The sales force has gradually become a key component of the “Revenue Growth Management” strategy.
Currently, the business evolution has opened the door for a real change in the role of the sales force. They are not only the middle men between producers, retailers, and shoppers anymore, their roles and responsibilities have been deeply transformed.
For us, today, a well-organized sales force touches 2 fundamental dimensions of marketing strategy: Building brand equity and protecting the sales price.
Brand equity finds its ultimate activation at the point of sales (or point of contact) with the shopper or the customer. There are many limitations nowadays on what can be activated at POS. But ultimately the intimate conversation between a shopper and the product happens there. All the efforts put into building a brand could be jeopardized by a poor execution. Here the role of the sales force is critical: Not only ensuring availability but also a quality execution of the “picture of success”, as defined by the marketing strategy. This means, not only executing but also, really understanding the marketing strategy and its consequences at the point of sales.
A consequence of that critical execution is the management of the sales price. You can only claim a certain value if your product or service touches the customer well, with all its key components. Price reflects the value perception of the retailers and the shoppers. It positions yourself, vis a vis the competition and the client. Price setting is one of the main drivers of the overall success of your company, and lies mostly within the scope of the sales force negotiation.
But the responsibility of the sales force does not stop there. In the new economy, their role is critical in connecting the dots of the shopper ecosystem: Ensuring availability, last mile delivery, in other words augmented proximity.
So the traditional sales force model is becoming gradually obsolete and requires a serious re-thinking in order to capture the opportunities in today’s market reality.
We see in our various collaborations with our clients that this new dimension is the most important challenge in terms of value and capability building, but internal resistance is at the level of the payback: Massive.