharmaceutical sales executives and healthcare practitioners. He has 25 years of experience in clinical medicine in a variety of specialties, 20 years’ experience in product launches and pharmaceutical sales training and assessment, and 10 years’ experience in post-graduate education.

The Anatomy of a 90-Second Sales Call

Posted on : Wednesday, April 8, 2015 by : StayinFront

StayinFront is pleased to present the first in a series of guest blogs from Dr. Peter J. Shaw, chief medical officer at QPharma Inc. on Enabling More Effective Communication between Healthcare Professionals and Pharma Sales Reps.

There is a misconception that a medical sales representative only gets 90 seconds with each of the target doctors/health care professionals (HCPs). What this refers to is that they will only get 90 seconds to get mental access and show the HCP that they have a potential solution to a problem/issue the HCP has in their clinical practice. All HCPs are very busy and the last thing they need to hear is the same story that they have heard a 100 times before. This is why they often start the conversation by saying something akin to “What’s new?”

The key to gaining mental access and showing that you have something to offer is NOT to start the conversation with an open question. It is very easy for the HCP to come back by saying that they are too busy or do not have time today. Remember that all HCPs ask questions for a living. With every patient they have to ask a myriad of questions before they can make clinical/prescribing decisions. Therefore, what the sales professional needs to do is to make an opening statement that elicits a question from the HCP. Once the HCP has asked a question, mental access will have been achieved and the sales professional can take the call to where they need to go in order to address the HCPs concerns and to a place where an informed (prescribing) decision can be made.

To do this effectively, the sales professional must

1) Know and understand the physician’s clinical practice and patient profile (pre-call planning)

2) Show that they have a solution to a problem/issue or concern that the HCP has.

3) Support that solution with relevant clinical information or data.

The digital sales aid is so important, as being able to access supporting information with a single touch of a screen is what will make that 90 second call into a 3-5 minute useful interaction.

StayinFront provides the tools, data and analytics that enable field representatives to do more for their medical professionals, know more about their needs and deliver more targeted, one-to-one messages that help build relationships and lead to increased use of your products. Read more about how life sciences companies are maximizing time with HCPs using StayinFront TouchRX® .

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this series – How to maximize time with HCPs.

Dr. Peter J. Shaw, Chief Medical Officer at QPharma Inc., is an expert on improving communications between pharmaceutical sales executives and healthcare practitioners. He has 25 years of experience in clinical medicine in a variety of specialties, 20 years’ experience in product launches and pharmaceutical sales training and assessment, and 10 years’ experience in post-graduate education.

Are you getting value for your trade marketing dollars?

Posted on : Monday, February 16, 2015 by : StayinFront

Each year the Key Account and Product Marketing teams of consumer goods companies spend hours painstakingly reviewing the results of every program with every retail partner to determine whether they got value for their trade marketing dollars and how next year will be better.

These meetings usually boil down to just 4 key questions:
1. We made a great plan. Did we execute that plan in store?
2. Given the plans were executed, were they effective?
3. What was the actual ROI for these programs?
4. What do we change for next year?

To answer these questions with confidence requires accurate field intelligence and visual proof.

Accurate Intelligence from the Field
Since budgets are set and retailers are paid based on the in-store execution, compliance and results of these programs, it’s essential to your bottom line to be able to back up your trade marketing spend approvals with accurate field intelligence that confirms retailer compliance and field team execution.

Visual Proof
Survey responses, shelf audits and POS scan data report the results but don’t, on their own, explain why the result occurred. In store photo capture and tagging lets the field team provide this missing data.
From confirmation of store compliance to highlighting the good (or bad) of the in store execution, competitor activities or opportunities, high quality filterable photos can be the difference between guessing and knowing what made one plan successful and others less so.

Respond vs. Report
While accurate field data and photos are essential for reporting the results, the real value of retail execution software with real-time field reporting comes from being able to impact the outcome of the current activities.

Managers that receive real-time field intelligence can stay abreast of store conditions, resolve execution issues and drive up store program compliance. By taking immediate corrective action rather than waiting until the end of the week, month or promotion period they ensure maximum return for their marketing dollars.

In the next meeting, be confident that you have the data to support the effectiveness, execution and ROI of your marketing programs and can show the steps you’ve taken to proactively improve the results and generate more dollars for the company and the retailer.

Want more information on tools to help maximize your retail marketing investment and be confident that you’ve gotten what you paid for? Check out our mobile retail execution solution or contact us to see a demo of how it works.

Mobile Technology: Your Direct Route to Deeper Customer Engagement

Posted on : Wednesday, March 19, 2014 by : StayinFront

Mobile – all businesses are talking about it and it’s certainly something that companies can no longer afford to ignore. But what does it mean in terms of a field force? And what are the benefits of having a mobile-powered sales team in 2014? Mobile technology for sales teams has been around for a while, but it’s been about improving the life and productivity of the rep by reducing administrative tasks, automating processes and streamlining workflow.

Your reps will love you and so will your customers.

There was very little value offered to engage with the customer. The promise was there, but the rep has been limited by the technology.

Now, with powerful smartphones and tablets operating with robust software, we can not only make field forces even more efficient, we can actually use these devices for another purpose: to create richer, deeper engagement with customers, delivering benefits to all parties – and ultimately your business.

By using mobile devices, sales teams can involve customers and create a more compelling conversation. They can showcase the latest marketing campaigns and materials with confidence – television commercials, poster artwork and photos of high performing in-store promotions can now be viewed with ease – and as we know, a picture speaks a thousand words!

Presentations and analytics can also become a more dynamic element of the store-call, with mobile technology providing real-time data and interactive tools. Customers can see how their store performs against another in the same area or get information on how much more in sales they could make by swapping out a competitor’s product.

This creates more meaningful interaction for both sales rep and the customer, and provides a mechanism for greater collaboration and understanding. And with relationships so vital to sales, it’s clear that mobile technology is a powerful tool to improve engagement and win with customers.

For more insight into why field force mobility is a must for 2014, check out our White Paper here.

The $125 Million Lesson

Posted on : Thursday, January 2, 2014 by : StayinFront

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that Avon pulled the plug on a multi-year $125 million SMT (service model transformation) implementation with SAP. According to Avon’s 8-K filing with the SEC, the project was in the works since 2009 and was scheduled to be launched worldwide by 2014. It was stopped because the pilot in Canada caused “significant business disruption in that market, and did not show a clear return on investment.”

It appears the system was so hard to use that it caused a large number of Avon’s independent sales reps to leave the company.

So the $125 million lesson – a sales force automation system, not designed around helping sales people sell more, will ultimately fail.

Why?

Because sales people have only one goal – to sell. A system that is cumbersome, difficult to navigate or gets in the way of making a sale will be rejected. We’ve all grown accustomed to simple, intuitive consumer applications and expect the same experience from our business applications. A poorly-designed interface that hinders a salesperson’s ability to do their job and sell more will result in unhappy end users and waste millions of dollars.

The following are some critical questions companies should ask before deploying a mobile sales force automation system:

Relevancy – Can the interface be configured so users see only what is necessary to do their jobs?

Structure –Is the workflow carefully planned and streamlined with alerts or dialog boxes to provide additional guidance? Are related tasks grouped together?

Consistency – Does the interface reuse components to maintain consistency throughout the process?

Simplicity – Are there shortcuts for routine tasks? Can fields be pre-populated? Can users enter data using buttons and lists instead of typing?

Communication – Does the interface use concise, clear instructions? Does the system use icons and intuitive colors, such as red for stop or alerts?

Pricing & Ordering – Can the user accurately quote and place orders from their mobile device? Is the software able to capture signatures?

Sales people will embrace a system that makes their job easier and helps them sell more. Companies that pay equal attention to workflow, experience and functionality will no doubt get better adoption rates and a see faster return on their investment.

Choosing the Right Tablet for Your Retail Field Force

Posted on : Tuesday, December 3, 2013 by : StayinFront

When the iPad hit the market in 2010, it had a major impact on field activities across all industries. Three years later, we now see the consumer goods industry adopting not only the iPad, but also the new breed of mobile devices and solutions now available to conduct retail execution as well as present new selling opportunities. Without a doubt, the growing tablet market is triggering more technologies like new apps and software.

Apple vs. Android vs. Windows 8

When speaking with StayinFront clients, it’s clear that tablets are here to stay, but the market is definitely shifting. Although iPad discussions are still prevalent, more clients are looking at Android tablets, particularly in price sensitive markets, and asking to see how our solution looks on Android and Windows 8 tablets.

Once the favorite with over 90% of tablet market share, Apple now finds itself in a fierce competitive battle. Shipments fell dramatically by 2.4 million in June 2013, while, according to TrendForce, Samsung shipments increased by an estimated 8.8 million. An IDC report supports the rumors that Android tablets are outpacing iPads. By the end of 2013, iPad should have 46% of market share vs. 48.8% for Android, due in part to Android’s strategy of releasing a constant flow of new devices catering to the low and mid range markets.

Forecasts predict that:

– By 2016, overall tablet sales are expected to increase 11%

– By 2017 iPads will account for 43.5% of tablet sales compared to Android’s 46%.

For consumer goods organizations, tablet choice comes down to Flexibility, Functionality and Costs.

As technology evolves, companies need their software to keep up. That means a mobile retail execution solution that gives companies the flexibility to take advantage of even greater hardware functionality and advancements as they become available, as well as competitive device pricing. Software that locks a company into a specific platform could be a competitive disadvantage or, at the very least, require a time-consuming and disruptive platform switch.

The big question for the tablet and mobility market relates to Microsoft and its Hardware vendors: Can they develop an offering for the enterprise market that it powerful, flexible, portable and tactile at the right price point? If so, the predictions for 2016 and 2017 could look very different.

After 100 Days of Sunshine – Storm Clouds Are Brewing

Posted on : Friday, November 15, 2013 by : StayinFront

It’s been 100 days and counting since the Sunshine Act took effect with the stated intention of reducing federal healthcare spending. By requiring transactions of value between manufacturers and physicians to be tracked and published, the CMS sought to reduce possible conflicts of interest, which they believed were raising healthcare costs.

However, public disclosure of personal information has raised a number of concerns among healthcare professionals, specifically reputation damage from inaccurate or misleading information. This is a valid concern considering a May 2013 report from the Office of the Inspector General citing ongoing problems with the CMS’s oversight of provider information. In the study, 48% of NPPES records were found to be inaccurate or incomplete – mostly misspellings or wrongly reported/dated information due to a name change or new location.

With these recent statistics, it’s no wonder physicians are concerned that this information could be inaccurate or viewed in a negative light. In addition to the possibility of inaccurate information, all reported payments are lumped together and lack context so a person viewing this information could easily misinterpret the disclosed transactions.

This is leading to two unintended consequences of the Sunshine Act:

Stifling of Education and Innovation – Doctors are becoming more hesitant to attend educational events or collaborate on projects sponsored by pharmaceutical companies for fear that their participation could damage their reputation.

Reduction of Rep Visits – Increased administrative burden and fear of reputation damage has led to doctors reducing or banning visits from rep all together.

In response, the AMA has provided a Toolkit for Physician Financial Transparency Reports to address physicians’ questions and help them prepare for their 2013 financial data before it is published online next year. The toolkit is designed to help physicians spot inconsistencies and rectify the transaction before it goes public.

While it’s still too early to tell if the Sunshine Act can reduce healthcare costs, the stakes are high for pharmaceutical companies. It’s crucial they build trust and foster the physician-rep relationship by demonstrating that they have measures in place to ensure that their reporting is accurate and compliant including:

  • Engaging a specialized Life Sciences CRM partner that understands the complexities of the laws and provides the technical infrastructure to navigate potential regulatory landmines
  • Updating poorly designed or inflexible software that is difficult to use and a challenge to access and update data
  • Eliminating multiple data entry points with a central repository for all customer activities and expenses
  • Providing ongoing field training on data management and reporting best practices

The true litmus test of a company’s ability to accurately manage and report data will come in January 2014 when the CMS is expected to allow physicians to review their consolidated report and contact the manufacturers to dispute the accuracy of their report.

Count Down to Sunshine. Two Days to Go.

Posted on : Tuesday, July 30, 2013 by : StayinFront

The Sunshine Act is just two days away and, by now, everyone in the pharmaceutical industry knows it. There have been flurries of last minute activity getting systems in place to capture the data, and tussles with counsel about what beans fall into what buckets and education campaigns for everyone.

The CMS estimate of $268MM for the total cost to the industry of getting ready for the Act now looks laughably small. Despite this, most companies we’ve talked to are in reasonably good shape and have already started collecting data, aligning their expense management and CRM applications and are now putting it all the systems through their paces. A small number of companies are still unprepared, but working hard to get there.

While it seems that everyone has their heads in the weeds implementing the rules and combing through their data, now might be a good time to review the reasoning behind the Act and think about the intended and unintended consequences. This post will address the intended consequences of the rules – the next post will consider some of the possible unintended ones.

The key intended effect is to reduce Medicare/Medicaid spending. CMS was very clear in their discussion of the rules that they believe the evidence shows payments from pharmaceutical companies to doctors increase Medicare and Medicaid costs because doctors that receive payments write more prescriptions. Therefore, reducing/eliminating the payments will reduce the overall cost of medicine.

That is a two step dance –

1) You have to believe that the rules will slow down payments to doctors, and

2) You have to believe that this, in and of itself, will reduce the number of expensive prescriptions doctors write.

So let’s dance the first step – Will the rules reduce payments to doctors?

Well, the anecdotal evidence (which is all we have at this point), is that doctors are absolutely starting to refuse gifts and payments from pharmaceutical companies. Our customers’ field representatives are reporting that doctors are asking questions before accepting anything of value – questions like ‘Will this be reported?’ and ‘What is it worth?’ A strong minority are just refusing gifts as a rule. Doctors, in particular, appear to be sensitive to the possible personal and professional impact of being listed in the database as taking money from Pharmaceutical companies. This may be a very short term effect with doctors taking a ‘wait and see’ position – or it may actually be a real and lasting behavioral change. So the first step – at least in the early stages – based only on anecdotal reports from the field, is that payments are going down.

The second step is less obvious. Will this really impact the prescribing habits of doctors and will that reduce medicine costs? CMS cites as their main sources the 2009 Institute of Medicine report “Conflict of Interest in Medical Research, Education and Practice.” and the recommendations of the Medicare Advisory Payment Commission (MedPAC).

The IOC report is 436 pages of assistance for insomniacs – but there are some key points about the report that should be noted – and we don’t think that it supports the view that reducing payments to doctors will necessarily reduce prescription costs.

For instance, the IOM report placed a heavy emphasis on the impact of drug samples on prescribing habits, but the Act excludes samples from expense calculations on the basis that samples are for the benefit of patients, not doctors. In general, the IOM report was not considering the impacts on costs, but whether the financial ties compromised the quality of care in any way – so it is probably not good to use its conclusions to justify a measure that is about cost reduction. Quality of care, perhaps, but costs were not the direct goal of the report. The report did support the idea that the Pharmaceutical companies are spending a lot of money on promotion – and therefore, there must be some benefit to it – but that kind of extrapolation is a weak foundation to support laws as far reaching and expensive to comply with as the Sunshine Act.

The argument that the Sunshine Act will reduce federal healthcare spending requires a number of arguments to line up successfully like dominoes – if one of them fails, the logical argument in favor of the Act fails too.

Next update will focus on possible species of unintended consequences, and how to spot them in the wild.

Pitch Perfect

Posted on : Wednesday, February 13, 2013 by : StayinFront

The perfect pitch is different for every batter – no pitch is the perfect pitch to throw at all the batters all the time. The pitcher needs the scouting intelligence and the tools, and then he can customize his delivery so he can deliver the perfect pitch to that one specific batter standing on the mound.

The same goes for sales presentations. There is no one perfect pitch for every situation. The sales person needs the scouting intelligence and the tools, and then he or she can customize the presentation to the specific store manager standing in front of them.

Let’s break down the components:

First, the rep needs the scouting report. They need sales data, order history, competitive intelligence and in-store shelf condition data – as well as promotion information, pricing data, and product comparison information.

Second, the rep needs the tools. The tool is going to help them bring all the data above together to create a meaningful pitch. The tool is going to allow the user to customize the pitch for the person they’re selling to, choosing which pieces of the information to bring together into that perfect pitch.

Right now, in any store you can observe field reps struggling with binders of data, trying to find the right scouting data, trying to match the generic sales materials they have in a way to create a customized pitch. But it’s almost impossible to pull together all that data manually in the few minutes or seconds available – let alone craft it into a meaningful pitch. So the pitch is usually less than optimal – in baseball terms you throw the fallback pitch – the one you throw when you don’t know what else to do.

However, today’s mobile technologies such as iPad and Android tablets enable organizations to bring highly interactive, personalized, fact-based and meaningful presentations front-and-center in every sales situation.

Technology-enabled mobile sales tools can bring together point of sale data, order history and shelf conditions such as out of stock history. They can show multi-media content, such as upcoming TV spots, pictures of successful displays and product features. They can allow the user to choose which data and materials are right to create the perfect pitch for the store manager. Finally, they can do something nothing else can – show a dynamic “What If” scenario for the store manager projecting sales and profits based on the proposed order.

Are your in-store sales efforts “pitch perfect?” Powerfully simple yet sophisticated, arming the sales force with a pitch book will ensure consistently perfect pitches every time.

Edge Sales and Marketing Selects StayinFront TouchCG to Drive Productivity and Sales

Posted on : Monday, November 12, 2012 by : StayinFront

California-based Edge Sales and Marketing has selected StayinFront TouchCG® as its mobile platform for retail execution. The company will deploy StayinFront TouchCG on iPads, delivering a more effective sales tool to the company’s field reps and driving in-store productivity.

Specializing in value-added and commodity produce for retailers and distributors in Northern California and Nevada, Edge Sales and Marketing sought out StayinFront CRM solutions for a number of reasons. Edge Sales and Marketing recognized the unique capabilities of the TouchCG platform for iPad and the experience of delivering a tightly integrated solution that addresses the priority requirements of retail merchandising, deal and trade promotions, and key account management. Plus, the platform is integrated with StayinFront Analytics and its KPI functionality provides management with easy access to critical information such as daily activities as well as insights to drive business.

Shawn Dagen, Vice President of Sales at Edge Sales and Marketing, welcomed the change, saying, “The StayinFront software is an upgrade from our current vendor and allows us to deliver a powerful system that will help our field force maximize every store visit.”

StayinFront’s EVP and Managing Director N.A., Sam Barclay, said, ““We are excited about our new relationship with Edge Sales and Marketing. We are confident that TouchCG’s unique capabilities will make them more effective in store and help them drive new business.”

StayinFront TouchCG revolutionizes the way field forces do business by enabling teams to enhance workflow and increase efficiencies in the field, as well as perform sales and account management tasks using a range of popular mobile devices. More information about StayinFront’s work in the consumer goods market can be accessed here.

Best Practices: The Benefits of Integrating Expense Management and Customer Relationship Management

Posted on : Monday, October 29, 2012 by : StayinFront

Although various states across the U.S. have administered a form of what is known as “Sunshine Laws” for over two decades, the first national provision goes into effect for the 2012 calendar year. For physicians, this means a new level of transparency in their relationships with vendors. For pharmaceutical companies, medical device, biological and medical supply manufacturers, the Physician Payments Sunshine Act introduces a new set of expense reporting and regulations standards.

Some research indicates that many within the industry are still unaware of how the Physicians Payments Sunshine Act impacts their work, while others dread the additional work it will create. By most accounts, the new act requires pharma and medical companies to keep detailed records of any and all expenses for meetings with individual healthcare professionals as well as organizations.

The key to successful expense compliance is to make the process ‘invisible’ for the user, and to do this we here at StayinFront apply the following principles:

  • Software should make the user more efficient at what they do – and each person should use the tool best designed for the job at hand. This means that an expense management system like Concur should be used for expense entry and management while a CRM like StayinFront EdgeRx and TouchRx should be used for healthcare professional (HCP) information management.
  • All data about HCP’s should be collected in the CRM to ensure that the user has a complete view of the customer.
  • The data the user sees should be identical across all systems being used – so the doctor’s name, address and other details must be the same in their CRM and expense management systems.
  • Expenses should be entered only once, and into only one system.

The best way to achieve successful expense compliance is to integrate our CRM solution tightly with an expense management system, and the one most of our clients use, and the leader in the market, is Concur.

We worked closely with the Concur Connects team to design 4 interface points between the StayinFront EdgeRx and Concur systems, using the Concur Connects web services, and the StayinFront Integration Manager. These interface points can be used individually or in combination to meet specific client business requirements.

The first interface is a direct nightly load of HCP information from StayinFront to Concur. This load passes all new, updated and deleted information to Concur, and ensures that Concur has a complete and current list of HCPs.

Benefit: Users entering expenses for a specific HCP see the exact same data that they see in their CRM system.

The second interface is a direct lookup from Concur to EdgeRx to find a specific HCP record. This real time lookup connects the EdgeRx system to the Web to locate an HCP record.

Benefit: Users can get the most up to date data – so an HCP entered into CRM is instantly available to the user to enter expenses against.

Event creation: When an event (such as a lunch and learn) is created in EdgeRx or TouchRx, that event is passed directly through to Concur with the attendee information attached.

Benefit: a user entering expenses for an event already has the event details, and since the attendees entered in their expense records, the company just needs to confirm which HCP’s attended and track the expense amounts. It can’t be any easier than that!

Finally, StayinFront uses the Concur Connects web service to pull back expense data related to HCP’s and attaches those expenses to the HCP in EdgeRx.

Benefit: EdgeRx and TouchRx have a complete picture of the HCP, and users can analyze the full impact of activity and results for each interaction.

These interfaces are designed to help customers save time, increase precision, and improve compliance.

Together, the StayinFront LifeSciences CRM and Concur’s Travel and Expense System adapt to the needs of the individual company through multi-faceted data integration. This means keeping up-to-date records on interactions with healthcare professionals and related expense reporting. Together, StayinFront and Concur offer a best practices approach to staying compliant for everything under the Sunshine Act.

Beating the Clock: Relationship Management, Sales Planning, & Physicians

Posted on : Monday, October 15, 2012 by : StayinFront

For sales reps, there is nothing sweeter than these six words, but in the healthcare world today, physicians are busier than ever and reps may only get a few minutes of the doctor’s time. This hectic pace combined with legislation impacting pharmaceutical pricing and the use of incentives means strategic physician relationship management is the driving force behind successful sales.

“The doctor will see you now.”

Creating a strategic sales plan with an emphasis on physician relationship management starts with examining existing data, analytics, and performance. Savvy companies can use this info, along with an industry-specific CRM solution and the key points below, to create a powerful pitch fit for busy physicians that can lead to higher sales and lasting relationships.

  • Understanding the Physicians – Employing a customer-centric approach helps reps learn about must-have services, specialties, patient demographics, personal communication style, preferred contact method, wants, and needs for each physician. Spending time collecting this information highlights the individual’s value and cuts down the length of future interactions.
  • Commitment Required – To nurture and manage the initial formation of these relationships necessitates centralized information, insight, and commitment. This means maintaining your information, anticipating your customers’ current and future needs, and creating commitment on both sides.
  • Effective Encounters – Now comes time to craft the message. As Becker Hospital Review pointed out, “…Success – the ‘purchase’ decision – occurs one person at a time, even when you are selling a concept.” Be sure to leverage mobile and social channels in addition to face-to-face contact. Keep messages focused on quality and value and remember, above all, to be concise.
  • Measurement, Reporting, Analysis & Adjustment – Much like a patient’s symptoms, sales plans also require evaluation. A smart industry-specific CRM with analytics will measure and report findings about your physician relationship management. Comparing this data with your sales plan allows for further analysis and the ability to adjust (PDF) on a regular basis.

To increase sales in an industry that is in constant motion, strategic sales planning combined with a CRM like StayinFront EdgeRx gives reps the ability to stay flexible (and ahead of the competition). Concentrate on selling to the physicians while building loyalty, staying attune to time constraints, and reviewing your performance can track the variables and help spot trends.

Seeing the Sun Shine: Health Care Goes High Tech

Posted on : Tuesday, October 9, 2012 by : StayinFront

Many health care providers have mixed feelings about the 2010 Physician Payment Sunshine Act. Passed as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act, the Sunshine Act is the first piece of federal legislation requiring pharmaceutical companies to report online all physicians who accepted “payment of other transfer of value” over $10.

Publishing this information on the Internet and entering it into the public domain gives patients and watchdog groups the ability to explore connections between doctors and drug companies and determine whether or not these relationships serve patients’ best interest. With the reports set to begin in 2013, physicians and hospitals are struggling to accept this new level of transparency.

Still, some wonder what all the fuss is about. Sunshine Laws aren’t an entirely new concept. In fact, Minnesota has had one since 1993 with online reports available for the last five years. Not to mention, under the 2009 HITECH Act, the entire healthcare industry will adopt electronic health records by 2020.

It appears that healthcare professionals are concerned that the Sunshine Act lacks effective disclosure and security guidelines and could impact the delivery of healthcare by opening up this information to the public. Others argue that disclosure will not impact how physicians interact with pharmaceutical companies and that the online health information exchange may stifle drug innovation.

By using the guidelines for electronic health records as one possible model, the benefits of the Sunshine Act may outweigh the aforementioned concerns. As one report explains, “The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) believe that certified EHR technology used in a meaningful way is an important piece of the broader health information technology infrastructure needed to reform the health care system and improve health care quality, efficiency, and patient safety.”

Using and maintaining CRM systems will assuage worries about data accuracy while continuing to encourage transparency and access to the information. Whether patients choose to access the information is yet to be seen, however, being able to review the data may help patients become better informed about treatment options. Providing a watchdog for the watchdogs should keep the information secure and safe from misrepresentation, protecting physicians and patients, just as Hippocrates intended.

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