Why Big CPGs are Investing in Field Sales & Retail Execution Teams

The choice between investing in an inside sales force versus going with an outside sales and marketing broker is an important one for any size CPG company, but for the larger ones, the decision can be monumental. When recent CPG companies like Kraft Heinz and Kellogg’s announced hiring their own salesforce, many smaller and mid-size CPG companies were left scratching their heads asking why. It appeared for a moment that in-store execution was losing value. However, with new insights from Catalina’s latest study to support what many execs believed, shoppers are heading back towards the center of the store.

So how are these large CPG brands’ direct sales forces going to have an impact at the shelf?

Personal Touch at a Single Source Account

Some grocers won’t even let a third party broker into the store, forcing CPG manufacturers to rely on a merchandiser that they might have no relationship with or would prefer not to use.  If this is the case, an internal sales force is a must to have any control over your brand presence at retail.

Adjust To the Market Conditions

Cookie cutter retail execution strategies just don’t work anymore as in-store conditions are always changing from in-store sets to planograms. When an issue arises, the team can quickly call out the issue and management can find an efficient solution and report back to the team. This saves time and minimizes ineffective time periods.

Guided Selling and Trade Promotion Compliance

A successful sales strategy is a combination of knowledge, technology, and swagger. With a direct sales force, a sales team can be educated on what makes their products unique, explain what their competitors are lacking, and most importantly can build a strong rapport with the store and HQ management. These factors lead to an increase in new item sales, targeted promotion and execution, and crucial ACV distribution growth and item velocity management.

Flexible Field Sales Technologies & Applications  

As mentioned above, technology is essential to optimizing the impact of a sales force. With CPG companies getting to select their own technology, they can choose a solution that provides the ideal features and functionality for their team to be successful. From prescriptive retail and guided selling to retail activity optimization and in-store alerts, reps can target accounts that yield the greatest return for their efforts and know exactly what needs to be corrected when they enter the store, allowing them to increase their store visits and achieve a greater impact at the shelf. On the back end, field teams can build custom reports that provide a variety of views into accounts, activities, and opportunities — all features that allow management to build on success quarter after quarter.

What’s to Follow? 

With large CPG companies implementing their own sales forces once again and the new capabilities of field sales solutions driven by POS data, look for other CPG Companies to follow suit.

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Seth Nagle, Senior Marketing Manager at RW3 Technologies understands the power of innovation but also its limitations. Attending Salve Regina in New England, starting his career in Silicon Valley, and now living in Austin, Texas; Seth provides a unique tech perspective to a complex CPG and Retail Grocery Industry that is in constant disruption.