Efficient communication between the head office and sales reps, transparency into the frequency and length of store visits and centralised record-keeping are the key capabilities that separate successful FMCG brands from the rest.
Here are six ways a mobile CRM can help brands achieve those capabilities and, ultimately, drive sales.
- Establish a clear line of communication with sales reps
Managing field sales teams can be a challenge for FMCG brands. The head office needs to be able to communicate efficiently with dozens or even hundreds of sales reps located all across the country, so each rep knows exactly which stores to visit and what to say or do to help meet the brand’s strategic objectives on any given day. On the flip side, reps need to be able to alert the head office about any issues or opportunities in the field immediately.
While brands can use existing communication channels, such as email and chat, to do this, that’s not ideal, according to Jo Richardson, COO at Opmetrix, a specialised CRM platform for organisations that employ large teams of merchandise.
“Often, we find businesses are using multiple tools in-store to carry out their tasks,” she said.
“Reducing the number of different tools they are using and providing a solution where in-store tasks can all be done in once place makes reps’ jobs easier and provides further efficiencies in-store.”
- Empower reps to manage themselves
While it might be necessary for large organisations to give their sales reps very clear directives to make sure store visits and tasks don’t slip through the cracks, a mobile CRM doesn’t necessarily need to be a micromanaging tool, Richardson said.
“Smaller organisations use it more to enable reps to manage themselves, so they don’t necessarily dictate what those reps do,” she said.
“I know of one organisation that allows their reps to manage everything themselves. They book all the appointments and then simply push their reports through to head office.”
- Keep track of visits and goals
Just as brands need one central place to communicate with sales reps, reps need a place to keep track of information about their store visits, so they can follow up on opportunities and review any changes to see if they’ve had an impact.
“Seeing the full history of your store visits means you can go into the store and say, ‘A year ago, you were doing this.’ It’s all in one place and just really useful,” Richardson said.
To make progress towards their goals, reps can also set objectives and get reminders about their objectives every time they walk into a store.
- Digitise sales processes
Removing friction at the point of sale is crucial. Historically, this was a very manual process and required heavy administrative resources to fulfil sales processed from the field. That’s no longer the case, thanks to mobile CRM solutions, which make it possible for reps to automate their sales data from the field to their accounting system. This reduces turnaround times and achieves faster delivery back to the customer.
“Depending how it’s set up in the backend system, you can display special pricing for some customers and not for others and show images,” Richardson said.
“There’s also document storage to upload brochures, so you don’t have to carry all those things around.”
After customers decide on their order, reps can get their signature and complete the sale in the app, and then push it through to the head office.
- Get transparent reporting
When it comes to understanding the impact of store visits on sales, reporting and analytics are critical. A mobile CRM makes it possible to report on “pretty much everything”, according to Richardson.
“If a product isn’t performing well in-store, you can quickly identify when a rep was last in-store and what activities they performed. Being able to easily view and escalate this information is key to rectifying any in-store issues,” she said.
In addition to individual FMCG brands, brokerages also manage large teams of sales reps, and it’s critical for these businesses to be able to show each of their brand customers how many hours have been spent on their business.
“Reports can be shared with brands without giving them access to the backend,” she said.
- Build relationships
At the end of the day, a mobile CRM frees up sales reps to focus on what they’re best at: building relationships with their customers.
“The reason you’re employed is that relationship building and communication with the customer,” Richardson said.
“Opmetrix enables you to focus your efforts and energy on the unique capabilities you bring to the table, rather than admin.”
Click here to find out more about Opmetrix’s specialised CRM platform and how it can make your field team more effective.