After a relaxing seasonal break, it is time to shift our focus back to business. Whether this time of the year marks the start, the middle (or any other point for that matter) of your fiscal period, this is a good time to reflect on sales performance to date and what you need to do to get it right. This short article will offer you three tips to help FMCG sales leaders drive more robust performance in 2022.
1. Create & implement the right process
Over the last couple of years, volatility and disruption have become the norm. Shopper behaviour and channel preferences have shifted. Although less likely now, market-wide restrictions have transformed the way consumers shop. Supply chain disruptions, raw material costs, successive waves of the pandemic, and the workforce shortages they bring have limited supply. At the same time, also stress testing -in real-world conditions - price elasticity assumptions. In such a context, it is easy for the field salesperson to feel overwhelmed and even powerless: whenever external factors can be (one of) the reason(s) for not meeting objectives, motivation drops and looking for excuses begins.
Any organisation that prioritises goals only without paying close attention to the quality of the process is bound to lose track of its high-level objectives. It will struggle with low morale when the going gets tough and be periodically blindsided by fundamental flaws in how its sales organisation operates. Defining the right process, supporting it with the right tools and paying close attention to execution in the field, on the other hand, will yield better results more frequently and ensure your salesforce is motivated and empowered to act.
2. Ensure target visibility
With the right process in place, the next thing your sales teams need is visible, well-defined targets with up-to-date tracking available to them. Moreover, it should provide the level of granularity they are comfortable with to illustrate a possible path to success. Some people need to break down their overall objective into smaller elements to understand and convince themselves that the target is indeed achievable. Others prefer to work with the overall goal and figure out their own way. Both can be incredibly valuable salespeople, and it’s important to give them the information they need and provide the tools to track their own progress so they can be successful.
3. Align incentives with goals
The third key ingredient to drive success for the organisation is to ensure incentives reflect the company’s goals from top to bottom in the sales organisation. With high-level objectives translated into specific goals at the right level and supported with the right processes, rewards (not just money and perks but also recognition and career development) should be awarded for the right outcomes and doing things the right way. This lends substance to gamification efforts by creating a set of compelling and more meaningful reasons to achieve goals and win.
What is worth remembering?
In short, if you want to make your retail execution strategy work and generate the right impact, you need to make sure your field teams can follow the proper process. They must understand the high-level objectives and how they can contribute to them, and what success will mean for them as teams and individuals.