I see Sales Management in the e-commerce and retail environment as a process with two distinctively different stages.
Once you identify your retailer targets and you are “retail ready” – we will activate the sales group network. We will provide the right sales presentations, samples and customized price lists. The Sales Groups will work closely with us to identify the right Merchandising Group at the targeted retailers and schedule appointments for us to present the product line.
When presenting to retailers you have to follow a few simple rules:
- Explain who you are and why your company is an authority in its field
- Share your vision and strategy incl. the product roadmap
- Present your product like you would present it in a store environment
- Present your packaging and messaging
- Present your business proposition
All of our sales groups have outstanding relationships with their retail and e-commerce accounts and will be able to quickly secure appointments.
Once we secure a retailer’s commitment the actual work will begin.
The very first step is to complete the vendor set up and agreements that retailers require. This can be an extensive and time consuming process. In addition you will have to work with your logistics and operations team to establish the communications process to receive Orders and Forecasts and provide ASNs and Invoices. If you work with an established 3PL or Distributor – they will manage that process for you. This is one of the huge advantages to collaborate with these companies.
The next step in the process is to work with the Merchandising Teams to create initial forecasts . Retailers know their business real well and will provide you with fairly accurate initial forecasts. Once you receive the first “Sell Through” data you have much better information and will be able to predict weekly sales.
The sales groups will work with the retailer’s merchandising teams to create / propose programs to stimulate weekly sales and find placement in the retailer’s advertising vehicles. We will need to evaluate the cost vs. incremental sales of these activities / programs and make recommendation as to what you should approve.
Another key to success is to make sure retailers sales associates receive information about your product and understand its functionality and value proposition. Most retailers will provide our sales groups access to training channels.
A very critical component of retailer management is to make sure the product has a very solid online presence on the retailers e-commerce site. You will need to prepare as much content as you can!
We will have weekly reviews of sell through and inventory numbers and provide accurate sell-in information.