The Value of Data Visibility in Modern Route to Market (RTM)

The things that give an organization strong competitive edge are What it knows, How it uses what it knows and How fast it knows things – Larry Prusak (1996).The things that give an organization strong competitive edge are What it knows, How it uses what it knows and How fast it knows things – Larry Prusak (1996).

Winning in a highly competitive and sensitive sector like sales is no longer measured by the level of human resource and infrastructure deployed in the market. Especially for the CPG industry, where consumer behaviour constantly changes especially in recent times, thanks to technology and how it is influencing consumer choices.

The quality and timing of decisions plays a huge role in determining sales performance. In the past, the need for improved visibility had been driven not only by improved decision making but also a subtle desire to micromanage and spy on the sales team.

This approach in many cases has not been productive, and usually results in a dispirited workforce looking only to game the system instead of delivering the much-needed numbers.

Let me be very clear: if your goal for improving sales visibility is to spy on your sales team, then you have no business being in business

A good sales visibility system should primary help improve business process, people, and decisions. It should help the sales team manage time, understand results, predict future results, and improve their process in hopes of improving performance. The more clearly and quickly they can see these metrics, the better information they will have, and the more they can do with that information.

Irrespective of how good your sales operation is, every sales organisation generates some form of data. Some also rely on market research data first to try to validate its own records and glean competitive and comparative insights from competitors. It is on this premise that a lot of its decisions are based but the questions remain:

  • What is the quality of the data?
  • How much insight can be unearthed from this data?
  • Is there room for improvement?
  • Can we deepen our datapoints and aggregation capability?

CRM’s, ERP’s and Distribution Management solutions have contributed immensely to improved data collections and reporting for most businesses, giving rise to the emerging SalesTech industry- a name given to the tech industry that focuses on improving tools, enhancing efficiency, and visibility across the sales industry.

The ability to harness active data (provided by a user) and passive data (collected without asking the user for it, e.g. GPS, weather, date-time stamps, traffic and more) has helped uncover patterns, relationships and more sales drivers for teams in recent times. We are slowly coming to the end of the “spray and pray” approach to growing market share. The market is switching to a more insight-based decision architecture where most decisions are in fact driven by data and analytics.

We now live in a time where a salesman’s daily journey plan is continuously improved for weather, traffic, and outlets daily cashflow cycle. Emeka, a VSR now knows that turning up at Giftee stores at 4PM would lead to 35% more sales.

Adeola, a sales man can now complete his visits with a single VAN load because instead of relying solely on sales target for his loading, he now has the advantage of near accurate prediction of the buying capabilities of all the outlets he is calling at.

Andrew, the territory manager knows that sales men who start their calls at 8:30AM have a 76% chance of meeting their daily sales target and that upselling outlets that bought premium cereal with skimmed milk has a 94% success rate. 

Ibrahim, a regional manager can see growth opportunities and how to unlock them, augment shipment to his distributors and enjoy the ability to see the entirety of his sales pipeline – at both a granular and zoomed-out level.

To know which opportunities, exist at different levels of the sales pipeline, understand market exposures and forecasting results with a high degree of certainty is one of the most valuable improvement, data visibility brings to any sales operation.

However, integrating all these discrete tools, systems and data silos is still a challenge for most businesses especially in fragmented emerging markets with its peculiarities.

If I have learned anything in my many years of deploying and supporting SalesTech solutions, is that most sales transformation projects fail because it’s usually perceived as a spying expedition instead of a performance enhancement endeavour. Getting rid of administrative excesses associated with the selling process and operations is a sure way to get the sales executive to focus on what really matters- “Selling”.

So many tools have been adopted and a lot more jettisoned while the real problem persists. Experts have proven that success in this field stands on three core pillars. People, Systems and Process but often times the system takes the blame for an ill-designed process run by poorly trained resources.

To understand the right mix of CRM, ERP, TELEMATIC and SALES AUTOMATION solutions and how best to deploy them, what set of datapoint to capture, track, report, compare, flag and present requires the support of a transformation expert. No matter where you are in this journey, as a business it is always smart to leverage the learning from others, industry best practices and local terrain knowledge to get to your result sooner than later.

Making sense of data is currently driving competitiveness in most markets. Unearthing the insight locked in historical data and leveraging this in predicting future trends is one sure way of staying competitive in a fast-evolving marketplace.

Final thoughts:

If your CPG business is desirous of unlocking growth in sales by driving data visibility or in need of transforming your route to market using technology, Excite Panacea is that sure partner with over 10years experience in deploying and supporting SalesTech solutions within the region. Our team of experts and terrain knowledge would surely be an asset. Take advantage of our free consulting and advisory service today!

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