The most valuable and profitable time, is the time the point of sales manager spends with the client.
It is not the time they spend…
- Deciding what the best route for today is.
- Calling the central office so they can email them the client’s last 5 orders.
- Checking whether there are any clients nearby because they have just cancelled a visit.
- Filling out the expenses form.
- Writing a last-minute report that the client they are meeting in 2 hours has just asked for.
To make their task easier, to allow them to have as much time as possible and to save them from anxiety, we must make all tools and the latest technology available to them.
In the previous mentioned article, we talk about visit preparation and time spent on it. We are now going to delve into these two aspects. Without a doubt, these are amongst the most important ones in the success of a POS manager’s sales work.
Key information for preparing a visit
Lewis parked and got out of his Audi A3. He smartened himself up and grabbed his iPad. The supermarket was just a few metres away. He strode confidently towards the entrance. It was being a great day and he just had to finish it off.
Robert had been the manager for only 3 months but had already made good friends with him. Lewis knew that the promotions and the new wines he had to offer would please him. On entering the door, he said hello to Laura and James, the two cashiers, who told him that Robert was waiting for him. The supermarket was quiet at that time of the day.
He knocked on the door, announced his arrival, and entered the office with a beam on his face. This time Robert didn’t get up to greet him. He was serious, stony-faced, sat on the other side of the desk.
Tuesday’s order had been wrong again. The imported beers were missing for a second time in a row. Robert’s shouting could be heard out on the street. What a way to ruin a successful day’s work, right? This cannot happen.
Before meeting a client, a POS manager should have carried out a series of tasks and be able to compile all the necessary data. Ideally, they would have everything done before even starting the route that day.
Relevant information for the visit:
- Calls to action.
- Next local or national promotions.
- Order history.
- Latest phone calls.
- Latest KPIs.
- Date and comments from previous visits.
- Who are the best contact persons.
- Results from previous audits: e. g. facings and broken displays.
This information is necessary to be proactive and to anticipate what may arise during the visit. Will statistics about the results encourage the client to accept an offer? Will a report containing the data from the last two audits convince them to solve the display problem once and for all? Everything the POS manager comes prepared with means time that can be used to negotiate with the client.
What should be done just before arriving for a visit?
It is advisable to call the shop on the route to confirm the appointment and ensure there will be a good contact person available. It can be done without any problems during the journey to save time.
It would also be necessary to confirm whether there are any incidents, notes or any changes in the objectives or calls to action by the area manager. A final review of the client’s history, the interactions they have had with our company. This must be extended to other channels, such as online sales, telesales, customer services (in case of potential complaints), etc.
Tasks to carry out during the visit
We mentioned at the beginning of this article that the most valuable time is the one that the POS manager spends negotiating with the client. However, it is impossible to dedicate the whole visit to this, since there other more routine and less economically impactful tasks that have to be performed.
On the one hand, the display area has to be audited: the number of facings, broken displays, gaps in the range, checking the presence, total space, analysing the competition… And compare it with both the previous values and the set goals. In recent years, image recognition technology has made great strides.
Having it would greatly simplify the work of the POS manager. It will allow them to obtain faster and more accurate results. This way, they would have more time to negotiate without any hurrying. Another task is to take the repeat order.
For this it would be very useful to have the latest orders the client has made, because they will probably be similar. In additional to this, an agile workflow to validate offers, orders and commercial terms. Thirdly, they should fully monitor the main KPIs to understand what is happening at that point of sale. This is one of the reasons we insist so much on the gathering of valuable information from the client’s history before the visit.
Finally, we reach the most important part of the visit, the most valuable activity in the whole sales process: negotiation with the client.
At this point, we must keep in mind the calls to action based on established commercial network criteria before starting each visit. We should try to improve the space and presence. both to correct breaches in previous contracts and to achieve outstanding objectives.
Last but not least, we must not forget to inform the client of the next (or current) promotions, campaigns or new launches
Once the visit has finished, the manager should carry out an assessment of the aspects solved based on the data collected during the execution phase. The results should be in line with the objectives. Ideally, the supervisor could evaluate both the sales representative and the whole team using this data.
To sum up, both the visit and its preparation are 2 vital as well as complex phases for the commercial success of the company. Saving time, effort and accuracy is a key aspect in the performance of point of sales managers. Providing them with a tool that simplifies, automates and greatly increases the results of their work is essential in a context as competitive as the current one.