Fighting over land and territory isn’t new to man. From medieval times to the present day, conflicts over territory have resulted in prolonged battles that in turn have led to the invention of innovative methods to help keep armies energized and motivated.
One such method has been the invention of battle cries that bind armies together in the battlefield with a common purpose and cause. From the American ‘Hooha’ to the Hindu war cry of ‘Har Har Mahadev’ to the ‘Banzai’ war cry of Japanese soldiers in WW2 or even the very popular Sikh War cry, ‘Jo bole so Nihal, sat sri akal’!
More recently, the Icelanders used the Viking war chant at the football World Cup and at Euro 2016 to drive their team to greater performance.
But as a business trying to conquer new territories, before you can start attacking the battlefield with all your might and a roaring chant, here are steps that you should use to make a more effective sweep of the territory.
Bizom has perfected these steps by working with the best minds in distribution across 300 companies and reaching almost 6Mn retailers through our platform.
Step 1: Reconnaissance – Collect intelligence
Identify and add outlets of varied types and levels of importance to your product categories.
The key here is to identify outlets along two key aspects:
a. The type of outlet: For eg. grocer, bakery, etc.
b. The value of the outlet: For eg. Category A, Category B, etc., based on sales value.
This along with deep dive details of the shop and the competition there can help you make great choices in future.
However, not being able to identify outlets in detail can render this exercise ineffective as there are instances where a certain type of outlet performs very well in Geography A whereas in Geography B it doesn’t.
Step 2: Draw up a Battle Plan
Make a detailed sales plan to get you from where you are to where you want to go
First, decide what you want to achieve and identify the questions that need to be answered to understand what your objectives should be:
- Looking at the current outlet coverage, how many new retailers do we need to add to meet target?
- Which geographical regions/outlet categories should we focus on?
- Are any of our territories being underserviced? If so, how many reps should we assign to those territories?
- Which products are the most profitable? Which outlets(type) are purchasing them?
- Which outlet segment offers the highest payoff? Are we tapping into that value consistently?
Based on the answers to these questions, set clear, measurable parameters and tangible goals for the management team.
The easier your goals are to measure and track, the better. Here are some examples:
– We need to add five new outlets in this beat every week.
– We want to double the number of retailers we serve in this outlet category by next year.
– We want to double the current universe of 1 Lakh outlet to 2 Lakh outlets by next year.
– By end of this year we want to have region A making Rs. 6000 crores in sales.
Step 3: Rally the Troops
Energise and motivate your sales team to meet and exceed their targets and goals
Our research throws up an insight that most seasoned sales managers know to be true from experience – time compliance is the first and most important factor in sales success. After all, if 50% of salespeople start selling only by noon, how can we expect them to cover 40-50 outlets in a day with an average time spent of 10-15 minutes at each outlet (the FMCG benchmark)?!
Not surprisingly, we’ve found that the most successful organizations are those that achieve PJP (permanent journey plan) adherence in excess of 90%.
However, we routinely see teams where over 70% or the team isn’t focussed on the PJP set out for them. This leads to poor performance and can be a roadblock to market execution leading to availability issues and competitive challenges.
The best way out to inspire your sales team to comply with the PJP is by making sure your beat/journey plan is optimized to get the most out of the saleman’s time with the least effort and cost. Here, again, technology is your friend. Tools enriched with AI can help you easily crunch a diverse set of factors including distance, traffic and demand to plan out the most optimal PJP.
Step 4: Arm the troops with the right weapons
Tech tools such as insights dashboard, suggested orders, retail visibility tracker and retailer app are the weapons that can help your team win in the most difficult of circumstances.
In an increasingly digital world, leveraging the best sales and distribution tech out there can give you an unbeatable competitive advantage, while failure to do so can threaten your very survival.
Tech products that deliver accurate, real time data, actionable insights, proactive alerts and reports can help you make the right decision at right time. Use the power of data to track market demand and performance and streamline your sales and distribution.
Step 5: Pick the best spot on the battlefield
Build better relationships with retailers by incentivizing both optimal placement of products and in-store brand visibility
The stronger your relationships with store owners and managers, the more they will trust you and want to work with you. This may sound like common sense, but amidst all the excitement of sales it is far too easy to forget this simple truth.
Relationship building is even more important in small, family-owned corner stores where there is no corporate management or policy that the store needs to answer to. If they know you, like you, and trust you, they will be that much more likely to take a chance on you, offer you a good contract, and suggest your product to their customers.
Today, store owners trust salesman who use tech tools to record orders as they are able to ensure 100% accuracy and faster fulfilment.
In addition, store owners appreciate brands that focus on both placement and brand visibility. In fact, not doing so might harm your relationship with the shopkeeper. How? Imagine that you’ve placed your product in the store but did not provide brand collateral such as signs to announce its availability. This will lead to very little product movement leading to a loss of sales and trust on the part of the retailer.
It also helps to put in place a loyalty program so that retailers stay invested in your brand for more than just the immediate transaction. In the long term, this will help your brand corner a greater share of the category sales.
Step 6: Inspire the army for battle
Develop a war cry. it is the one binding factor that can help armies stay motivated when they’re conquering new territories. Gamification in the business context is the one element that helps drive multipliers in performance.
Many organizations are using tools such as gamification to motivate and inspire sales teams to supercharge their performance. For example:
1. Sales teams where only 50% used to achieve targets move to as high as 95% target achievement during gamification efforts.
2. Sales teams typically complete over 70% their sales goals in the last week of the month. However, with gamification we saw those same teams achieve 65% of targets in week 1.
The increased use of technology in sales and distribution have changed the rules of the battlefield for FMCG dominance. Today brands need to build a team capable of adopting and leveraging the capabilities of tech tools to derive greater success and conquer new territories faster and more easily.
To know more about how you can make your team battle-ready with the best tech tools available, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Abhishek is an engineer by training but an entrepreneur at heart. He has over 9 years of experience running multiple profitable startups across various domains like Edu-Tech, Robotics & Automation, Real Estate, HR & Marketing. He is a firm believer in sales first approach which has ensured that every venture he takes on is blessed with his Midas touch. He currently serves as VP- BD & Sales at Bizom where he leads and mentors the sales & customer success team. Bizom continues to grow exponentially under his vast functional expertise and he is fondly referred to as ‘Professor’ by his peers and juniors alike.