Digitisation of sales processes and data has been touted as the way for FMCG companies to break down channel silos and finally deliver the promise of a true omnichannel strategy. Although digitising specific elements and scaling them across channels is a must, it is not sufficient. As with any transformation, the critical step is upgrading skills & processes to support the change and embed it in the organisation. It is therefore not just about technology & tools but also about onboarding commercial teams and partners in the larger ecosystem to drive and amplify results.
What does “sales digitisation” mean in FMCG? Traditional face-to-face in-store sales and remote interactions with business partners are becoming very effective elements of the same toolkit. A blended approach is gaining momentum for manufacturers and retailers, especially in communication, branding and market education. But there are also more opportunities. In addition to bilateral communication, there are many more sales processes that digitisation can make possible or enhance. People at the point of sale (shoppers, POS personnel such as store managers, barkeepers, pharmacists or hairdressers for instance) can be onboarded and take part in a self-service model. This covers merchandising activities, Perfect Store execution, order taking, contract monitoring, shelf check with Image Recognition and many others.
DELIVERING A SUCCESSFUL DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION INITIATIVE
Finding the right piece of software is usually just the tip of the iceberg. Digital transformation requires a solid mix of methodology and agility. Here are the steps we see as essential to drive such an initiative:
- Design the framework around the service and its role in that context.
- Define clear objectives with measurable success criteria.
- Assess and select the tools and service providers that meet your expectations from a functional & capabilities point of view.
- Run the project & support stakeholders throughout the transition, explaining before, during & after the project what this change is meant to bring & what it means for each and every stakeholder. This, together with step 6 is crucial in embedding the change in the organization.
- Involve business partners in sync with your field sales teams, leveraging remote collaboration tools to increase the frequency & quality of execution.
- Calibrate expectations by communicating your plan for iterations and adjustments of processes based on feedback and real-life conditions.
DOES DIGITISATION PAY OFF IN THE FMCG INDUSTRY?
Digitisation brings in a breath of fresh air into the consumer goods Go-to-Market models. It enables you to act faster and at a larger scale to improve the quality of your execution and build a holistic view of the market across channels. It helps to solve problems like limited impact on shelf conditions, late response to urgent problems that cause a loss in revenue or challenging cooperation with stores & personnel. Digitisation also helps overcome frequency and coverage limitations, drive sales excellence and speed up time-consuming processes. It is a proven way to amplify the impact of your teams without having to increase headcount.