This article is interesting and it is based on our experience working with some of the Distribution partners of The Pepsi Bottling Group. They say it proudly "We Sell Soda." The Pepsi Bottling Group (PBG) is the world's largest manufacturer, seller, and distributor of Pepsi-Cola beverages — some of the world's most recognized consumer brands. Now let see how they transformed their Salesforce into a Super CRM Roadies.
PBG's Salesforce needs quite a bit of information about each of their accounts in order to sell soda effectively, minimize out-of-stock items, and control back-room inventory. They were taking their information into stores in large notebooks. A new application using a mobile Handheld provides the Salesforce with the information needed to sell effectively: route management, real-time demand forecasting, inventory management, and per-store information on promotions and authorized products.
The Pepsi Bottling Group's mission statement says it all: "We Sell Soda." The need to plow through big binders full of demand forecasts, promotions, and per-store authorized product lists was restricting PBG's sales reps' ability to use the limited time they have at each store to close sales. A new "Smart Selling" application delivered on the handheld gives each rep all the tools and information needed to sell effectively.
When Pepsi sales reps go into a store today, they have only a few minutes of the store manager's time in order to make a sale. Every day Pepsi in a every territory send 6,000 salespeople out to make a difference both for their business and for the businesses of the retail customers. If they don't provide them with the best tools to have at their disposal, salesperson will not be able to take advantage of the 20 million interactions that They have every year.PBG sells about 1.5 billion cases of soda a year to about 650,000 customers in the United States and about a million customers worldwide. PBG's Salesforce has to contend with a proliferation of SKUs, a complex pricing scheme, customer development agreements, periodic promotions, and lists of authorized products that can vary from store to store, even within a chain.
"They have a number of customer development agreements," said a senior manager of IT. These annual agreements cover marketing activity, shelf space, and equipment placements. They want to measure compliance with those agreements and close the gap where there are voids. "Another major issue is that the number of SKUs they're supporting is just proliferating, each with its own price point and various promotions built around them. That's a great deal of information for our front-line selling performers to manage. Our sales reps needed an efficient system to quickly track information on individual SKUs and promotions in order to maximize their selling capability."
PBG, US has rolled out Symbol PDT 8000 Pocket PCs to its Salesforce and built a next-generation application for the sales reps. The Pocket PCs tie into the back office using 802.11b wireless connectivity. The mobile handheld application was developed using one of the Midmarket CRM technology.
The Mobile Handheld application combines communication, route management, real-time demand forecasting, sales optimization, and personal performance optimization. The application tries to capture every sales growth opportunity by giving the representative priorities, targeting the most relevant sales opportunities by customer, ensuring compliance with customer development agreements, closing product distribution opportunities, and creating incremental demand on every sales call. In addition, it tries to match order quantity to demand by modeling replenishment demand with historical data. The application does regressions of shipment, price, display, advertising, seasonality, and other factors. It then uses probability simulation to estimate demand.
The application leverages the customer rep's presence in the store to enhance the initial forecast and factor in incremental growth. This in-store feedback allows the application to take into account the true demand factor conditions — the retail price, the kind of display used, and so on — and also to allow for inventory on hand and delivery schedules.
The sales application is really designed to help selling in two different ways. First, it provides sales reps with information about a customer and identifies opportunities that they can sell against in the account. The second is to provide sales reps with their monthly priorities. Combined, these two elements provide pepsi sales reps with the overall guidance and account-specific information needed to drive revenue at every opportunity. Since PBG has so many sales reps, it was critical to make the application easy to learn and use.
The Pepsi Bottling Group has 6,000 sales reps and most do not stay in the same position for very long,".. The application is developed to be very intuitive, so a new user could pick up the device, hit the street, and be productive. The interface itself draws them into the application, shows them where to go, what to look at, and what to do next."
The impact of this application will come from several specific areas:
o Intelligent selling prompts on "highly relevant" offers will lead to increased up-selling and cross-selling.
o Increased sales through reduced out-of-stocks as a result of better demand forecasting. This is a major industry wide issue valued at $7 billion by the Grocery Management Association in a study that showed that industry out-of-stocks average 7 percent.
o Demand forecasting also improves the sales reps' productivity by reducing the time reps spend jotting notes, calculating, and thinking about order quantities.
o Better authorized product management will reduce costs by reducing invoice disputes. They have a filter in the application that prevents the rep from selling an account a product that they're not authorized to buy.
o Closer management of trade promotion performance agreements will drive increased compliance and lead to increased consumer demand. Items such as displays, reduced retail pricing, and other "Retail Execution" performance elements are negotiated at headquarters but must be executed by reps in the field. Our application reminds them of the current agreements for each account.
o Faster and more effective introduction and selling of new products will drive sales by putting innovation on shelves in closer coordination with marketing efforts.
o Integrated bar code scanning will reduce the time reps spend on low-value work, such as inventory management, and increase their time for higher value selling activities.
o Integrated rich media selling aids will drive increases in close rates on offers by increasing consistent delivery of the marketing message at targeted and relevant opportunities.
* Digital delivery of these selling aids will reduce printing and distribution costs, while at the same time ensuring that selling aids are available when needed at the precise moment of truth - and not lost or left in the truck