Businesses today have reached a level where in they need to find new avenues of growth. In finding this new line of business, a lot of professional adopt various go to market strategy. Entering any sphere whether it is new product that is being launched for the market, entry into new town, moving into a new channel, venturing into new modes of innovative distribution; needs a lot of study and analysis. I am presenting a synergized understanding in this. Most of the companies are following this and most are not. For all those who are following this may contribute in small ways to further align the business and some of whom are not able to make it even after putting a lot of effort, this could act as a catalyst.
If it cannot be mapped, it cannot be tapped.
Companies have outstanding products. They invest a lot of time, money and effort to make a product. Once the product is made, they appoint the team from the Biz Head, Zonal Manager, ASM, SO, TSI etc. The team appoints the CFA and builds the distribution channel (DC). Then the billing happens to the distributor and then it is put into retail. There are initial successes that are achieved but over a period of time, when the offtake/tertiary gets stuck in the market, things start to change. Suddenly a situation is reached where the same promising product that looked to have a lot of potential fails.
Never ever be camouflaged, with the beautiful distribution channel that a sales team can build. Before moving into the market, they have to map the entire channel.
- Before appointing the distributor (DB), the evaluation of distribution has to be done. This is the first stage. It is not the DB is appointed and the billing is done. Map the distributor
- His worthiness in the market
- His zeal towards the product
- His business understanding
- His willingness to move with the company for a long time.
When we start putting these points into practice, we note that the sales team finds appointing DB difficult. A good distributor is the one who question a lot, put pressure of volumes on the sales team and keeps the management abreast with the development in the market
- Next map the market
- Which outlet
- Why this outlet
- Retailer Engagement
This is the most critical stage. This is the stage where most of the good companies are unable to understand why the sale team is unable to get success. Companies come to the conclusion that it is the fault of the sales team and they start firing them. The new team comes and meets same fate. If this has to end, then getting the right candidate for the job is very important, means, you have to pay more. As the very old saying goes, if you throw peanuts you will only get monkey. Quality comes at a cost and very good quality comes at a premium. Get good people, people who can think and contribute and complete the mapping. Mapping will show you the actual blue print of what is the most probable striking rate.
Mapping shows the path and once the patch is clear, you start tapping. This is basically called implementation, but with a difference. Tapping means you don’t simply go and place the product, you work in line with what has been mapped, in sync with the business objective of the company in that store/outlet.
- You know how much you get out of the outlet
- You know the involvement of the retailers
- You know what marketing you have to do
A good mapping makes tapping easier and chances of success becomes higher.
If you have mapped and then tapped the outlet and still the objective is not achieved than you have to adapt. Adapting means understanding why the output of the outlet is not in line with the objective.
- Note that if you are not achieving the business objective, everywhere then the strategy that has been developed in incorrect. This has to be redone again.
- It could be also because the team has not been able to tap the market well.
- However if the plan is successful in most of the outlets, but it is not working in some, then it could be due to uniqueness of the outlet.
- Never be afraid to withdraw from the outlet that is not working, no matter how important it is. It is very important to develop outlets that are doing well, rather than putting oil on ashes, they will never create fire. Keep on visiting these outlets
Whatever I have said above is just a tip of the iceberg. A lot more can be developed on this and can be implemented. But the above are some of the very critical things to be followed, if success is a must achieve for you.
Over the past so many years into the business of sales, it being noted that it is today’s sales professional along with having knowledge in sales need to be acquainted with marketing as well.
FMCG – Foods Professional
Business Consulting, Change Management, Sales Management and Motivation