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What Consumer Goods Manufacturers Want – And How You Sell Retail Field Sales and Service to Them

Merchandising service organizations are constantly under pressure to expand their product categories and the number of doors they support; and part of your mission is to sell CG manufacturers on how great partnering with your organization will be for them. To that end, ESP has published an Ebook on this topic, and what follows is an abstract from that book...

What Consumer Goods Manufacturers Want – And How You Sell Retail Field Sales and Service to Them

If you want to accomplish these goals, you've got to say and do  the right things. Before you can sell them on your excellent services, you need to do four things required in all selling situations:

  • Better understand your customer
  • Capture your customers' attention
  • Connect with your customer on a human level
  • Solve truly big problems for your customer

Let's start with how to better understand your customer (manufacturer). What is it they want?

Manufacturers Want to Win at the Shelf

You're going to need a plan for how your potential manufacturing partner is going to capture and maintain an increasing volume of shelf space. To do that, you'll need to commit to keeping every store perfect. This can be a major challenge, because part of the manufacturer's success (and to some extent the retailer's success) will depend on everything being perfect...all the time...because substandard execution undermines the best category plans every time.

But what does PERFECT really mean? At a minimum, you should focus on:

  • Having the right product assortment
  • Maximizing on-shelf availability
  • Maintaining merchandising execution and compliance
  • Price, planogram, promotion, and merchandise standards compliance
  • Ongoing product knowledge training
  • Ongoing quest for incremental space
  • Ongoing attempt to sell to consumers in aisle
  • Ongoing brand ambassadorship
  • Ongoing expansion of SKU's, facings, points of interaction, and safety stock

Manufacturers Want to Win the Approval of Retailers

Manufacturers need hard evidence of store coverage, execution of committed service, and on-shelf availability in order to get approved by retailers. That's a tall order, but one that can be easily accomplished with the right mindset and the best set of tools.

Retailers only have only so much shelf space. They award it to those who can help them achieve highest shelf  velocity at highest margin. In trying to gain retailer approval, manufacturers often take one of two directions: either they cut their wholesale prices to the bone in order to help the retailer's bottom line -- in which case, there is zero room for error in execution at the shelf. Or they agree to fund and run their own promotions to help the retailer build traffic.

Less common is a third option where large manufacturers just flat out pay retailers to contribute to the retailer's ad budget.

Very often a manufacturer will pay a retailer for prime space (say, an endcap), and then only execute a portion of the stores it has paid for. The retailer isn't going to lift a finger to execute the endcaps, report on which stores are not compliant, or keep the endcaps filled...they have made money already. Worse for the manufacturer (and better for the retailer) if the retailer has been paid for space not executed, the retailer can stock that endcap with private label items and win two times!

So it stands to reason that if the retailer is pressuring the manufacturer to fund their promotions, and the manufacturer is spending money on already thin margins, it's pretty important that the manufacturer actually sees sales lift by executing on the promotion in the first place. Note: that's why ESP provides sales and execution metrics on the same dashboards with POS data!

So, what is the best approach to help manufacturers when it comes to staking their claim on shelf space while preserving razor-thin margins as best they can?

To find out, get your free copy of our e-book Selling to Manufacturers With Mobile Technology. Click below to request your copy today!

Click here to get the ebook

Topics: Field Executive Greatness selling to retailers