Integrate the Consumer Goods Route-to-Market to Accelerate Growth

Learn how consumer goods technology optimizes everything from account planning to incentives.
June 04, 2021. 8 MIN READ

The COVID-19 pandemic was a catalyst for permanent changes in consumer shopping behaviors. Consumers today now navigate between multiple physical and digital touchpoints to buy and sell goods, which impacts everybody on the value chain from distributors to retailers.

Consumer goods (CG) companies need to navigate a complex route-to-market as they choose how and where to sell their products to the end-consumer. Teams face increased pressure and scrutiny from leadership to better allocate trade spend.

To meet customer needs and accelerate growth, CG companies must create clear connections across the entire value chain — from account planning to field execution — in an omni-channel way. When CG companies have access to high-quality, usable data, they can automate workstreams and collaborate across teams while staying close to both key accounts and long-tail customers. This integration is key to maximizing brand relevancy and smarter distribution.

The right digital tools will empower CG companies to strengthen their trade planning and execution strategies. This guide will teach you how Salesforce can help you integrate the route-to-market across account management, field execution, B2B commerce and service, and channel incentive programs.

Improve account planning and management

Learn how to fuel stronger alignment and drive collaboration with customers to increase growth.

Your company needs to know which customers drive the most traction and growth for your business — whether they are a national account manager for the biggest retail chain in the world or a regional business development manager working with neighborhood outlets in their territory.

Salesforce Consumer Goods Cloud is a single platform that aggregates your customer data across legacy systems and third-party sources. All data is consolidated on one platform for a 360-degree view of your customers. Here’s how that helps your sales team improve account planning and management.

50% of CG companies are highly likely to invest in integration of customer data with other systems (enterprise resource planning, supply chain risk management, etc.) over the next two years to support its customer experience strategy.

Understand account standing and health at a glance

With a single source of truth, sales teams have easy access to real-time, granular data. They can dynamically assign accounts to the right customer segments based on activities and outcomes. This segmentation provides clarity into account potential so that your teams can determine the right engagement strategies and allocate trade dollars accordingly.

And, when you track planned and past sales activities and agreements in one place, you get a real-time model of account health, a view of your run-rate business, and guidance on next steps. This view enables you to identify accounts that are trailing behind your forecasts.

Turn sales reps into brand advisors

Sales reps can analyze category and SKU mix performance tied to each account as well as past sales information, upcoming promotions, and syndicated data associated with individual store locations. Based on this data, they can make strategic recommendations, stay proactive in their customer relationships, and devise mutually beneficial joint business plans.

Spend trade dollars intelligently

Trade promotions are typically the biggest expense on the income statement after cost of goods sold (COGS). In fact, 15%-25% of a CG company’s gross revenue is spent on trade promotions. Sales reps can use Tableau CRM to conduct a pre-event analysis to visualize data and conduct accurate trade allocations. They can find savings and opportunities to reroute investments elsewhere to drive growth. Without this visibility, CG companies cast too wide of a net for trade dollars with too little ROI.
<25% of a CG company’s gross revenue is spent on trade spend.
See how ABInBev uses a flexible CRM to improve trade promotion management.
Archaic siloed tools and spreadsheets make trade promotions difficult to maintain and measure. Trade promotion solutions need to help sales reps be opportunistic and reactive on top of being able to track the tactical and numerical aspects of promotions. Simplified promotion maintenance, live spreadsheet-like profit and loss (P&L), and adaptive trade calendars transform trade promotion management from an administrative task to a helpful selling tool.

Enhance field execution to drive revenue

CG leaders say 52% of their merchandising and marketing plans aren’t executed as intended in stores. That means of the $200 billion spent in the U.S. annually on these activities, $104 billion is wasted due to poor store and digital execution.

Part of the problem is that many CG companies still rely on spreadsheets, paper trails, and point solutions when field reps visit stores and outlets. That makes it difficult for CG companies to track compliance in real time and use their data to course correct. Here’s how to improve field execution:

Consumer Goods Cloud delivers mobile capabilities to field reps, who generate helpful data for account managers to propose better business plans, including adjustments to execution frameworks on the fly. They can ensure that in-store marketing assets are present or that damaged or missing materials can get replaced in a timely manner. Field reps also have the ability to share digital marketing materials with store managers and educate store personnel on the brand’s products.

Sales reps can also work with channel partners in real time to optimize joint business plans and activate the right brands at different shopper touchpoints. Reps review activities performed by channel partners on behalf of the brand and the data generated from those activities. This level of granularity allows reps to make smarter business decisions.

Consumer Goods Cloud uses automation and artificial intelligence (AI) to streamline the entire field execution process, including auditing shelf availability. Consumer Goods Cloud expedites field execution in the following ways:

  • Generate visit recommendations based on desired business outcomes
  • Direct field reps to the optimal route with embedded geolocation technology
  • Automate the generation of tasks for field reps to preform
  • Use AI to automatically detect planogram metrics like product facings, out-of-stock items, and voids
  • Identify AI-driven next best actions and surface the potential impact on critical metrics

When everyone works off the same platform, sales teams have access to the right data. They can use that data to optimize field rep schedules to visit the stores that need the most support.

Create superior commerce and service experiences

Fifty-six percent of CG companies are highly likely to invest in digital over the next two years to support a customer experience strategy. A state of the art, consumer-grade digital commerce experience can help CG companies balance digital and in-person interactions with their business customers. CG companies that offer a B2B commerce storefront can better serve long-tail customers, which may otherwise bog down employees with routine requests, while offering an always-on channel to meet their needs.

The best digital experiences provide flexibility, transparency, and control to customers. CG companies can evolve their strategies from high-touch to low-touch engagement by offering seamless self-service experiences on a powerful digital commerce platform. Here’s what you can do:

A simple pivot in how you offer digital commerce to your partners can make all the difference. Salesforce B2B Commerce provides a consumer-like digital experience that’s personalized and easy to navigate. Customers and channel partners log in to an authenticated portal to view and select products and place orders that fit their needs — including split shipments and different payment methods. If they choose to automate routine orders, they’ll get an email or text reminder that the next order cycle is coming up.
Make digital commerce collaborative by sharing key information with B2B customers. For example, you can send promotional materials for an upcoming campaign and alert partners of standardized compliance training. Partners can also view data insights to make smarter decisions for their business. With self-service options, including chatbots and knowledge articles, they are able to resolve common issues on their own.

Discover the ways to drive loyalty beyond rational rewards.

Traditional trade marketing tactics tend to focus on offering incentives to channel partners at the highest levels, like large-volume discounts. This works when a global brand wants to increase shelf space at a national retailer, but not when the brand filters down into smaller markets. The same incentives that apply to the large retailer may not work for local stores.

Successful incentive programs generate value for your channel partners and long-tail customers, including mom-and-pop shops, which drive sales for your business. In order to do this, CG companies must offer incentives that show that they really understand their business. Consider these tactics:

Salesforce Loyalty Management and Rebate Management are integrated onto Consumer Goods Cloud so that you can craft tailored incentive programs based on your channel partners’ and long-tail customers’ preferences and buying behaviors.
Complement transactional rewards like volume discounts with incentives that drive desired behaviors and engagement with your brand. These activities may include the ability to earn additional points for completing a training or taking a survey. From a self-service portal, it’s easy for channel partners and long-tail customers to understand their options and redeem their rewards.
Create incentives that drive behaviors and help your channel partners reach corporate responsibility goals. For example, you can enable channel partners to transfer points to support a local food shelter.
Get more loyalty management best practices.

Integrate the route-to-market with Salesforce

The right technology and tools improve account planning, field execution, and channel partner relationships. When you integrate the route-to-market, you can plan, execute, and service customers in a way that nurtures business growth and increases customer and partner satisfaction. With Salesforce, everyone has the information they need to distribute goods in a customer-centric way, maximize engagement, and personalize the buying experience at scale.

Integrate the Route-to-Market with Salesforce

Learn how to:
  • Plan, execute, and service B2B customers
  • Drive business growth and collaboration
  • Give field reps tools to increase productivity

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