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Rebirth of Sales & the Golden Age of Trade Marketing (Last of Three Parts)

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As the trade becomes more and more sophisticated, the role of Trade Marketing moves from being one of service to that of advisory, planning and, ultimately, strategy, which creates great impact on all company decisions.

The size of a Trade Marketing organization will vary depending on the scale and complexity of the manufacturer. The Trade Marketing organization may range from a single individual to more than 20 people. Some organizations even having Trade Marketing representatives in each region. Whatever the size, Trade Marketing is critical to the success of a business.

Seamless Operating Process
The final element in relation to the sales infrastructure is the operating processes that link Trade Marketing and Sales. Although the Brand/Channel Strategy is the strategic blueprint, operations depend heavily on how tight or loose the alignment of sales and trade marketing processes are with the Brand/Channel Strategy.

One example is the promotions approval process. A promotions approval process that does not incorporate the elements of the Brand/Channel Strategy will result in all sorts of sales and marketing promotions that deviate from the identified strategic path.

Reaping Benefits
Companies that take a bold leap and initiate the rebirth of their Sales organization, as well as the creation/ evolution of their Trade Marketing organization, will reap long-term benefits. There are a number of “low- hanging fruits” that can result immediately from this, such as, to name a few—

  • Fewer stock outs
  • More focused promos
  • Better promo ROI
  • Improved shelf management
  • Less discounts to trade
  • Fewer trade deals
  • Stronger budget control

Next Step
Manufacturers must now assess if their Sales organization is ready for today’s environment. If the organization needs to be restructured and retooled, a decision must be made on whether to invest on restructuring and up-skilling now or roll the dice, delay, and see how business pans out in the next couple of years.

Remember that errors, bad judgment calls, and discount approvals made today will impact your organization for years. You will likely end up with a perpetuation of approved “one-time” discounts, the escalation of trade support fees, and the precedents for weaker negotiations, among other consequences.

If, however, your choice is to restructure and up-skill now, then there are several resources at your disposal to accelerate the learning curve and immediately reap benefits. The firm I manage can introduce you to some of them.

As organizations gear up to build capabilities and processes to handle new trade, the cake we once used as a selling tool will now, we hope, be put to better use: to celebrate success.

print ed: 10/09

 

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