It is human nature to want to look good, maintain oneself superficially, take care of one’s appearance to overcome age lines or just to unabashedly glow.
As more of us become obsessed with the drive to look beautiful (the cosmetics industry is worth $571.10bn), cosmetics brands are making great strides in product R&D and sales strategies.
Successful cosmetics brands like Lakme, Tresemme, and Neutrogena consider salons critical to their sales efforts because they are perfectly poised to sell cosmetics products. This is because consumers who visit salons do so for a makeover, a haircut or some form of superficial treatment. This necessitates the use of cosmetics during and after the fact and that’s precisely where a well-trained and educated salon staff can push a cosmetics product.
However, despite this, many brands find it challenging to get their products into the right salon and onto consumers. Some of these challenges are –
● Blind onboarding
● Poor conversion
● Range selling failure
● Unsuccessful product launch
● …and more!
These difficulties need to be overcome with the help of technology and human effort, working in conjunction. This blog post aims to expand on these solutions so that you are able to avoid the pitfalls associated with selling to salons.
Problems While Selling to Salons (And Solutions)
- Ineffectual research and blind onboarding
Compatibility is paramount in brand-salon relationships in B2B sales. A brand must offer something that is valuable to the customer and at the same time, the customer must be able to push the brand’s products to the consumer for a successful route-to-market. This means the product in question must be worth the money, as in, should potentially sell well, and the salon must be well-positioned geographically and ability-wise to sell your product.
The Solution: For this, meticulous attention to detail and extensive research into salons is crucial to come up with a customer persona/profile. Geolocation, demographics, salon type (unisex or gender specific), specialisation of staff, etc. need to be taken into consideration by the brand before forming an accurate profile. Once sales reps capture these data from their visits, it’s up to the brand to analyse and decide which salons best align with their salon profile. Once that’s confirmed, your sales reps can go ahead and onboard the chosen as potential customers. Those best-suited to your brand/product will be the ones ready to embrace your product’s differentiators and push them successfully to consumers.
- Poor lead conversion rate
It’s easy and straightforward to create a list of salons as leads to follow through. It is the actual conversion process where the challenge lies, as it requires effective pipeline management, and the right tools to facilitate this. Elements like inefficient sales execution, inadequate training, and a lack of product knowledge can adversely affect the demo and negotiation process, hampering conversion.
The Solution: A well-crafted pipeline management tool will not only assist the sales rep and beauty technician on the field, but also offer invaluable insights to sales managers to quickly identify and handle issues with a pipeline. This tool needs to be designed keeping in mind field teams and operate in a manner that meets the niche requirements of the lead conversion process for salons. It must also enable sales reps and beauty technicians to collaborate, communicate, and in turn, co-schedule salon visits for demos.
Co-scheduling of sales reps and beauty technicians is a matter of much importance as in the case of cosmetics, verbally pitching your product isn’t enough. A practical demonstration is crucial to acquiring new customers and that’s where beauty technicians come in.
Note that a pipeline management system that accurately assists with acquisition heightens conversion rates, present and future. With zero-drop lead management, cutting edge platforms remind brands or sales people to reconnect with unconverted leads. Nothing is deliberately left to chance. Managers can also monitor behavioural, educational, and other factors that affect the sales process, giving them both transparency and power to weigh in when needed. Combining these with timely training and product knowledge for field teams on the app makes a world of difference to successful conversion efforts.
- Range selling takes a backseat
Selling one product is good but actual success comes when salons buy a range of products from you. This is where many cosmetics brands miss the mark, either out of complacency or simply, a lack of persuasion. Issues with range selling can originate from an information deficiency, manual order placement (limiting upselling or cross selling opportunities) or inadequate scheme use.
Until most or all of your products are out there, you won’t get the ROI you expect from your products. Naturally, this makes range selling an unavoidable factor for consumerism in the cosmetics industry.
The Solution: One of the best ways to enable salons to buy in range from you is digital ordering. Give them an application that allows them to place online orders with you and also draws their attention towards your products in the form of order recommendations and attractive schemes encouraging cross selling and upselling. This will provide more visibility to salons on what’s up for sale while making ordering significantly easier. The more your customer is at ease, the better your chances at selling a larger range. In the same vein, auto-application of schemes is an excellent and effective tactic to sell your product range.
Brands can also associate or giveaway reward points for the purchase of certain products. This can act as a major incentive for salons to buy from you, thus expanding the order basket with a larger range and bringing in more revenue.
- Product launch failure
Your brand is evolving, one innovation at a time. Be it a new shampoo or a skincare product, you go great lengths to meet consumer demand. Naturally, you will be introducing new products from time to time, improving upon what’s already in the market. But unless you can convince salons of how a new product is going to take the market by storm or educate them about its standout features, you might as well not try.
The Solution: Keeping your customers/salons informed about new launches and product features is paramount to consistently good sales. Communicating benefits and special deals is a potent way of doing it. An advanced sales enablement platform can ensure this with the help of educational multimedia, attract attention with lucrative schemes that push cross selling and upselling, and generate order recommendations that make new products more apparent. All of these are excellent ways to introduce a product but what’s even better is that they ensure that you are able to drive the customer towards the product you want to push.
- Absence of brand loyalty among salons
Much akin to personal relationships, business relationships suffer from inconsistent interaction or two-way communication between a brand and their customers. For instance, the salon may have complaints or queries regarding your product(s) that need to be addressed. Or maybe your sales reps aren’t doing a good job on their regular visits in terms of keeping the salon interested or wanting for more. Whatever the reason, if your competitor flips this to an advantage for them and does a better job at interacting, salons may stop buying from you and move over to your competition.
The Solution: Keep in touch! Ensure consistent interaction between you and salons. Your sales reps and technicians must proactively help and resolve issues, escalate them when necessary, provide effective demos, and highlight brand values, while you run meaningful loyalty programs that reward salons for performance and association with you.
Loyalty is something that’s earned and for brands, the best way to earn and retain loyalty from salons is offering consistent value. Value here is more than just great products that offer unique consumer experiences but also robust and fair loyalty programs that reward good sales. These points are evidently performance based and salons can redeem them for gift items, discounts, and special deals. Naturally, with such an incentive on the horizon, salons would be more willing to go the extra mile to get your products sold!
Ultimately, loyalty to a brand arises from benefits and communication; a brand that provides both will always retain valuable customers.
Selling To Salons With BeatRoute
BeatRoute is a goal-driven sales enablement platform that helps retail brands achieve their business goals on ground. We bring the brands’ sales teams, distributors, and customers together on a common digital platform and foster deep collaboration between them.
For cosmetics brands, this means empowering sales teams and salons with purpose built workflows which help the brand with conversion as well as post conversion relationship management and revenue generation.
When it comes to sales team enablement, our application bolsters your teams’ abilities with lead pipeline management and post-conversion activities such as ordering, VM audits, inventory management, feedback capture, product introductions, etc. Unlike generic pipeline management, BeatRoute’s workflows are suited for the nuances of the cosmetics industry’s specific conversion process, where sales reps work together with beauty technicians on product demos and acquisition. It enables salon profiling with objective data points such as geolocation, locality information, competitor presence at that salon, demographics which help the brand determine the sales potential of each salon before onboarding them. Furthermore, sales reps can visit salons for audits and in rare cases, problem resolution, and they can use BeatRoute to note down issues and communicate/escalate the same to the concerned people.
Moreover, salons have access to self-ordering, trade schemes and B2B rewards on the salon app, which gives them the ability to collaborate with the brand and the incentive to stay with your brand. The auto-application of your trade schemes boosts your range selling in the long run by giving customers a taste of new offerings.
With BeatRoute, you can also associate rewards with certain products to encourage range selling. For example, let’s say that products A and B sell really well for you but you aren’t seeing much headway when it comes to products C through E. What do you do? You incentivise your customers by rewarding them redeemable points every time they buy C, D, or E or all together. BeatRoute makes this really uncomplicated and effective. Similarly, you can also use BeatRoute to reward loyal and high-performing customers via loyalty programs where they earn special points that they can spend for discounts or gifts; you can configure the loyalty stipulations yourself on our platform.
If you are considering salons as a potential revenue driver for your brand, BeatRoute offers an ideal platform to transform your business strategy into action.
Experience the benefits of our platform firsthand by booking a free demo with us today.