FMCG companies are dealing with millions of retailers as their potential customers in a large geographical landscape. They have to ensure that their sales representatives are able to cater to these shops at a defined frequency and their distributor is able to align their supplies at an optimized logistics cost in the lowest possible lead time. In order to ensure this, GPS-based intelligent scheduling and route adherence become an important lever to achieve route optimization. For consumer goods companies where delivery & sales beats don’t have to sync, intelligent scheduling means to have smart nudges from the salesman app to schedule specific stores.
Let’s have a look at how intelligent scheduling workflows can help retail teams –
- Intelligent Route Planning – In terms of territory management, there are multiple variables like time taken at a shop, category of the shop, visit frequency, the distance between shops, opening hours, and no of operational days that come into the picture. All these constraints have to be taken into account to come at a schedule that the sales team will follow. This exercise of scheduling is not a static exercise as with distributor’s territory realignment, change in sales team strength & new distributor addition – Scheduling needs to be readjusted. So in order for Sales managers to come up with a schedule, they need to have intelligent scheduling workflows at their disposal for them to stay on top.
- Contextual Scheduling – In certain consumer goods companies where delivery is not a constraint – Sales team can visit their customer any day based on the chance of getting order, or extracting other favorable outcomes from specific stores. In such cases contextual scheduling helps the sales team to decide which customers to add to the visit plan apart from their regular planned outlets. BeatRoute enables brands to do this via CuesBOT, which is an intelligent nudging tool within BeatRoute. These contextual nudges can be customized to trigger based on lowering sales in some outlets, missed visits, order cycle, last order size as compared to usual order size and other seasonality behaviours. These CuesBOT notifications in the sales app can help salesman to alter his schedule on the go in order to optimise for his productivity.
- Scheduling Adherence – There are mainly three things that a salesman needs to do on their route – Check & report closing stock, take orders, ensure shelf visibility & fill in any survey/campaign relevant to that shop. If companies don’t have a way of ensuring whether the visit was made in person, there is no way to ensure the authenticity of the outcome for any of these activities. The solution to this problem is ensuring GPS-based route adherence through GPS geofenced activities. Certain activities based on activity type can be locked to be executed at the location only.
- Sales Team Attendance – Large FMCG companies have a sales workforce that tends to report directly to their sales beat or distributor’s point. Rarely does the sales or marketing team report to the regional office. The goal of ensuring attendance is to make sure that all the customers in the beat are visited in time, with geofencing-based route adherence sales managers will have visibility on percentage adherence, route taken, shops visited, and time spent at the shop with check-in/checkout functionality. Sales team behavior can be shaped by taking all these data points into account with BeatRoute’s gamification-based approach where certain key behavioral indicators are rewarded and every salesman has a scorecard on the basis of key input activities.
- Salesman travel & Distributor logistics cost – Optimize your market coverage and utilize resources efficiently for your sales and distribution operations with the help of our Route planning software that is designed specifically for retail industry use cases. Companies who have worked with BeatRoute’s suite of solutions have been able to increase sales productivity, and revenue per retail store & reduce the cost of field sales operations. For a specific case study on these success cases, please reach out to our team.
- Visit Notes – Salesmen have the option of recording if there is something specific about customer interaction to help with their next visit in the app itself. This helps to drive the adoption of using the SFA tool right at the time of visiting customers, instead of using the traditional pen & paper style and managers giving route-specific printouts to the team.
- Shop-specific SKUs – These days brands have started using machine learning tools to generate MSL/FSL/NPD SKUs specific to the shop based on propensity models. So a salesman has to use an SFA app before making a call in order to customize his sales pitch which includes these SKUs particular to the shop he is taking orders from. A large part comes from the habit of taking orders from the SFA app – because otherwise, the sales team will miss talking about these shop-specific custom SKUs. GPS geofenced billing mandate helps to ensure this as well.
BeatRoute has designed retail industry-specific workflows that you can pick, configure and adapt within a few days & start reaping full benefits by integrating with your other systems. To know more about how you can utilize BeatRoute’s individual workflows such as Route optimization, GPS-based adherence, AI powered CuesBOT for contextual scheduling and Customer profiling, please book a free demo from here.