Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, consumer demand and consumption patterns have been dramatically impacted. According to McKinsey, 75% of consumers have changed their shopping behaviors in 2020.
In addition to normal restraints caused by the pandemic, consumer goods companies were forced to shift their commercial strategies to meet changing consumer behaviors and assure that distributors and retailers were evolving to keep pace.
As 2021 moves on and uncertainty remains, CG companies must prepare their brands, sales reps and channels to withstand the next “new normal” thrown their way.
Sales and marketing teams collaborating
The success of a CG brand is highly dependent on the ability of sales and marketing teams to optimize the 4-Ps (price, product, promotion and placement) to respond to changing consumer dynamics. If you’re relying on past consumer behavior, which is no longer a clear predictor of the future, and not prepared to proactively react to any market situation, then your CG brand will fall behind your competitors.
One way to improve the efficiency and prepare your business for the future is adopting a sales enablement solution.
Content is king, Engagement is Queen
Sellers need to have the right content in order to fuel conversations with distributors and retailers. This could be information about the latest consumer trends, new product launches, new campaigns and promotions. At the same time, marketers need to be sure that the right content is being used — on-brand and on-time — without overburdening the core marketing team with customization requests.
A sales enablement solution puts all the marketing materials at the sellers’ fingertips so they don’t waste their time searching for the right content, recreating content that already exists. Interactive presentations and content can be provided to help sellers pivot the conversation not to what the seller wants to push, but where the buyer wants to take the conversation and the outcomes which can be driven. Customization can be enabled and controlled, making endless ad-hoc requests of marketing a thing of the past.
Moreover, marketing can create promotional workspaces for sellers, to bring new campaigns, offers, placements and product offerings top-of mind, assuring alignment, that sellers are executing the right strategies and having the right conversations.
With the right content and enablement platform, sellers can strategically present the right content and pivot appropriately to help distributor and retail customers understand consumer changes and have the right products to meet evolving demands.
Understanding consumer behavior is essential to success. Many CG companies conduct their own proprietary trends research, and license data from information providers, in order to form a picture of how to optimize the 4Ps and advise distributor and retail customers how to succeed.
The challenge is how to enable sellers to leverage these important insights and analytics with each unique customer without having the marketing or analyst group preparing custom presentations and being involved in each presentation.
With the right sales enablement platform you can automatically leverage these insights and data in presentations that automatically update with the latest metrics. One step further, the data can be leveraged in interactive tools that allow you to pivot the data and present custom analytics — automatically detecting the store being visited to present sales data, the ability to change product mix, placement, price and promotions to play what-if scenarios (including competitive comparisons), and most importantly determine the impact on revenue and profitability.
Knowing what works best and what doesn’t
Most CG marketers are flying blind, unfortunately, not knowing which content and tools sellers are presenting and sharing (unless they hear anecdotal feedback from sellers), or what customers are leveraging to help make buying decisions. As a result, it can take critical months to know whether a new campaign, promotion or product launch is successful or not. In a time of dramatic change, you can’t evolve to succeed without visibility.
A sales enablement platform tracks how every piece of content is used, shared and consumed. Marketers can clearly see how specific campaigns and initiatives are adopted. The right campaigns and content can be amplified, shortfalls triaged, and future content and campaign investments optimized. Integrating with CRM, the right sales enablement platform can even go one step further, telling marketers exactly which content is actually moving the needle to drive more business.
Enhancing indirect sellers’ toolset
CG companies not only have to give their direct sellers the tools they need to succeed but also their indirect sellers. According to a Forrester study commissioned by Mediafly, more than a third (38%) of CG partner sellers don't have the resources needed to hold data-driven conversations and 35% of those sellers can’t personalize their sales discussion to align with buyer needs.
With almost half (49%) of typical revenue coming from indirect sales, indirect sellers can leverage sales enablement to similarly enhance their sales presentations, deliver data driven conversations and advice and grow relationships with buyers.
The bottom line
One thing that the current crisis taught us: the ability to anticipate and be prepared for change is the essential factor for success. We may not be able to predict the future or when the next pandemic will come along; however, empowering marketing to promote insights, analytics and content so that the 4Ps can be optimized, and giving all your sellers the tools they need to better pivot conversations, inspire change and drive distribution and retailer success, ensures your company can experience superior growth regardless of what is thrown your way.