Manual field sales communication has been mainstream in most Fast-Moving Consumer Durables (FMCD) businesses for quite some time. Businesses employ field sales teams for face-to-face interactions with their customers (distributors and retailers), making mundane pitches to retain them.
However, with the changing distributor dynamics and advancement in technology, it’s time to switch things up and put your operation on autopilot. There is a way to streamline and automate your sales.
This is where omnichannel engagement comes into play.
Taking the omnichannel engagement route offers you a transformative edge, bridging the gap between manufacturers and retailers. It allows you to automate communication across channels, engaging distributors and retailers where they are most active.
Omnichannel strategy, coupled with innovative tools like WebEngage, can help you hyper-personalize distributor and retailer engagement. It allows you to synchronize, automatize, and optimize each data point effectively.
Plot A: Boosting Field Sales Efficiency with an Omnichannel Approach
Picture this: Your field sales team is on the move every day, lugging the burden of bulky brochures, product catalogs, and pricing manuals. They rely heavily on the same physical assets to pitch to different distributors and retailers repeatedly.
Now imagine this:
You have taken the omnichannel approach and replaced all physical material with a digital toolkit—presentations, interactive catalogs, videos, etc. These digital assets are sent to your distributors and retailers via their preferred channels — WhatsApp, SMS, or Email — even before you meet and close the deal, just with a click of a button.
Moreover, all the material stored is in digital format, meaning your field sales representatives can customize it real-time based on unique distributor preferences. And implementing omnichannel engagement strategies in your day-to-day field sales operation allows you to build a cohesive approach to engage your distributors and retailers across various touchpoints.
Here are some use cases to help you boost field sales efficiency:
Integrate CDP to Get the Full Picture
Most sales teams have a CRM integrated into their system to monitor sales operations and past purchases. By combining CRM data with a CDP, your field sales team gains access to a wider spectrum of actionable data. While both manage data, a CRM supports sales primarily, while a CDP offers a broader view of customer relationships and insights that go beyond sales history.
The CDP collects, integrates, and organizes data from various sources, including CRM, sales transactions, online interactions, social media, and more. This provides a holistic view of all the data at your disposal, further allowing you to curate targeted communication with the field sales team.
Create Automated ‘Sales Target’ System
Free your field force from deciphering target numbers and cluttered Excel sheets using automated ‘sales target’ systems. Leverage analytics to understand past sales data to find patterns and trends showing the performance metrics of individual field sales representatives, in a consolidated manner. The data allows your field sales representatives to easily understand the dashboard, get live status of their progress, and send timely alerts.
The dashboard provides your field representatives with clear insights into their daily, weekly, and monthly targets, offering an analysis of their progress toward achieving these goals. It shows how close or far they are from reaching their set targets, enabling better tracking and understanding of their performance.
Identify the ‘Best Channel’ to Engage
Optimize relevant channels for efficient team collaboration and communication. WebEngage’s Best Channel feature allows you to tailor communication for different cohorts based on their preferences. You can optimize engagement timing with Send Intelligently to ensure impactful and personalized interactions.
For example, say there are different cohorts amongst your field sales team who would prefer different channels and timing to communicate and engage. WebEngage’s best channel and send intelligently features tell you which cohort prefers which channel to engage & communicate and at what time of the day.
For instance: Cohort A prefers WhatsApp (preferred channel) between 1.00 pm-3.00 pm (preferred time).
Cohort B prefers Email (preferred channel) between 9.00 am-12.00 pm (preferred time).
Track Team Sentiments with NPS
NPS extends beyond customer views, serving as a crucial strategy for gauging the field force’s sentiments toward management. Beyond optimizing sales and satisfaction, it fosters internal improvements. Face-to-face interactions offer nuanced insights, while online surveys, with anonymity, encourage honest feedback without fear of repercussions.
Blending in-person meetings and online surveys enhances NPS’s versatility for dual-feedback collection. Continuous score monitoring and iterative improvements refine field sales strategies for a more harmonious, customer-focused approach.
Plot B: Nurturing Distributor and Retailer Relationship with Omnichannel Approach
Now that we have addressed some of the problems of field sales, let’s flip the coin and look at how to incorporate an omnichannel strategy for a sustainable distributor and retailer relationship.
Here are some ways to optimize omnichannel engagement strategies to make your brand stand out as the first choice for your distributors and retailers.
Identify the Loyalists Using Engagement Score
Segment your target audience by analyzing their event attributes to pinpoint the most loyal and recurring distributors and retailers. A highly effective method for achieving this is by implementing an engagement score based on individual actions. WebEngage’s Engagement Score feature provides insights into the contributions of each retailer and distributor to your business revenue.
By assigning scores, such as 1-3 for likely to convert and 7-10 for most likely to convert, you can strategically focus your efforts on those resources with the highest potential for conversion. This approach allows you to optimize your use of time and energy, directing them toward the distributors and retailers most likely to yield significant results.
Go the Extra Mile with Training and Support
Step up your game by offering top-notch training and support. When you go above and beyond for distributors and retailers, it shows them you care. Use webinars, video chats, or online portals to give them virtual training sessions and ongoing support. These sessions cover new products, marketing strategies, and sales techniques, improving their know-how and selling skills. This extra help boosts their performance and makes them more confident in selling your products.
Deploy Targeted Email Campaigns
Utilize data-driven insights to segment distributors and retailers based on their purchase history, engagement levels and even region.
For instance, with tools like predictive analytics, you can discover that a particular retailer in Tamil Nadu wants to stock up on kitchen appliances, for regional festive season of Pongal. Based on their area and past order value, you can send them targeted emails, nudging to buy stock from your brand.
Robust automation tools like WebEngage help you categorize and segment retailers based on their region of service and send relevant emails to that precise cohort.
Curate Hyper-personalized Incentive Program
Quit the one-size-fits-all approach and personalize rewards and incentives for distributors based on their individual contributions and performance. Analyzing distributor and retailer behavior and past contributions helps you curate a precise incentive plan based on their unique achievements.
WebEngage helps you segregate cohorts of top, moderate, and least performing distributors and retailers based on their performance metrics.
For e.g., top-performing distributors may get a 35% waiver on their order, moderate performers might get a 20%, and the least end up getting a 10%. This personalized approach ensures that each distributor or retailer gets individualized rewards, further motivating them to excel and continue their contribution to business success.
Offer On-Demand Guidance with WhatsApp Chatbots
Imagine having a smart WhatsApp chatbot for your field sales force. When distributors or retailers have questions, the chatbot can jump in, providing instant resolution. It can answer generic queries, share product details, and exchange training wisdom with your star distributors and retailers. If you want to keep the conversations human, you can blend in the capabilities of the chatbot with a human representative to keep the human connection intact.
For instance, With WhatsApp chatbots, you can setup a list of top five most asked questions for your distributors and retailers, covering generic topics like price catalogs, information on feature upgrades, etc. But in case of highly specific queries, the chatbot can seamlessly redirect distributors and retailers to your sales representative, ensuring a personalized and human touch to address their unique needs.
This immediate support not only engages users effectively but also streamlines the sales process, making everything smoother and quicker.
Design Feedback Loops to Improve Operations
Create a feedback loop for easy insights from retailers and distributors. Use analytics to get an overview of patterns, trends, and prevalent issues, responding faster to market needs. Feedback loops help boost engagement and refine sales strategies and products on the go. By promptly gathering and analyzing feedback, businesses can respond swiftly to changing market needs and trends, keeping you ahead of your competitors.
For example, you can create an omnichannel strategy to collect retailers’ and distributors’ feedback across multiple touchpoints via different channels (online forms, surveys, emails, direct communication). This can include their opinions, suggestions, and observations about product performance, sales experience, or market demands for particular appliances. Collating all this feedback helps you gain a comprehensive view of the loopholes and refine your strategies efficiently.
Field sales form an integral part of most FMCD businesses. While some continue to tread the journey manually, some have slowly shifted gears towards a hybrid route. By blending your field sales with omnichannel strategies, you aren’t just dealing with today’s issues but leading the pack in building a stronger, more efficient workforce.
The question is, are you willing to take the plunge? If yes, connect with our experts to witness how you can turn your challenges into stepping stones on the road to skyrocketing growth and revenue.