Do you know the Pulse of your Market?

And do you know it in time so that some thing can be done about it?

One of the aspects of staying effectively connected with the pulse is to be tuned with the field team and to hear what they have to say. The field team, as a whole, has more information about the market than the corporate office. With various layers in between, the information at the corporate office is highly sanitized and abstracted.

In many rapid velocity businesses, when corporate office seeks field feedback on a particular market phenomena (like a change in sales pattern or a competitor’s product scheme for example), it is already an established trend. Therefore, the window of opportunity to capitalize on the information might have been lost.

The sales teams typically get a sense or feel of positive or negative signals ahead of the corporate office. If the corporate office is aware of these signals accurately and in time, pre-emptive actions are possible.

How do you get the pulse from the market, in time to do something about it?

Infogeon helps companies get field feedback in time. We provide the required “processed signal” on any given topic so that you can factor these into your critical decisions (product launches, price moves, inventory calls, stock movements, local promotions, bundling etc.).

Gather Information. Process it into a signal. Master the trend.

Today, because of the ubiquitous smart devices, collecting information from the field is easier than ever. But what information should I capture? And more importantly what are the metrics that these numbers could drive?

We did a study across a broad spectrum of verticals spanning Healthcare, CPG, Consumer electronics & Retail around this topic. The study included field teams of both big corporates and small and medium size businesses. Here are the findings:

Finding #1 :Tactical data still rules.

Which data is more important? Strategic information about a competitor’s product or tactical month to date sales number?

Tactical information from the field was perceived as most valuable. Both by the sales personnel and their supervisors. The top picks were:

  1. Month to date sales numbers: No surprise here – after all that is what drives the sales team’s performance. Real time visibility of individual month to date sales numbers and related rolled up metrics was number one across all verticals. What was surprising however, was the fact that in a lot of the verticals – especially the small and medium businesses (without elaborate CRM and Order management systems)–these numbers were rolled up from the sales team in a surprisingly inefficient way.
  2. Stockist, Dealer, Partner store inventory: Applicable for verticals which use channel sales, the visibility of the channel inventory continues to be a hairy issue that the IT teams pretend they can solve by expensive interworking ERP systems. Small and medium size businesses that cannot afford such ERP solutions settle for suboptimal solutions.

Finding #2 : Timely collection of data is important.

We asked the sales team members and their supervisors (using different surveys) about how compliant they were in reporting numbers that could be used to feed business metrics.

Unsurprisingly, majority agreed that submitting data in time was very important and that they submit their reports in time.

Surprising, however, the supervisors of the salespersons, while giving similar importance to timely data, felt that a majority of the team did not report critical data in time.

Another important observation was that the sales team gave a lot of value to real time visibility of “daily” inventory and sales data while were comfortable to report (if required) this data only at a weekly frequency. So there was a gap between what the sales team valued and what they were willing to report.

The sales supervisors overwhelmingly felt that these metrics should be available at a daily or weekly frequency.

Finding #3 :Mobile is the way to go

No surprises here. Smartphone based solution for business related data collection was the most popular option. A mobile-based solution was preferred most in the 25-35 year age group.

Surprisingly, the supervisors (in a broad range of age group), favored mobile-based solution for data collection.

“Will you be open to a mobile based solution to collect data that can drive your key business Metrics? “

The answer was an overwhelming yes.

Better sales collaboration through new technologies

The value of collaboration in sales is well recognized. Research suggests that better collaboration is associated with improved business performance. Further, such collaborations are critically driven by the attitude and support of senior management.

Despite strong evidence in support of better organization of the mechanisms to foster sales and marketing collaboration, most companies are still driven by inertia and use traditional methods for collaborations. For example, marketing sets the strategy and then provides support to the field sales force. Collaborations between marketing and sales happen through periodic reports, meetings, assessments, training programs, and communications via phone. This asynchronous mode of collaboration prohibits quick response to dynamic market forces resulting in lost opportunities and delayed market intelligence.

Availability of new technologies has revolutionized this area. Platforms such as the Infogeon can facilitate close collaboration not only between the field sales personnel but also between the field sales personnel and the sales and marketing managers. In addition, such platforms offer tremendous advantages in terms of gamification of education and training for improved retention, and monitoring of the results of all kinds of initiatives by the firm through analytics. Needless to say that eventually all firms would adopt some form of collaborative technologies. However, the early adopters would definitely have an edge.

Imagine if key business metrics could magically materialize within a slick app that can be downloaded form your favorite app store and commissioned for your sales team within hours. And all these without elaborate ERP or CRM deployments? The technology is here and now.

How do you get the pulse from the market, in time to do something about it?

Infogeon helps companies abstract field feedback meaningfully and provide the “processed signal” on any given topic. Thus you can factor these into your critical decisions (product launches, price moves, inventory calls, stock movements, local promotions, bundling etc.) for advantage over your competitors.

Gather Information. Process it into a signal. Master the trend.