In the battle between supermarket brands, sales staff play a decisive role.
When it comes to checking the traditional price-product-placement-promotion mix, there’s no substitute for an in-store visit.
At a time when hypermarket retail floor space is steadily increasing (6.3% between 2015 and 2018), sector managers are more essential than ever.
It’s your weekly shopping day and you’re strolling down the aisles of a supermarket, your eyes glued to the shelves full of tempting products. Lined shelves, brightly colored packaging, and attractive promotions encourage you to choose from a multitude of options.
But how do these products get here, ready for consumers to discover? That’s where the Sales Representative comes in.
As a Sales Representative, you act as the link between the company and its sales outlets, playing a crucial role in developing sales and promoting a brand.
It is like an invisible link, connecting the brand teams to the shop teams, ensuring that the brand’s products are present and showcased to consumers.
He is a true ambassador for the brand, visiting sales outlets to showcase innovations.
But its role is not limited to simply presenting products. It is also responsible for understanding the specific needs of each outlet and incorporating them into its strategy.
Why is the Area Manager so important for developing sales and promoting the brand?
Imagine walking into a supermarket looking for your favorite yogurt.
You’re browsing the shelves, but you can’t find your precious product. Frustration, disappointment… Perhaps you’ll end up choosing another yogurt, a competitor to your favorite brand.
Thanks to his expertise, he ensures that the brand’s products are on the shelves, prominently displayed and easily accessible.
It optimises the shelf space to highlight the brand’s flagship products. He negotiates with the floor manager to obtain strategic locations and attractive promotions.
This ensures that consumers have access to their favorite products within easy reach.
I. Preparing and planning the sales representative’s day :
To begin with, the sales representative analyses the figures and performance.
It reviews the targets set, sales results, and key performance indicators (KPIs).
This assessment enables it to understand where the brand stands in the sector, to spot opportunities for growth and to identify areas that need particular attention.
It will then respond to two imperatives: The first is spatial, involving the efficient sectorisation of sales outlets, taking into account the distance between them and the frequency of visits required for each type of shop.
There is also a temporal element, with charges increasing according to sales seasons: weather for barbecue kings, World Cup for beverage giants, Christmas for gourmets and chocolatiers… SaaS solutions like Datakiss to plan sales visits.
With this information, our sales representative can define clear objectives for the planning process.
It identifies the sales outlets to visit based on their sales potential, their strategic importance, and the brand’s specific needs.
It also draws up a list of priority tasks to be carried out, such as checking the layout, negotiating promotions, or training staff. This rigorous planning enables them to optimize their time in the field and maximize the impact of their actions.
Before embarking on their visits, sales managers take the time to prepare all the necessary tools and resources.
It collects product samples, marketing materials, brochures, and any other material useful for presenting and promoting its products.
It also ensures that it has up-to-date information on new products and product features so that it can answer customers’ questions with confidence and expertise.
II. Field visits and point-of-sale management:
Once in the field, the sales representative begins meeting with the managers of sales outlets such as supermarkets, grocery shops, and hypermarkets.
These exchanges are essential for discussing the performance of its products and identifying development opportunities.
During these meetings, the Area Manager carefully analyses the presentation of the products on the shelves.
He checks that his products are attractively arranged, in line with brand standards, usually provided by the brand’s merchandising managers.
The shelf where the products are displayed is also subject to particular attention, as he will carry out a meticulous survey of the shelf, measuring the space occupied by his products.
This assessment enables the company to ensure that the visibility of its products is optimal, which encourages consumers to choose them.
Shelf-space mapping is a key operation, but an extremely time-consuming one, accounting for up to 50% of the time spent by sales staff in the shop. On a tight tour, precious time is wasted on a data entry task.
And yet it is quality time that the sales force needs.
The competitive environment gives a highly strategic dimension to negotiations on space, the number of references, promotions, etc.
While the 2010s saw the emergence of the first form of automated shelf audit measurement, it’s in 2020 that the revolution will arrive with EasyPicky.
By reducing the time spent on a linear survey to just a few minutes, the EasyPicky application is changing the face of in-store visits.
Sales now have more information and more time to negotiate and sell.
The daily life of the sales force has changed considerably in recent years.
The job retains its strategic importance, but the way in which it is carried out has been made more efficient and less daunting thanks to a range of digital solutions available to them.
The revolution continues, with EasyPicky constantly innovating to make shop data faster to obtain and even more reliable.
To make the right decisions at the right time.
By scanning the shelves, the sales representative is on the lookout for opportunities to improve the merchandising and promotion of his products.
It closely observes the competition, analyses consumer trends and identifies any gaps.
Thanks to this tool, it records the data from each visit in its CRM.
Available stocks, prices, current promotions and all KPIs.
In this way, it can assess performance, identify market trends and adjust strategies accordingly.
These observations enable him to propose concrete actions to optimize the visibility and posiof its products, while meeting consumer needs.
Negotiation is also central to the role of the Area Manager. It enters into discussions with shop managers to negotiate promotional agreements and highlight its products.
Thanks to their in-depth knowledge of the brand and market trends, Area Managers are able to propose attractive initiatives that benefit both the points of sale and the brand.
As well as promoting products, the Area Manager ensures that his or her products are always available.
It ensures that stocks are sufficient and coordinates regular replenishment efforts.
This task requires close collaboration with in-house teams, logistics, and point-of-sale managers, in order to maintain the availability of products on the shelves.
III. Training and motivating teams:
As well as developing sales and promoting the brand, the sales representative also plays an essential role in training and motivating the sales teams.
It implements various initiatives to train and motivate its teams.
One of the responsibilities of the sales representative is to organize regular training sessions for sales outlet staff.
These training sessions cover the brand’s new products, their characteristics, and benefits, as well as survey methods to obtain consistent data for in-house teams.
The sales representative also imparts effective sales techniques to help teams better understand and promote products to customers.
Thanks to this training, point-of-sale staff acquire the knowledge they need to deliver a quality customer experience and maximize sales.
The sales representative uses CRM to monitor the individual and collective performance of the sales teams.
Thanks to this tool, they can analyze key performance indicators, such as sales achieved, targets met and opportunities identified.
This analysis enables him to provide constructive feedback to the teams, highlighting their strengths and identifying areas where improvements can be made.
This approach fosters a culture of continuous development, enabling teams to progress and grow.
IV. Data analysis, reporting and use of CRM :
In the ranking of must-have tools, CRM would most likely be cited in pole position.
Visit planning and execution software that digitizes and automates many day-to-day tasks.
SFA also stands for Sales Force Automation.
The sales representative spends time analyzing sales data and key performance indicators. He looks closely at figures, trends, and variations to understand the factors that influence results.
This in-depth analysis enables it to identify strengths and weaknesses, pinpoint opportunities for improvement, and take strategic decisions to strengthen the brand’s position in the market.
CRM plays a central role in this analysis.
Generally made up of different modules, with or without options, CRMs take care of a large part of the sales cycle: visit planning, correspondence with customers, sales performance data (DN/PdL/Facings), monitoring of promotions and actions, etc.
While in-house solutions still exist, the vast majority of manufacturers are turning to SaaS and cloud solutions.
World leader Salesforce is equipping some of France’s biggest names in cosmetics and the food industry.
The Californian giant delegates the customisation of its solution to a myriad of specialist integrators.
These players, some of whom have an international presence such as CustomerTimesare responsible for fine-tuning functionalities to the brand’s needs, with App to App solutions such as EasyPicky.
EasyPicky also counts a number of French champions recognized for their solutions specifically designed for sales forces, including Nomadiaand in particular its Solvnet, a centralized CRM platform, to optimize the collection and processing of field data, with a unique user experience, mbut also Statigest, Klee Commerce and ChapsVision.
In short, the Sales representative is a key player in sales growth and brand promotion. Through his commitment, his ability to train and motivate teams, his mastery of data analysis, and his effective use of CRM, he helps to strengthen the brand’s position in the market and offer consumers quality products.