Tag Archives: FMCG

FMCG Processes, Innovation and Practices

Ghost Retail Stores that Sell Your Products

What are ghost Retail stores for an FMCG brand? Well! I am talking about the ones that exist only in your database. For various reasons they crept in over the years. Nobody cared. However times are changing. Need is to increase deeper engagement with point of sales. Sales Directors and their IT partners are out on a hunt to –

•    Weed out the ghost stores
•    Have enriched profile data of retail stores

Some of them are also trying to discover hidden stores at the ground level. Others are also mapping them in context of demographics. Big deal! But then it dawns upon us, we got to reach the bridge before we cross it.

So are we suggesting a magic bullet here. No, but we have hustled enough to create the most robust technology component possible for doing this. Here is a brief on what it is based on-

Self-refreshing Mechanism

It’s really not about having a mobile application that can capture data from the field. With millions of stores out there, what works is having a tool that integrates people and technology with a smart UX/UI. It took our engineers a while to get the most precise GPS capture, but it took equal amount of UX and UI effort from our designers to create a mechanism that is self-sustaining to deliver always current data bank of your retail landscape. A mechanism that ensures store profile enrichment and cleansing on its own.

•    Hiring a field force agency to do a one-time electronic data survey is not a great idea

Profile Completeness and Authenticity

In most populous nations laws are rigid and flexible at the same time. There are all kinds of licenses and lack of it that exists for retail stores. Be clear on your vision of the level of engagement that you want to run in future. The process and tool you use to profile your retail landscape has to support what you want to collect.

•    Keeping a profile completeness score is a good beginning

Continuous Engagement

You just finished a massive exercise to profile your landscape. Guess what, it’s going to be stale very soon, if you did not figure out a process of meaningfully engaging with your retail store data. Once again what is going to produce lasting impact is weaving the data bank with day to day transactions and occasional engagements that ensures completeness, lack of duplicity and richness of your retail landscape data.

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Continue reading Ghost Retail Stores that Sell Your Products

SFA Mobile App – Who’s the biggest Enemy

Well we hate to call it a SFA or Sales Force Automation software but that’s the most popular lingo that the world seems to have been using. What we have put our heart and soul behind is called BeatRoute- mobile app for last mile retail.

SFA or whatever you call it, we can’t decide who/what is the biggest enemy of SFA solution. We will let you decide, but here is our list of the biggest enemies –

1) Poor UI and UX

For mobile application to be used by hundreds of people, it should require only minimal training. A great User Interface and User Experience should drastically minimize the training requirement. On the contrary given that sales teams, which are remotely located and go through reasonable churn, a poor UI and UX means considerable or impossible training effort.

2) Mindset of Tracking Human Resources

Check your country’s privacy rules. It might be even illegal. Second check your company policies and value system. It might be a strict no for your company. Let’s make it easy, take our advice and understand that just having a software to track people is only instant gratification. It leads to no real sales. Instead use a software that uses GPS enabled mobile app to track the retail store visits and enables your sales team with intelligent cues.

3) No internet and low internet capabilities

In most developing economies where field sales force in consumer packaged industry has to through low/no signal zones, it becomes mandatory for SFA mobile apps to have offline capabilities. Trust us, nill data connection is rather easier to handle. It is the low internet that kills the user experience. A carefully designed app uses anticipatory fetches of data, compression and many other technology elements to ensure a functioning application.

New-age Territory Manager – 5 Traits

A new age Territory Manager does the same old 5 things in a completely different way. –

(1)          Territory Planning

*     Spends at least a day in the month in meticulously reviewing his territory with the help of a map driven tool to ensure routes are efficiently defined and are realistically possible to cover in a day.

*     Keeps a watch on newly added stores and realigns routes/beats and their schedules based on class of store

(2)          Associated Beat Visits

*     Uses data analytics to uncover routes and stores with downward sales trend and makes his associated sales visits with sales reps meaningful

*     Makes use data and technology to sensitize the sales reps towards significance of beat schedules and varied frequency of visits to different class of stores

(3)          Market Feedback

*     Uses tools to analyze sales, productivity and competitor related data and acts like an ear to area and regional managers

(4)          Distributor Connect

*     Sets appropriate objective for each distributor visit by analyzing distributor’s performance on category sales, credit history and fulfillment performance

*     Uses technology to ensure that distributor’s feedback and grievances are heeded to by one and all

(5)          Team Rigor

*    Does not focus on GPS tracking of his team members. Uses technology to focus on tracking the market. Only focusses on effective Total Calls and Productive Calls numbers

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Take Care of your Product Promoters

Salesforce Management- Our advisory panel is smart and experienced bunch of folks from some of the best technology and business schools of India and have put in years at some of the most respected international brands in FMCG and Consumer Durables space. Yet we keep talking about the decade old basics. And we keep coming to a conclusion that we have got to do an even simpler implementation of those basics in or product. We call it BeatRoute – Mobile app for last mile retail.

Talk about promoters and we say…just take care of them. Absolutely…they are closest to the consumer and they got to be happy and spirited set of boys and girls.

Easy things that technology delivers:

• Ensuring they reach stores on time. No Proxy. Well groomed.
• Getting them to report sales offtake and even validate that
• Getting them to report pre-merchandizing and post-merchandizing shelf display
• Ensuring agency gets paid on actual promoter hours spent on the store

Invaluable things that technology delivers:

• Making them feel one of our own even when they come from an agency by taking care of their life cycle
• Establishing a believable fair mechanism of compensation and incentive calculation
• Instant release of their incentives and recognition of their achievements
• Invoke competitive spirit that is latent in every human being Continue reading Take Care of your Product Promoters

Guaranteed Sales Force Effectiveness (SFE)

Sales teams are usually one of the largest group of employees in any company, they handle the Sales Force Management System. Top it with the fact that this is the group of people who is closest to the customer. It’s a no brainer that companies seek to have a very effective sales force to leave a direct impact on revenues.

BeatRoute delivers Sales Force Management Effectiveness through innovative software design –

Planning by SFE Metrics

Each member of the sales force from top to bottom can be planned as per key SFE metrics. BeatRoute allows configurability to setup these metrics for each company.

On-the-ground Rigor by SFE Metrics

Field force continuously gets to know how far they are from their sales execution plan and performance. Use of technology keeps front line Salesforce and their manager in sync with each other and real-time measurement of key performance metrics.

Analysis by SFE Metrics

Backend analysis and role based actionable reports facilitate measurement of sales force effort by key performance metrics.

Concept of role based KRA and Sales Force Effectiveness is deeply embedded in BeatRoute’s design. Use of technology makes it possible for companies to drive a culture of excellence in their sales teams. Continue reading Guaranteed Sales Force Effectiveness (SFE)

5 Points to Ponder about Sales Force Automation for Secondary and Tertiary Sales

1) Sales Training Automation

If you thought you are going to call the field users in a classroom from every far-off territory to train, it’s not going to work. Repeating that for newly joined resources is even more impractical. The software platform that you choose has to come bundled with a mechanism to

  • A) propagate training through the sales network hierarchy itself
  • B) access to multi-media reference material within the mobile app


2) Sensitivity to End User Experience

Keep it simple – Make a clear distinction between functionality that is core to your goals and functionality that appears fancy or nice-to-have. Remember your objective from this automation is field force productivity, order fulfillment, increasing no of stores and great shelf display. Given the skill level of field force in most countries and the high attrition rate, keeping the mobile app functionality simple is crucial to success.

User Interface – Life in the field for sales personnel is challenging. It’s fast paced. Automation is to make it faster. A poorly designed application interface might act as a speed breaker and not be seen by a field force as a friendly tool. On the other hand, a cleverly designed app with business process context awareness will be seen as an enabler.


Robust Technology – We all know out there in the streets, basements and country side, low cellphone signals or no signal is part of life. No buffering, no stoppage of mobile app functioning is the basic thumb rule. If you cannot guarantee this, do not automate.


3) Real time Field User Support

Irrespective of how robust the software is, field users need to be able to call and get support. High turnover and skill levels make real time telephonic support a must for ensuring sustained adoption levels and success.


4) Engaging Platform

A lot of field force automation is about enabling processes, which do not have direct accounting impact. For such software to succeed, it has to offer value to the end user at every point of interaction and more importantly, it has to engage the users with insightful information and lure them into using the platform more and more. Remember a networking platform such as Liked-in offers value in every interaction but is mostly the platform itself that keeps pulling us back on to it and make those interactions possible.


5) Don’t Ignore the Handheld Device Matters


Device Size-Smartphone size is the most handy for a field force. Don’t use a phablet or a tablet to compensate for a poorly designed app interface. Bigger devices make sense only when field force has a very strong need for running multi-media on the same device.


Field Testing-In addition to ensuring on-paper specifications of OS, Memory, Connectivity, GPS etc, do make sure chosen device model is field tested. Manufacturers do tend to tweak the OS that might conflict with a few of your app functionalities. Field testing is also a way to be sure about batter life.


Remote Device Management- Mobile app platform that you choose should come with in-built device management and monitoring features. For elaborate application access and data control, it should come bundled with MDM software features.


Device Procurement Policy- Different companies find different policies suiting their environment and HR policies. Some opt for fixed reimbursement to field sales personnel and let employees purchase the device of their choice, others fully fund it. Make sure a clear decision is made about this up front. Continue reading 5 Points to Ponder about Sales Force Automation for Secondary and Tertiary Sales