The pandemic expedited a need for digital transformation and organizational agility that otherwise may have taken years to adopt – and many field teams faced a sink or swim situation. The past 18 months caused a lot of change in process for CPG brands and their field teams and left many desiring more insight and control of their SKUs on the shelf.
If you’re a field sales leader and this sounds like your brand or field team, you’ve come to the right place. This piece will help you determine if your current method of overseeing retail execution is keeping your team from execution at a high level.
We’ll uncover 25 key statements sales leaders should ask themselves to ensure their retail technology solutions and apps are modern, mainstream, and setting their field teams up for success. Read through, and depending on your answers (or your inability to answer at all), you may want to re-evaluate your toolset for 2022.
If you’re an IT leader or close with your IT lead at your company, we’ve got a checklist for you as well to assess if your retail tech stack is modern and measures up today or if it’s a barrier to your success.
Below is our Checklist for Field Sales Leaders. Check it out!
Learning the Solution: Onboarding, Ramp-Up, and Ease-of-Use
- Our onboarding program takes longer than 20 min before a rep can be productive with the solution out in the field.
- Our team constantly needs technical support and/or is regularly running into bugs.
- The platform does not look, feel, or act like the rest of the modern applications I use on my phone.
Field Team Management: Planning, Building, and Scheduling Campaigns
- I can’t set up new surveys on my own, or change them without technical support.
- I can’t get real-time summary reports on our data collection programs.
- My area managers can’t customize surveys based on their unique needs.
- Our reps have to switch between separate tools for route planning and data collection.
- Our reps visit the same accounts every week or month and don’t change their route based on the latest sales or execution data.
- Our area managers can’t add new visits directly to their team’s calendars when new priorities come up.
- Team managers can’t create or track jobs or tasks for their team to complete in the field.
- We cannot add new accounts to the route and get optimized routing.
In-Store Execution: Platform Functionality/Agility (Back Office and Mobile)
- Our reps lose data and can’t work when they lose cell service or WiFi.
- We don’t know how much time our team spends in stores vs on the road.
- Our sales and merchandising teams use different systems to track the work they do in the field.
- Our reps have to switch to a separate messaging app to communicate with one another.
- Our reps work in multiple applications to place orders and submit data through email instead of a dedicated system.
- We manually sync our data with our CRM or reporting platform.
- Our platform does not host files and planograms. Our reps switch to their photos or use print-out planograms.
- Our reps manually submit their mileage which is based on their car odometer.
- Our reps require build-in admin time during their schedule to send email recaps of their visits.
Insights and Actions
- We cannot take targeted actions based on yesterday’s execution.
- We don’t have any automated insights coming from the photos we take in the field.
- Our reps can’t view analytics specific to store location.
- Our reps can’t view sales data on the fly and don’t have confidence that it’s up-to-date.
- We have image recognition analysis completed on the photos we take.
Again, if you can’t successfully answer all of these statements, then it may be time to talk with your IT team about exploring options for a more modern, nimble solution to meet today’s demands.
Are you an IT leader or CIO? This checklist will help you determine whether your current method of operating and tracking their retail execution is holding your team back, and a barrier to success.
Ben is Repsly’s content marketing manager, focusing on digital storytelling through blogs, video and podcast production, and social media. He recently served as Bullhorn’s senior content marketing specialist and is also the founder of InVision Media, a video production company that helped small businesses promote their message. Before joining the workforce, Ben was the captain, president, and social media manager of the men’s ice hockey team at the University of Maryland. In his spare time, he enjoys rollerblading with his dog Chewbacca, watching the Boston Bruins, listening to classic rock, and playing competitive games of Settlers of Catan. Follow Ben on Twitter: @bennybyline.