Whether it is the unanticipated chaos from a pandemic or the predictable disruptions due to market conditions, the ability to quickly respond to these challenges and ensure an uninterrupted, unshakeable supply chain network by the sales teams is what sets a great brand apart from the rest. But even for trailblazer teams, there are questions that sometimes put them under stress.
Paramdeep Singh Anand, CEO of FieldAssist, India’s leading B2B sales automation platform, drew his focus on technology to solve the business problems at scale. FieldAssist is a million dollar enterprise growing at more than 100% YoY and currently serving more than 400+ enterprise consumer goods brands in India & abroad.
With a successful first entrepreneurial stint in the manufacturing sector in 2014, Paramdeep Singh Anand, a graduate in Mechanical Engineering from Vellore Institute of Technology, founded Health Foods in 2006 when he was in his final year of mechanical engineering. He bagged laurels and appreciation for the initiative and was the “First student graduate incubate of Technology Business Incubator” at VIT University. He is passionate about the Consumer Goods Industry with a focus on developing products that are transforming the face of Sales Automation industry in India.
We asked him to put to rest some of the most frequently asked questions:
How can I ignite my market penetration?
In the past year, there are many instances where sales floundered because organizations couldn’t respond in time due to a lack of on-ground information across geographies. On the other hand, there were many companies that aggressively expanded their distribution, launched new products in the middle of a pandemic, and came out on top.
What did these firms do differently? How could they achieve market penetration but others couldn’t: From what I have observed, companies like these have one thing in common – extremely progressive CEOs and dynamic Sales heads who proactively harnessed the power of sales & supply chain automation to achieve sustainable growth. They are the ones who pulled out all the stops to build a brand that’s always available on the shelves for its consumers, irrespective of the size of their business.
Take the example of a leading spice brand from Delhi that wanted to expand its market penetration across India. Without technology support, it faced multiple on-ground challenges – poor accuracy of secondary sales data & lack of clarity around sales productivity. However, with sales automation, the brand achieved in-depth, retail-level insights, and the mid-level manager got 24/7 visibility of sales reps performance right from the grassroots level. Digitizing their sales and distribution helped them understand product level penetration, which consequently increased sales for a majority of their 150 SKUs.
When you have a constant stream of auto-updated, real-time information that you can access anytime, anywhere, expanding your reach and depth will become a breeze.
Why don’t I trust my own sales data?
I can guarantee that every Business Head has lost sleep on this question at least once in his life. Lack of authenticity and a single source of data can be one of the most frustrating experiences to encounter, especially when the entire sales strategy hinges on dubious methods of capturing data from the sales distribution chain. Without knowing what’s going on in the trenches, even the best-laid plans can get derailed.
Recently, in a conversation with the IT Head of a packaged mineral water business, he mentioned even having one of the largest distribution network, the visibility on outlet-coverage data and SKUs covered per outlet was extremely poor for the teams. The Sales Head and his team felt defeated even with fool-proof sales & marketing campaigns in hand.
After a phase-wise implementation of a sales platform and vigorous product training, their sales team could map over 3.5 lakh outlets and accurately track multiple sales data-points via real-time analytics, like sales volume per outlet, frequency of purchase, outlet churn summary, category-wise outlet performance, etc. In a similar story, the Sales team of another FMCG company was able to cover 89 percent of active outlets with effective beat planning and improved never-visited outlet coverage by 17 percent within months of transitioning to a sales automation platform.
Once you have reliable, authentic market intelligence in your hands, you’ll never have to face this question again.
How can I make retailers my biggest fans?
A critical element of the sales supply chain that underscores your performance is the relationships you have with your retailers. What are you doing for retailers that will make them want to work with you? How are you making sure they are batting for your team rather than your competition?
With market intelligence from your sales solution, you can forge stronger relationships with your retailers and include their growth as your priority. With sales automation platform, one can work with retailers to maximize their profits with faster stock rotation. With historical data analysis, one can reduce their headache of figuring out what to order each time. With granular level data for every region, you can find out exactly which kind of products and SKUs work for which area -because the consumer preferences of MG Road in Raipur will not be the same as MG Road in Bangalore.
If we do a little digging, we will find many success stories where the Sales Reps were able to establish much stronger relationships with Retailers and Key Account Managers in modern trade because they had ready access to stats and figures from the automation app so they could be more efficient and work smarter.
For brands that are swiftly moving towards a multi-channel business model, having the right sales solution can become a game-changer in the long run.
The Future Is Closer Than You Think
With so much already going on in sales automation, it is hard to imagine the possibility of achieving even more capability and efficiency from sales solutions. But imagine a future where we don’t have to ask questions to gain insights into the sales data. Imagine a unified sales platform that gives us all possible functionalities and answers from a single dashboard. Sales automation, Data Analytics, Distribution management system, Retailer Management, etc., all encapsulated in a single platform to give you an integrated, unbroken flow of real-time information.
A future like this is closer than we think. Holistic digitization can help in leveraging supply chain data to use it intelligently and make more impactful decisions. Considering the competitive landscape and on-ground challenges, it is prudent and essential to arm yourself with technology that helps you keep the uninterrupted focus on people, processes, and results. But the question is, are we ready for it?