Sales Force Automation 08 Jan 21 Vivek Agarwal

The current business sector is teeming with industry disruptions and the customer is evolving with every passing second. The digital customers have highly volatile mindsets and focus on a number of parameters while choosing a brand.

This rapid shift in customer motivations and behaviour can make it hard for your business to stay afloat, especially in the FMCG sector, where the majority of products are quick-moving, perishables with small shelf life, and new brands are popping every single day!

So, what is the key to keep on evolving along with your customers’ changing preferences? And, is there any efficient and reliable method to steer your sales efforts such that they align with the market?

The answer is ‘YES’, and it is Sales Force Automation.

Let us explore the term inside-out and learn how FMCG brands can leverage it for better ROI, improved workplace productivity, better insights into customer data and much more.

Let us begin with a thorough introduction of the term.

What is Sales Force Automation?

SFA is a software or tool used by the field sales team to automate the field sales processes, such as order processing, stock monitoring, route optimization and sales forecast etc. 

Sales force automation or sales automation is a powerful tool to increase your sales and revenue, boost employee productivity and eliminate redundancy from your business processes. It employs the latest technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, and Machine Learning, that offers you a deeper penetration into the purchasing intent of your customers, and enables you to offer personalized shopping experiences to them. Sales force automation is an excellent tool to create customizable workflows automatically, and reduce time spent on manual or repetitive tasks. 

Another interesting and crucial benefit offered by Sales force automation tools is customer and market intelligence that comes with sterling reports and analytics related to your customers.

Using Sales force automation, you can identify different customer clusters or segments based on different criteria, such as:

  • Buying capacity
  • Affinity for high-quality or exotic goods' purchases
  • Purchase intent and motivation
  • Exit intent or skipping the purchase at the last moment, even after populating the cart

Some other benefits comprise the following:

  • Sales force automation plays a crucial role in motivating your sales team, keeping them informed in terms of the entire supply chain data and enables them to make smarter decisions.
  • Likewise, the managers can get actionable insights into real-time data and act accordingly. 
  • Sales force automation offers seamless integration across devices without compromising with organizational security.
  • Hence, it improves overall productivity, keeps the motivation high, boosts range selling and increases market coverage, all the while empowering you to make smart sales teams.

Thus, it is a reliable, efficient and robust way to perform across all the sales vertical with clear insights into every business process and customers. 

Why does your FMCG Brand need it NOW?

A recent McKinsey report outlined that 30% of all sales tasks can be automated. Sales automation can help reduce the cost of sales processes by reducing the time spent on manual processes and reporting. 

While businesses across the globe keep on benefitting from sales force automation, Indian FMCG is still suffering from performance issues and revenue trenches because of its inability to embrace automation the right way.

The FMCG brands also fail to adjust their working style and technology platforms to ensure seamless and effortless integration of sales reps and automation solutions.

In the next section, we share 4  powerful benefits of adopting sales force automation

Benefits of salesforce automation

1. Potential-based Market Coverage instead of Geography-based coverage

Sales force automation changes the way you perceive market coverage and transforms you from being a number chaser to a customer expert. Instead of focusing on distributors, products and customers based on geographical reach, Sales force automation aims at covering micro-markets based on sales potential and beat optimization guides. For example, instead of focusing on getting 50 retailers for a chocolate brand in one city, you can focus on reaching the retailers who give recurring orders, who have better customer coverage etc. You can easily identify different retail clusters in one city or one State and deliver personalized and exceptional product delivery based on the status of the outlets.

2. Embrace the "less is more" idea

Traditional business models focus on high digitization but low adoption. Their sales planning efforts are mostly unstructured stemming from market speculations based on generic data from multiple sources, and performance reviews limited to business output metrics. On the other hand, Sales force automation empowers the FMCG brands with end-to-end digitized sales scheduling and planning stemming from in-depth market intelligence. The managers and higher-ups have a continuous and real-time vision into the input and output metrics such that they can forecast sales for a particular distributor with ease. This enables them to steer their performance in an informed manner and have sales insights with a customizable dashboard. 

3. Intelligent investment in Sales Conversations that leads to long-lasting ROIs

Traditional sales efforts thrive on transactional sales conversations with retailers and distributors. Such conversations focus on offering discounts and collecting orders and payments. However, sales force automation makes you a customer-first brand by focusing on creating and nurturing valuable relationships with the retailer. You can use the retail outlet records to forecast the demand and plan your supply chain accordingly. Hence, you can focus on generating demand by identifying customer intents and expectations and creating value by the same. 

Thus, you can maximise your returns on capital employed (ROCE) and gain better insights into dealer and customer data. 

4. Introduces Opportunities for Cross-Selling and Upselling

Cross-selling is one of the best ways to make money apart from the initial sale and involves offering suggestions to a customer who has just bought one or more products. For example, if a customer has bought a herbal shampoo, you can recommend a herbal oil from the same brand by highlighting the synergic affect both of them have on your hair. 

Upselling is another impressive sales technique in which a sales rep recommends add-ons, accessories and upgrades etc. For example, a shoe shiner and soft brush from the same brand, of which a customer has just bought a pair of shoes. 

Both upselling and cross-selling exist in many scenarios, but the sales reps involved in confusing administrative and filing tasks tend to avoid them, which causes them to miss their chances of making extra sales. Sales force automation solutions automate the mundane tasks and keep your sales rep sharp and ready to make more sales via cross-selling and upselling. 

By now, you must have realized the power of sales force automation and how it can transform you into a market-ready and customer-first business organization.

Sales Force Automation for FMCG Brands - The Right Way!

With the onslaught of pandemic-enforced remote work requirements and industry disruptions, sales force automation has become a hot trend in all business sectors, including FMCG. This, in turn, has spawned the development of a large number of Sales force automation software or tools. 

However, choosing “The One” from this plethora of options is a daunting task. 

Automating FMCG sales requires a deep understanding of your company’s goals, capabilities, dealers, and target customers. It is a well-planned and thought-after journey that comprises the following steps:

  • Identify and define Sales force automation goals and motivation
  • Identify and define "what" you want to achieve via automation
  • An in-depth ROI analysis
  • Sales force automation features relevant to the above-mentioned assessments
  • Features offered by the tool, such as agility, ease of customization, robustness, and ease of use or deployment etc.

FieldAssist is a SaaS platform that offers a brilliant combination of Sales force automation and business intelligence that enables top FMCG companies to make fast decisions and act in real-time, based on the business intelligence of its sales team, product and market performance. It approaches automation in an innovative manner and facilitates optimization, improvement of sales effectiveness and better management of your sales forces. It offers a smart and comprehensive MIS dashboard and statistical tools to sift through the huge blocks of unstructured data and highlight hidden trends and patterns.
For an aggressively developing Indian FMCG sector, FieldAssist is an impeccable Sales force automation platform that never fails to deliver.

Let us take a quick walk-through of its features for a better understanding

FieldAssist - Features that make it a commendable choice for Sales Force Automation

FieldAssist features

1. Digital Ordering

The SFA App from FieldAssist allows your sales reps to place orders using a smartphone, instead of manual order books. They have access to real-time stock and delivery data that enables them to make better sales pitches. The SKU-wise ordering leads to higher flexibility and offers real-time insights into each SKU.

2. Measure Productivity

The SFA app offers 40+ smart KPIs such as adherence to plans, beat efficiency, analytics and time spent at point of sales etc that allow you to measure productivity in a better manner. These metrics are accessible to the sales reps. Hence, they can self-assess themselves and improve their performance gradually.

3. Catalogue Sync

Printing product catalogues is a time-consuming and resource-intensive process that requires re-iteration even with the slightest changes in the products list. The SFA App from FieldAssist offers the leading sales force automation in India that allows your sales teams to display a digital product catalogue that is continuously synced with the main server in real-time. So, all the changes and updates are instantly reflected in the product list without much ado.

4. Predictive Analytics

The predictive analysis allows your sales reps to suggest orders based on the specific point of sale history and enables them to offer a seamless purchase experience to the distributors. So, they can cover more outlets in less time, which is a win-win situation for both, your brand and the distributor.

5. Targets and Achievements

Using the SFA App, you can set periodic targets for the sales reps and compare them against their achievements to measure productivity and efficiency. Furthermore, the targets can be set against a wide range of tracking metrics over a variable duration of time, such as weekly, daily and monthly targets. Your sales reps can also generate comparison reports based on their targets and achievements.

6. Instant Custom Surveys

Another powerful feature of the SFA App is the ability to create instant custom surveys that allow you to do a thorough pulse-check across the entire market and gather valuable feedback in a smart manner. This helps you understand anything and everything wrong with your sales strategies, and revamp them accordingly.

Read: How to leverage SFA to predict sales?

FieldAssist Sales Force Automation - Looking Beyond Traditional Sales Tracking

While tracking your sales reps is a crucial thing to do, the current market is intensely competitive and calls for a more comprehensive, holistic and intuitive sales monitoring and tracking. Furthermore, just tracking is not enough to give your sales a boost, or to improve the on-field productivity of your sales reps. Smart and powerful tools like the SFA app from FieldAssist is an excellent way to enable, empower and strengthen your sales teams to look beyond just the numbers and become customer-aware!

It works on KPI-based assessment, empowers you and your reps with actionable insights into customer and market data and allows them to figure out what their customers want and how they would want your brand offerings to improve. 

So, schedule a demo now and take the right step towards innovative sales.

Vivek Agarwal

Passionate about helping people through social work, Vivek empathizes with the worldly struggles through his poetry. Professionally, he is an enthusiastic digital marketer, specializing in SEO, product marketing and WordPress Optimization.

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