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CPG KPIs & Reporting, Field Sales

Do Your Field Sales Visits Lead to Positive ROI?

Ben Weiner

3 Min Read

There’s no bigger investment a CPG brand can take than building a field sales team. While certainly expensive, the costs of a field sales team are soon outweighed by the unparalleled competitive advantages brands gain by having experts in every market, making a difference on every shelf.

But with as many as 81 percent of companies reporting that they’re unsatisfied with their ability to execute at retail, how can brands be more confident that their field sales visits are actually leading to a positive return on investment?

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A successful field sales team isn’t built overnight and typically takes considerable time and effort to create a team that’s capable of generating a positive ROI in every account. However, the top CPG brands understand that every account is unique and each comes with dynamic conditions that require different levels of support. That’s why they’re leveraging point-of-sale (POS) data to actively optimize the activities their field teams take at every store. The “blanket coverage” approach of dispatching reps to cover accounts equally just isn’t good enough anymore.

With wide access to retailer POS data, brands are bringing their sales data into their retail execution platforms and leveraging it as a guide to prioritize growth-ready accounts, allowing reps to focus on the actions that drive the most sales results, rather than just activity. With POS data, brands can build measurement plans to connect the actions their team takes in the field to actionable sales.

By doing this, brands have a better understanding of how efficient and effective each rep is at generating sales, rather than just the activities they’re completing in the field. And with reports showing as much as 25 percent of sales can be lost due to poor retail execution, it’s crucial brands move from just measuring field activities to understanding and optimizing the impact their field team has on sales growth.

 

Target Underperforming Stores by Monitoring Sales Trends

Winning CPG brands understand that more activities completed by a rep does not equal more sales. In fact, reps spend only 38 percent of their day to day focused on generating revenue - so it’s critical that time is spent focusing on the activities that are going to have the largest impact on sales.

38 percent of a field reps (1)

 

By equipping field sales managers with store-level sales data for their key accounts, brands can easily monitor sales trends to target underperforming accounts to quickly dispatch reps to the stores with the largest opportunities. Winning shelf space in the accounts you’re already selling in can be just as huge as winning space in a new store.

“We measure everything and our data gives us the ability to go in and see where we have an opportunity to impact sales.” - Wade Duke, CEO & co-founder, Relentless Trade Solutions

Keep in mind, the work doesn’t stop just because your products are on the shelf; you’ll have to keep up the hard work to make sure you’re getting the most out of your SKUs everywhere you are sold. For that reason, monitoring store-level sales trends to identify underperforming stores can help you capitalize on these opportunities.

By tracking sales week over week and comparing the numbers across multiple stores, you can flag low performers and send your team into the field to investigate why those stores aren’t selling as much as other locations, potentially uncovering lost facings, phantom inventory, distribution voids or other sales-killers.

 

Identify and Prioritize Heavy-Hitting Merchandising Programs

Another fantastic way brands are using POS data to actively optimize their retail activities is by looking at their sales data along with activity data. Together, sales and activity data can not only help you identify low-performing stores, but can also give you an idea of the merchandising programs — or sales reps — that move the needle most effectively.

By reporting on retail sales alongside field team activity, brands can drill down and understand the why behind sales performance and finally uncover how certain merchandising wins or sales activities impact sales. At scale, this kind of reporting can reveal which programs have the biggest impact, helping field teams focus on the most important aspects of merchandising in their accounts.

“If a rep talks to a store manager about the five things that they want to put a display up for, the answer is probably no. But we use those conversations as opportunities to show the manager what we’re seeing in the store with our data.” - Wade Duke, CEO & co-founder, Relentless Trade Solutions

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What’s more important: securing an endcap or selling at eye-level? What kind of impact do our shelf-talkers have on sales? How much do missing displays cost us?

Brands that can report on sales data alongside their team activity data can answer questions like these and more.

In today’s age of big data, brands that are leveraging retailer point-of-sale data in their retail execution platforms to actively optimize field team activities with intelligent prioritization are finding even more actionable growth opportunities to expand their footprint in key accounts. Learn more about your brand can use POS data to prioritize accounts and grow sales in near real-time in our CPG Sales Guide.

Ben Weiner

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.

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