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Predictable Profitability in the food and beverage sector

New Zealand is renowned for its enviable record as a “food basket” economy, with eight of our top exports coming from our primary, food and beverage sectors. But let’s be honest, business is increasingly complex and tough for the great New Zealand businesses who import, manufacture and export food and beverage products.

You already have a great brand and hire great people, but do you really have a technology platform that enables them to be at their best in each part of your value chain? If you found yourself saying no, this whitepaper is for you! It focuses on what technology can do in each part of your business to manage risk, make your sales team more successful and productive, drive cost out of your supply chain, and achieve operational excellence. All are critical elements of your business that can deliver more predictable margins and improved profitability.

How can you get your sales team spending 25% more time with customers, and a focus on order making, not taking? Does it annoy you when you see your sales team filling up valuable desks in the office while your competitors are busy chatting with your customers? Why is this happening?

In our experience, this is a consequence of the workflow imposed by management on these sales people:

  • Spending hours each week accounting for what they have done, and where they see the next sale coming from, with manual reporting
  • Key systems supporting the sales cycle are not available in the field, or the in-field experience with these systems are poor
  • The need to ensure that orders are placed and any issues are resolved means internal work managing client orders, resulting in more lost productivity

You might even find your best reps undertaking high value analysis that actually helps them sell more (more on this later)…

What are the risks of this old model? Good sales people like to be successful and productive but if your systems don’t allow this, your competitors might, and worse still, they might leave with their little black diary and take your customers with them.

Your sales team can be a well-oiled engine if you give your staff tools and processes that make them productive and effective. Your clients will notice the difference. One of the best side compliments we have received was this comment from a client of one of our clients: “We knew they must have a good process and CRM system when a brand new rep turned up and knew exactly what was agreed and discussed three months back with the old rep”.

This also means the little black diary is now a business asset, not something that walks over to the competition!

What are the best practices for productivity and customer engagement?

Technology by itself won’t transform your business, but the intelligent use of technology to support your business strategy can. Here is a short list of what technology can do for you:

  • Enable reps to be mobile and work where they need to, when they need to
  • Ensure that all information related to the customer is presented to them in real time, with no phone call or visits to the office required
  • Where practical, allow orders to be made by the reps with the customers alongside them, or potentially via online web ordering by the customers
  • Help sales people sell with insight. If they have visibility of a customer’s product mix, and likely margins versus a similar retailer, they can change the conversation and become a really valuable advisor to the store manager… becoming an order “maker” and growing your revenue

Technology can provide value back to your sales team and enterprise by allowing:

  • Real-time tracking of sales results and commission
  • Embedded mapping capability that provides context, for instance colour coding big spenders, or a client with reducing order values, or showing a store that has not been visited recently… all helping them use any downtime on the road effectively
  • Mechanisms for your now dispersed sales team to share competitive intelligence or product insights using social tools
  • The use of new predictive analytics based on the correlation between sales actions and successful orders in the system, then using the system to ‘prod’ your sales person with a “next best action” to close an order

And of course, this is all supported by highly targeted marketing that allows you to tie investment in your brands to your sales results.

“[our CRM-based field sales solution] Blue Note has been received by the team with genuine excitement. One sales person summed up the general mood by saying, “It gives me heaps more time in my day.” CIO – PGG WRIGHTSON

If you’re facing these challenges and know it’s time for change download our food and beverage industry whitepaper now, or reach out to us so we can help you in your journey from good to great. More predictable profitability awaits you - let us help you by delivering tomorrow’s business advantage today!

Posted by: Steve Scarbrough, General Manager Business Applications | 19 June 2017

Tags: mobility, data insights, Food and Beverage

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