Relationships vs Technology – The winner is?
With fierce competition for in-store product space, CPG companies need to find new ways to ensure they continue to grow their share of the shelf and maintain a competitive advantage. With automated direct to store ordering in grocery the norm, field teams have little influence on purchase ordering, but with a solid in-store execution strategy territory managers still hold the key to brand growth.
Many believe that empowering a field team with mobile technology is all that is needed, however in our experience the teams with standout success use mobile technology to empower the Territory Manager, but the human relationship is equally if not more important. The value of the relationship between the Territory Manager and store holds the greatest influence of all. The strength of the Territory Managers connection with the store often ensures battles are won against competitors.
Even the largest grocery chains still have room at store level for buyers to adjust shelf positions, add extra stock locations or to jump the queue to fix stock and ticket problems. These outcomes directly affect sales, so benchmarking the store relationship is an important KPI.
The mobile solution is the tool to collect relationship information, access historical data and audit current product health, however, only with a great relationship can the Territory Manager influence outcomes. As a mobile solution, Opmetrix empowers field teams to not only record data but provides simple and fast ways to focus on the following relationship goals
- Maintain a centralised contact list for each store capturing all contacts from store-men to aisle managers, buyers and store managers
- Ensure there are at least two key active store relationships in the event there is a staff change and a relationship is compromised
- Measure face to face time with store contacts to monitor over or under servicing
- Note conversations and all follow-up actions. The motto should be ‘we do what we say we’re going to do’
- Make it personal. Note their pets, sports teams, anniversaries and acknowledge them.
- Centralise the information collected so when staff are on holidays there is no interruption to the fantastic service provided.
Many CPG companies often talk about that one special rep, who somehow achieved higher than the rest of the team and that customers just loved to deal with. Even with the best product on the shelf and the strongest data and analytical reporting available, the human factor rivals any technology as the key to success.