In these uncertain times, at least two things are certain: one, business leaders cannot afford to lose sight of their sales team and customers. Two, companies that don’t let the uncertainty get the better of them will come out winning.
While the global impact on businesses is unprecedented, there have been similar daunting situations on a more regional level in the recent past. Studying the trends and data of such a region can give insights and best practices for now. A critical insight is about businesses that stay connected with their internal and external stakeholders. They are three times more likely to be favoured once normalcy is restored.
One of the long-standing principles of sales is “out of sight, out of mind”. Sales leaders cannot let any event, no matter how grave, stop them from communicating with their customers, partners and most importantly, their sales team. But the question remains, how can we stay connected, especially when everyone is confined to their homes. The answer to this lies in how we communicate the message of them not being alone in this lean period. Technology can play a role here. Here’s my perspective:
The process of sales these days is very machine-like in itself, a combination of well-planned tasks followed by an even better-planned execution. A confinement period like this can be used to increase the knowledge of the sales team, which in regular times doesn’t get prioritised. Daily activities like quizzes on the products, industry or general knowledge, can help them stay updated and relevant in the ecosystem.
Mock pitching or brainstorming sessions are other ways to ensure the sales team is on top of their game. These carefully planned activities will also build the morale of the team, which might be shaky from the discomfort of not being in the field. A video message posted by a senior stakeholder can also help with them feel relevant and connected to the company and its goals. Quiz and task modules are used by a lot of companies to keep their sales team battle-ready.
For every CPG company, a distributor is more of a partner than a customer. As distributors continue to face uncertainties, brands can help them by providing valuable insights on how they should expect things to turn in the coming days. Your distribution partners would need that extra bit of reassurance that the business will continue.
Through our DMS module, we help companies provide relevant business insights to distributors, helping them plan better. Enterprising companies these days are using this to help distributors reduce inventory cost, optimise fill rates and aim for a better stock turnover ratio. In the current business environment, staying connected with distributors becomes more crucial when the business comes back on track. Sharing regular brand-related updates, educating them on the latest trends in the ecosystem, running some fun-business related quizzes during the lockdown period with rewards are some ways to go about it.
In present times, where there is monopsony (many sellers and one buyer) in almost every category, to get the attention span of a retailer is challenging but necessary. The ongoing lockdown has made retailers even more indispensable.
A lot of companies are working on further strengthening their association with retailers by proactively engaging with them on a routine basis. Some are interestingly focusing on a 2-way engagement, both transactional and non-transactional to strengthen the outreach further. These activities have traditionally led to stronger brand loyalty, lion’s share in Key Retail Outlets and freedom for the sales team to focus on more business development than just selling. A retailer app not only helps with the order generation but also improves the relationship between retailers and the brand. At the end of it, the limited shelf share in an outlet has to be given to some brand, most probably, to the one with better camaraderie.
A lot of us rely heavily on data to make better-informed decisions. When there is no data, the old school way of going by the gut is also not a bad way to go about it. Another thing which might be old-school but absolutely necessary to have stronger relationships with the stakeholders. Staying connected is staying relevant.
For more info on how we can help you with having better engagement with your sales team, distributors and retailers drop an email at, email@example.com
Stay safe and be battle-ready for the future.
Author: Prarabdh Mishra, Regional Head, Mobisy Technologies