As the FMCG segment hunts for new ideas and ways to sell, Fisayo Ojelabi and I chatted about the KEY things that decision-makers in Nigeria should keep in mind as they thrash out their initial plans for 2020 and make drastic changes. Having worked with brands like P&G [past] and RB [current], Fisayo brings along with himself over 7 years of experience in FMCG sales.
If you’re selling essentials, no doubt your product is in demand right now. But even then, the current circumstances are making sales challenging. While discussing the importance of the points I mention below, there is one big underlying question that every FMCG MUST answer NOW. And if your answer is NO, NOW is the time to work towards turning it into a YES. And that question is: Is your sales process AGILE?
The Oxford Dictionary defines agile as: “able to move quickly and easily”. Now, you can’t just say ‘yes’ because you’re open to new ideas. The point is that your processes must be such that implementing new ideas is easy. Only then, are you truly ‘agile’. Every company’s strategy involves going digital, and this time, not for brand awareness but for sales. How fast you move will DEFINE how AGILE you’re becoming and will DECIDE the GROWTH of your sales.
Having said that, here are key things that we identified would help in building your new sales strategy:
- Your customer database – know where your customers are and have their right contact information. If you’re a company that’s operated mostly on an excel sheet or pen and paper, this might be difficult. But, surprisingly, even if you’re using an SFA, the chances of duplicates, outdated and incorrect information are very high. Time to clean up! Everyone has switched to telesales so that’s no bright idea. But, having correct information about your primary and most importantly your secondary sales is what will determine the success of your telesales.
- Help your top customers to sell. How, you ask? If you’re selling essentials, helping your resellers get customers is NOT the problem here. They already have people calling and messaging, requesting for items. The challenge for them is handling these orders and managing deliveries. Suddenly, their business’ focus has shifted from ‘footfall’ to managing ‘virtual customer experience’ and ‘logistics’. How efficiently they handle the orders and how quickly they deliver will define their customer retention. Can you help here?
- There is no need to reinvent the wheel – if another organization is doing something that is working right, just copy and paste. But, do a pilot first. ALWAYS do a ‘Pilot’. A new brand of foundation might have worked for your friend, but the allergens in it might not suit your skin. And, you don’t want to find that out when you’re on stage in front of thousands of people. The same applies to new strategies in business. This way, with regards to the sales strategy, you’ll be able to edit to fit your organizational structure and processes before going all out.
- Focus on solutions that help you sell – work on integrations later. Right now, just focus on what gets things moving. Remove ALL bottlenecks. If it’s a new technology you’re thinking of implementing, just focus on getting your team on board and ensure everyone understands WHY you’re doing it. That way, everyone looks at how to make a new solution work rather than question it. That is what will make any new strategy or technology successful at this point.
Amongst the chaos, overload of information, and uncertainties, I hope you found this helpful. Are there any other things you believe must also be considered? What are some of the things you’re including in your sales strategy? I’d like to hear your thoughts.