Sales Force Automation 10 Jun 21 Rashmi Kapse

A McKinsey & Company article declares that “ Unlocking sales-force productivity is one of the surest ways to make a breakthrough on revenue growth, but this is easier said than done”. We agree, especially in the context of the recent IBEF report that states that India is expected to become the world's third-largest consumer economy, reaching Rs. 27.95 lakh crore (US$ 400 billion) in consumption by 2025.

If there is anything that can be given credit for the rapid evolution of the complex Indian retailing environment, it is the various sales automation solutions that have helped shape General Trade as well as the Modern Trade into their current, technology-backed avatars. As retail-leaning businesses today become more and more tech-driven, they are constantly reinventing and improving themselves to run efficiently. Higher adoption of Sales technologies like Online Distribution management systems, sales force automation DIY platforms and retail analytics software have led to streamlined sales processes driving sales force productivity, competitive advantage, and product profitability.

Sales force automation software, therefore, plays an instrumental role in enhancing sales force productivity by giving smart selling strategies with data, thus enabling organizations to refine processes in the retail industry, especially at the grass-root level. Here are a couple of ways by which an SFA can help brands in increasing sales force productivity in traditional retail:

sfa increase productivity

Effective Beat Plans

An SFA app helps in creating an effective Beat plan for the field force. With FieldAssist’s Beat-o-meter feature in its SFA, you can easily segment your retail outlet universe into categories like active, dormant, never visited, etc looking at outlet-wise color coding. You can also view whether a retailer has placed an order with you in the last 3 months or whether there are outlets that have never placed an order. On-field sales teams now get better visibility on which outlets they need to cover to increase reach. Having a Beat plan helps you plan market visits better and optimize a salesman’s time while improving his productivity levels.

Intelligent Call Preparation

Before making a field visit, viewing outlet-wise information on the handheld device helps salesmen to plan their calls better. Easy view of every outlet’s historical data such as SKU wise sales and last 10 visit dates and a host of other parameters make them look smarter in front of every retailer and increase the overall brand experience for him. Smart order booking reduces time tremendously, a person can book orders within a minute hence covering more outlets in a  day. A salesman can also customize his ‘selling approach’ based on the inputs he receives from the company on “must sell” products, “focus products' ' and any applicable schemes and promotions.

Real-time Market Insights

Salesforce automation solutions enable real-time, on-ground market visibility to mid-managers for effective decision making. Armed with first-hand market intelligence-  e.g. which of your products are in demand more, how is your competition performing in the same product category, how much shelf space do your products have at every retailer, which schemes have been more popular, etc. -  you can create faster and more focused GTM strategies to respond to your customers more effectively.

Target v/s achievement gamified

A fun way to encourage healthy competition Gamification in our SFA helps improve the overall productivity and motivation in the sales team to hit their monthly goals. Using gamification, you can run contests, recognize and reward the winners and entice the rest of the team to qualify for contests and try to win them. 

The end goal of all companies who are making conscious investments in sales and distributor management automation solutions - is to create distinct value for their consumers, who interact with their brand at multiple touch-points and through multiple channels – emails, pop-ups, stores, online, apps, SMS, etc. Because at the end of the day, there is no online customer or an offline customer. It’s only ‘The Customer’. 

Therefore, for the retail-oriented industries like FMCG/FMCD, solutions with classical functionalities (SFA, DMS, GT app,  MT app,) must be able to integrate with each other to offer a unified automated workflow. Not only will this raise the efficiency of the entire sales organization by reducing the sales cycle, but also create a long-term, scalable system that is future-ready.  Unified retail is therefore not a gallop to a utopian vision but rather a purposeful stride towards a foreseeable future,  backed with technological learnings and long-term transformation. The industry is ready to ride the unified digital wave. Are you?

Rashmi Kapse

Rashmi joined the FieldAssist family recently as a Content Specialist. She spent 11 years in the Executive Search business before changing tracks. As a Content Specialist for the past 8 years, she writes on Sales Tech, HR Tech, FMCG, Consumer Goods, F&B and Health & Wellness.

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