Date published

Save the sale: How CPGs are using call-center-based sales execution during COVID-19

By Manu Krishna, Director, Content Marketing at Trax

In-store promotions have forever been used as a growth lever in the physical retail world. For manufacturers, promotions may account for as much as 25 percent of gross sales.

While it’s pretty easy to measure how much a promotion sold, it is a lot harder to clearly understand why a discount or a display worked or, even more important, why something didn’t. So, in addition to point-of-sale data, consumer goods companies are adopting new data on store conditions to fill in the gaps around performance measurement as well as develop new promotion and display strategies.

Rampant field-labor shortages have affected most CPG companies

Such social distancing measures mean that audits cannot be performed efficiently, tasks are limited to basic shelf replenishment, and the flow of crucial information to CPGs is affected.

In-store execution solutions powered by image recognition can give CPGs the data they need to manage availability, identify gaps in restoring share-of-shelf, and launch targeted interventions where needed – all without even visiting the store.

James Quincey, CEO of The Coca-Cola Company, says Coca-Cola has made a concerted effort to enhance its presence on the shelf by redeploying its ground sales staff and training them in merchandising.

“Coca-Cola hopes this will result in increased share of displays of stock on the floor, aided by a ruthless prioritization of core products and key brands to help customers simplify their supply chains,” he says.

What is remote call-center-based sales execution?

For many CPGs, it’s a solution to their field-sales reps’ issues with reaching the shelves.

This remote team uses cloud-based software to connect with customers and colleagues so they can maintain relationships while staying within COVID-19 social-distancing guidelines.

McKinsey says almost 90 percent of B2B sales have moved to a video conferencing, phone or web sales model, and more than half believe this is equally or more effective than sales models used before COVID-19.

At a leading beverage bottling company, call center staff have been empowered to use Trax’s in-store monitoring systems to remotely view shelves. Without entering the stores, they can understand product availability, make recommendations, and sell similar products to retailers based on what they already order.

Here’s a typical interaction between a telesales agent and a retail store manager:

“Trax allows us to get instantaneous reads on the marketplace that has made us lift our game in customer service and provide our customer with a commercial outcome.” — Chief Information Officer, bottling company.

Another CPG firm, an Israeli dairy market leader, leveraged Trax Retail Execution to give its reps a single view of customer transactions.

Despite operating in an environment where Israel’s COVID-19 case count has passed 50,000, the company’s reps were able to optimize distribution and placement of new products to such an extent that the initiative directly impacted share-of-shelf within key accounts, realizing a 1 percent uplift in market share.

Adapting to a new normal that includes social distancing for the long term

Another no-contact digital solution to help CPGs tackle field-labor shortage is go to emma.  This platform connects retailers and industry partners in a two-way flow of information that allows CPGs to share new products, promotions, and POS activities with retailers. After retailers make a booking online, sales reps can then reach out to store managers or owners over the phone to maintain relationships and close deals.

Those focused on preserving their dedicated salesforce to drive higher value activities may be interested in third-party crowdsourcing-based store-audit solutions. These provide CPGs with a fast, flexible, and cost-effective way to gain insight into merchandising and promotion-execution performance.

Social-distancing measures are expected to remain in place for the long haul, and CPGs are adapting to the new norm with innovative ways to enable their field teams.

Trax can help CPGs adapt to this ‘new normal’ by enabling you to gain the shelf data you need to make smart decisions – even when your field-sales reps can’t get adequate access in-stores – and prioritize your field-sales reps’ time across the stores and corrective actions that most need their attention.

Download Trax’s report, The new imperative at shelf for consumer goods companies, for deeper insights.