This months Expert Speak comes from Karen Jackson, MD, CPM UK.
At CPM UK, we’re leading the way in sales analytics by combining cutting edge analytics software, machine learning, artificial intelligence and our team of amazing data scientists to deploy the power of predictive analytics through our PREDICT solution.
Even today’s fastest retail analytics teams are gathering data today, analysing it overnight, to drive actions and resource deployment the following day – and they call this dynamic.
We believe that however fast this is – your teams are still being forced to react to historical data… and if you are reacting, you’re missing valuable opportunities and not running a fully optimised team. To be truly optimised and drive the highest returns possible, you need to predict the future. Predictive analytics is nothing new, but with the data that’s now available and the technology that can support in analysing that data – we now have the perfect opportunity to use predictive analytics to drive optimal resource deployment for our clients.
Machine learning is a form of AI that enables our systems to learn from data rather than through explicit programming. However, machine learning is not a fully artificial intelligence-controlled process. Our human experts set the outcome required to solve a business problem and the machine then analyses all variables to create the best hypothesis (and algorithm), and as new data is added the system learns and increases accuracy.
For example, consider what drives sales in stores (outcome), machine learning will look at all variables including consumer density, stock availability and sales data to create a predicted algorithm. As more data is added over time the algorithm adapts and increases in accuracy.
Put simply Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the ability of a machine to simulate human behaviour without
the need for human input. This differs from machine learning by not requiring a human to intervene once set up. The machine thinks like a human by setting the business problem, building the machine learning models and then rolling them out.
This means that AI becomes your ‘analyst’, learning from data and making recommendations that can help to improve activity to grow your sales
With our considerable investment in PREDICT we can now help brands, retailers and any business harness the vast amount of Big Data to hand to create true insight in the form of predictive analytics. If you imagine a world where you can accurately predict when and where your next biggest opportunity (or risk) is going to occur and then deploy the right resource, be it human, digital or phygital to optimise that opportunity, in the most efficient way, then you have imagined CPM’s new predictive analytics and liquid workforce solution. This ground-breaking solution will transform how businesses profitably sell, now and into the future.
Predict is now live and several of our customers are already benefiting from a considerable sales uplift through our integration of Predict with our field sales CRM and analytics solutions we that we have deployed for them today.
To read more about how predictive analytics can drive higher returns, click here
To be truly optimised, to drive the highest returns possible, you need to predict the future. Predictive analytics is nothing new, but in this article we explore what can be done with the data that's now available and the technology that can support in analysing that data – the opportunity has never been better to use predictive analytics to drive optimal resource deployment.
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Creating Synergy to Achieve Sales Growth
This month’s Expert Speak comes from Pierpaolo Bertocco, MD, CPM Italy
The outsourcing of the sales force is more relevant than ever. This sales approach is gaining ground amongst both medium-sized local companies and multi-nationals because of the constant need for cost containment and the need to update their internal organisation with more flexible goals and better performing models in the medium term.
But the question “What can be done with an outsourced sales force?” is still key for each organisation which is facing this sales approach. CPM can offer a simple but strongly effective answer: “Exactly the same as you do with an in-house field force, but with a better control on goals, focus and ROI.” Essentially, outsourcing the sales force means we define, manage and monitor a direct relationship between costs and results. But if we want to go more in depth, the competitive advantage of the CPM sales outsourcing approach can be summarised in three key pillars. First, the greater focus on sales goals and results. Second, the possibility of creating a strategic mix of human resources engaged directly and those outsourced, thereby ensuring greater flexibility in the size of the sales force and consequently an optimised return on investment. And lastly, an unquestionable advantage in terms of costs and results, plus greater flexibility in the management of the budget.
In this article we would like to feature a sterling example of how a strategic sales plan based on the synergic co-work of field force and telesales resource can lead to a sustainable sales growth.
When DKV, the European provider of a wide range of services aimed to help transportation and fleet companies, felt the need to activate new customers and promote new services within small & medium businesses in the Italian market, they made contact with us here at CPM Italy.
After setting sales targets, we defined a dedicated field specialists team, focused on improving DKV Fuel Card sales through phone contacts and appointments with fleet managers. The results achieved in terms of sales growth and ROI convinced DKV of CPM’s outsourced field sales force solution. Thus, we were appointed for an even more challenging project which aimed to deliver a brand-new sales approach based on a synergic team working between a focused telesales team and a strongly skilled field sales force team.
The final outcome of the roles became the opposite: the telesales team supporting the field sales force team in closing the deal meanwhile autonomously appointing new clients, speeding up the process and doubling the new clients acquired.
The result? A huge increase of the number of clients and turnover – with over 35% success rate and 30%+ turnover year on year –, over 66 million euro of annual contracts in less than 5 years and a minimum small drop-out rate which confirm the quality of the clients acquired.
Marco Berardelli, Country General Manager, DKV EURO SERVICE Italia, talking about this encomp
assed sales service project stated: “Outsourcing a part of the sales force was a weighted and innovative decision. We have focused on the prospecting activity and we have achieved in a short time, after a first phase of learning of our Services by the new outsourcing sales agency, a considerable increase in contracts signed through a strong motivational drive, high productivity and flexibility of resources and a convinced result orientation. But that’s not all, what most surprised us was the highly professional and proactive attitude of our outsourced sales partner in proposing new innovative sales solutions and communication methods, in order to multiply, with success and in perfect synergy, our sales potential!”
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In 2016, Harvard Business Review published 5 Ways to boost your resilience at work stating that, according to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, a quarter of all employees view their jobs as the number one stressor in their lives, and describes stress as the “global health epidemic of the 21st century”.
With our worlds becoming ever more demanding and the stressors both in and out of the workplace continuing to increase, there is an emergent need to offer support and guidance to the workforce to help build resilience to effectively manage work life. Living in an environment where the overload of information is always present, and the ability to disconnect becoming harder, taking responsibility for our wellbeing is vital. We prioritise putting our phones on charge to ensure they have enough battery to function every day, but can we honestly say we do the same for ourselves?
Making an important skill stick, such as improving personal resilience, can be hard particularly when people may feel that they are too busy to take the time out. This is where the initial challenge begins, providing people with the right tools and skills in manageable bite sized chunks is key. It’s got to feel easy and interesting to the individuals for them to sit up, take note and change their habits.
We have found that engaging our teams with small nuggets of inspiring workshops and providing them with tangible techniques that work is driving a passion for improving mental toughness within the business. Tagging on a short 30 minutes at the end of our quarterly company briefings has become the perfect opportunity to have widespread positive impact that is vastly growing a healthy culture within the business.
One workshop that we hosted, which saw high positive outputs, focused on The Chimp Paradox theory by Prof. Steve Peters. Learning a simple technique of managing any unwanted thoughts or feelings and driving a more resourceful healthy output has resonated with all those who participated, and has driven a positive shockwave throughout our employees.
We are seeing improvements in how our managers manage their teams, in how the sales and field teams deal with resistance and generally higher levels of motivation across our head office and contact centres with some improvements noted in performance measures.
As a business, our dedication to supporting individuals improve resilience is having a positive impact on the performance of our teams, and our business. We believe we have a duty of care to ensure that our employees charge themselves as habitually as they charge their phones.
Nicole Kite, Training Manager
Detail, enabling brand manager to track product ratings online – It’s a popularity contest
Consumer rating is a crucial selling point for brand managers and retailers alike. Faced with two equal products, a consumer will likely go for the one with the best rating. At the highest rated store. So how does one achieve a 5-star consumer rating? And how can brand managers keep track of their products ratings? Our online merchandising tool Detail can help, and this article will tell you how.
Put your money where your stars are
Consumer ratings can be used to evaluate a specific product, a retailer or a customer service desk. For a brand manager this can give valuable insights in to how and where to put one’s effort and marketing budget. Say for example that the same product receives different ratings at different retailer websites. Why is that? Is the product marketed differently at the different websites? How does the retailer websites differ from each other? Is it a customer service issue? Detail helps brand managers and product owners to keep track of ratings over time, and at different retailers, in order to effectively boost a brand or product.
Benchmark against competitors
For brand managers and retailers alike, a rating-system is a great way to benchmark against other products and retailers. It gives an instant evaluation of how well you are performing in this very moment. Are the product specifications up to date? You can be sure you’ll find out if they are not. Is the website easy to navigate, can the consumers find the products they are looking for? Expect low consumer ratings if they can’t. Consumer rating is a tool for feedback and evaluation, make sure to use it. Don’t despair over a bad rating; make sure to learn from it in order to get better. Because that is the secret of reaching a 5-star rating – the ability to listen and respond.
How to reach 5-stars
The headline is misleading, there are no secret tricks to getting an instant 5-star rating. That is also why it is so valuable, consumers know that if a store or product has enough ratings, it will be somewhat accurate. But there are steps that you can take in order to increase your chances of hitting the review jackpot. As an online channel manager, you can make sure that your products are visible, searchable and properly listed – in that way making the consumer experience a pleasant one. In a physical store it’s easy to check that your products are correctly displayed, but online it has been harder. Until now, thanks to Detail Online. Detail helps to collect information to evaluate your online presence and product description pages, making it easier to identify improvements in the shopping experience (which leads to better consumer ratings).
An ongoing process
Like concluded above, the only way to become and stay a 5-star retailer is to listen to the consumers. To make continuous improvements and to be consistent in everything that you do. And to put emphasis on proper product display and a smooth shopping experience.
Make sure that your brand and product is visible, has a good share of shelf and is kept in stock. Focus on the details. And reach for the stars.
Good luck with your sales!
Contact us today for more information
The UK is finally enjoying a sizzling hot summer and the holiday promotions are rolling out, however, for brands, retailers and CPM alike it’s never too early to think about Christmas. It may not be until November when sales really take-off, but every year Christmas seems to come earlier. The first consumers usually start to buy for the festive season in September!
Shoppers in the UK will spend a record £4.5bn on food and drink in the final week before Christmas, this year, shrugging off higher prices caused by the fall in the value of the pound since the EU referendum and total spending on festive feasts will be up by 3.6% as families prepare for the big day, according to analysts at Nielsen.
However, the stark fact facing brands is that that due to this pressure on store staff, availability and promotional compliance of brands can drop by almost 10% at this most critical time of the commercial calendar.
Fortunately for Brands, CPM’s focus on compliance and availability saw us deliver some great results for our clients in 2017. For a leading FMCG brand, we drove an over-index on facings v planogram for 7 key SKU’s, and an ROI of 19:1. A great achievement at a crucial time of year.
Every year we get better, and last Christmas saw us deliver a 91% increase in incremental sales versus 2 year previous (2015) – demonstrating our commitment to continual improvement to drive more for our clients.
Calling into grocery, high street and discounters, the team are ready to switch on when and where you need them, with as little as 48 hours’ notice. They are made up of 350+ retail experts, who spend more than 27,000 hours in store every single month – giving them an unrivalled view of the store. We use this insight, along with our store relationships to drive results for our clients.
The team can deliver across a number of services including;
We are now booking in Christmas activity, and would love to talk to you about your brand plans, and how we could help.
Get in touch today – 01844 261777 firstname.lastname@example.org
Outsourced Field Sales Team – What happens at night….
This month’s Expert Speak comes from Bastiaan van Houten, MD, CPM Netherlands. In 2001 Bastiaan started his CPM career with a field sales job at Diageo and in 2004 moved into CPM’s Dutch head office for a role in direct sales. After various roles and positions Bastiaan started Cosine Benelux in 2011 and merged this business in 2015 with CPM Netherlands.
In this article we would like to showcase a new solution for our logistic process and the path we followed to get there. We all know the challenges in our Industry, clients asking us to improve ROI by driving efficiency whilst on the other side we experience increasing prices and a tight labour market. Let’s take you to the situation that triggered this new business innovation.
Imagine yourself; a client with an outsourced field sales team, the sales representatives are working on a maximum workload (#locations and #tasks per store). The client wants to expand the number of locations, without budget for extra resources. They ask CPM for a solution. We all know these challenges, drive efficiency and improve ROI.
On the other side the project manager has the same challenge. The labour market is tight, suppliers are raising their prices on a yearly base and we’ve already implemented several efficiency plans with this client. Expanding stores means expanding the team or downsizing the tasks.
CPM organised a brainstorm and investigation session and it became clear: the big bottleneck in the efficiency was the time the team spent driving to the storage location and then to the first appointment. We knew if there was a way we could do things differently we could create more time in-store, which would result in achieving an increase in ROI.
Now that we had identified the bottleneck we were close to the solution. How can we improve? What is not used yet…..? Exactly, the night! Yes, we can do an overnight car delivery and forget about our traditional storage! Whilst the team sleeps we can get all materials delivered to their cars, so when they wake up they can go straight to their first address, eureka!
But would this be cost efficient? We put all the elements in a calculation module. The cost for cost calculation ended up equal, but we were able to increase in-store coverage by 6% to 8%. By switching to overnight car delivery we found a cost and time efficient solution. We managed to expand the stores, using the same quantity of people and tasks, without raising the costs. Case Closed!
Overnight car delivery
How it works: The driver picks up the materials at a dropping point. The cars are equipped with a high tech GPS system that allocates the cars they need to supply and directly calculates the most efficient route. The car boot can be opened with a smart lock, which locks again automatically. Returns can be picked up by the driver at the same time. A flexible solution, that’s scalable when needed.
At this moment we’re rolling this out with our first client and expect many to follow. Overnight delivery is a cost effective solution for areas with a high density and raising salaries, small countries with many inhabitants or the bigger urban area’s in low density countries.
As an outsourced sales agency we need to keep looking to the future and what the future is bringing us. The time we live in is very exciting; of course clients & employees are more and more demanding. However on the other side the world is changing so rapidly there are innovative solutions everywhere. Let’s explore them, find out how we can use and implement these new solutions in our daily business. Embrace new technologies and continuously be that innovative and flexible partner that looks one step ahead.
We’re thrilled to announce that CPM UK Jobs is starting the summer in style with the launch of our new careers website. With a fresh look and feel, and improved functionality, the site has been designed and developed to offer online candidates a fantastic user experience and successfully guide them to take the next step in their career journey with CPM.
We’re people first
We work in sales and we know that we’re nothing without our amazing teams. Finding, developing and nurturing the best talent in the UK is what enables us to help our clients achieve their goals.
As an outsourced partner, providing Field Sales and Contact Centre solutions – people are our product, so we have to win the war for talent to attract and retain the best people. That journey starts with attracting and engaging candidates through an innovative and user friendly site, allowing us to match talented people with amazing opportunities with the likes of Diageo, Mars, Wrigley, Sky, Stanley, Black and Decker and many more.
New and improved
New features include intuitive navigation, greater functionality, easy search, mobile responsiveness, all while enabling candidates to browse our latest selection of sales opportunities up and down the UK.
Candidates can now create an online application account that makes it easy to view the status of job applications, keep up to date with all communications related to new opportunities and makes it simple to schedule interviews. Personalised job alerts will let candidates know when relevant opportunities become available and the new and improved search functionality gives users the freedom to search for roles by keywords or by sectors that include office, contact centre, permanent, part time and flexible field vacancies.
Our new website is bright, engaging and vibrant – exactly the qualities that we look for in our candidates! As a client of CPM, you can be confident in our commitment to winning the war for talent and delivering world class people and teams. Please take a look at our new site
The Means Matter – Improving Sales
Our latest CPM Expert Speak comes from Mandeep Singh; MD & CEO, CPM India.
The process of closing a business at CPM India is akin to any other business pitching to win. Upon receiving the requirements, we prepare extensively by discerning the pain points of our prospective client, strategise masterfully the exact method of execution, and present stunningly to secure the client and win the business.
Moments of celebration later, a conventional business would begin the process of delivering on the promised key performance indicators and commence the execution of the won project. This is the output phase where a company gets lost in the daily grind of achieving the end results of increasing the share of shelves, improving sales numbers, etc.
A vacuum is created between these two phases which is what separates CPM India from the conventional business. We, at CPM India, believe that ‘the means matter’ and we put the same amount of efforts in this input phase as any other phase. How do we do that?
We do it through PERFORMICS which is nothing but performing retail execution by building better insights and capabilities for improving sales. We essentially integrated CPM’s brand essence to create a product that puts us on the retail intelligence map.
PERFORMICS is a tool-aided process to synergize the efforts of different silos and smooth the flow of information from the top to bottom and vice versa. It enables the client teams to plan activities such as merchandising activities, target tracking, and route planning through a customized web portal, the information from which directly flows to the android applications available with the field sales force which can use it to easily capture data and carry out the planned activities and also provide the client sales teams access to real time information. PERFORMICS includes compliance and analytics modules to audit the work and transform the available data into actionable retail insights. The whole process accelerates the performance and improves the sales manifold.
PERFORMICS has been a great enabler for us to look at the quality of inputs and focus on some data points to ensure that the end results are achieved. All in all,
PERFORMICS is a way to fill the void that existed in a client-agency relationship and has opened the doors for CPM India to venture into the retail intelligence space and make a huge impact. More importantly, PERFORMICS lets CPM India work more effectively for its existing clients to create insights that create the influence to drive sales.
The Key to Delivering a Successful Regional Sales Activity
Delivering Success Across the Region
Our latest CPM Expert Speak comes from Martin Ryan; Chief Development Officer at CPM Group of Companies Asia Pacific. Martin has worked for CPM for eighteen years and has over twenty five years industry experience. He has overseen numerous regional projects, experienced great success, but also some crushing disappointments.
Here’s his candid overview of how to deliver regional success based on personal hard lessons learned.
Delivering Regional Success
Winning regional business across a diverse geography is a special thrill. Within the space of a few hundred miles, languages, cultural norms, and currency can morph into something wholly different. Navigating across regions is always tricky and although better communication tools may have made distance seem smaller, the secret of successful regional sales activity lies in how we combine the efficiency of modern technology with other more human tools.
The Starting Line
Start by defining your team’s purpose. When CPM Singapore embarked on a regional project with a leading tech client we spent time completing a detailed analysis of their particular vision of success. What were the common threads applicable to all countries? What were the precise elements of measurement?
If possible, look for insight to those who are already delivering. A major factor in CPM Singapore winning a regional project with another tech giant was the time invested in understanding how the established Australian team delivered their strong track record of success. They were hugely generous in sharing their knowledge and we made substantial effort to join the dots so we could apply their established procedures across the region. This knowledge also gave us deep insight into the client’s culture and their expectations of an outsourced field sales agency. I believe this was a significant differentiator between CPM and our competitors, and a critical part of our successful bid.
You Need a Detailed Contract
Once the team’s purpose is clearly defined, time must be taken to draw up a robust contract. Of course, it’s always hoped that everyone will play fair, but when crossing country boundaries it is crucial to state any legal liabilities, payment terms, and other obligations. Painstakingly outlining these clauses is something I learned the hard way. Relationships built on trust are important, but when other departments and countries get involved you need an unambiguous written agreement that balances transparency with what you may normally be take on trust.
You also need a clear process to manage billing and currency fluctuations. Having this in place in advance makes billing seamless and revenue easier to forecast. Outlining obligations when the contract ends is also important as different employment laws exist in different countries and you don’t want to be exposed to large redundancy payments.
This is also the time to set some ground rules for communication and response times, and all KPIs should be stated. Clearly outlining these before the activity starts will set realistic expectations and avoid mission creep.
Build Credibility by Building Key Relationships
A regional team must ooze credibility and to do this they must be capable. Some of the leadership attributes required include a good dose of self- confidence, the ability to think clearly and make decisions, being self- driven when remote, endowed with brilliant communication skills, technically astute, and not scared to present both to groups and in front of the camera. An underrated skill is the ability to communicate over the telephone, both one to one and in a conference call.
To make regional activity fly you also have to be a relationship ninja.
Start by knowing the client’s country by country structure. How does it differ? Who are the key people and what do they do? Have a clear understanding of which relationships to concentrate on and then put the time in to make them work.
Part of this includes an attitude of transparency and openness which can go beyond your working life. Trust people and give them access to your calendar, include details like holidays and children’s events at school. We live in a time when the boundaries between work and life are blurred and a regional role means you will be working outside of your own time zone’s conventional working day. This is the new norm so embrace it and make it part of your life. Inject a genuine and vigorous enthusiasm.
Once you have established this human connection and built key relationships at a local level you will know who to contact in each market, you will build respect, save time and avoid potential misdirection.
Make Your Field or Contact Centre Team the Most Important Aspect of the Activity
Your most important customers are the team delivering results. They’re the ones generating sales and smashing targets. They’re also spread over a large geography and making them feel part of a unified, emotionally connected team is a critical priority. Involve them, talk to them face to face whenever possible and painstakingly understand their needs and frustrations. Take the time to really listen and make sure you paraphrase what they are saying to prove you have heard them.
A regional sales project requires a global vision to set the strategy, but management of it needs to be carried out regionally utilising a deep insight into local processes. It takes dogged determination and patience to unravel and understand each step of the data collection process and collation of reporting. Acquiring this knowledge ensures a strong foundation, and facilitates informed decision making. Applying this rigor along with an understanding of where existing CPM solutions can fill gaps means you can make informed and creative decisions on what to adopt, or if it almost works, what to adapt, and only as a last resort do you revert to reinvention.
Grow Your Capabilities and be Innovative
Regional sales activity is not rigid; it is an iterative process that requires a solution that’s nimble and responsive. Knowing how to leverage existing solutions and apply the best of what is available locally is a fine balance, as giving teams too much freedom can compromise results. You need to know what’s non-negotiable and apply a rigorous application of continuous improvement. When you spend time understanding how people work you will know when it’s time to use the carrot, and when use of the stick is more appropriate.
To summarise, here’s what I’ve learned about running a successful regional sales activity. Start by really knowing your purpose, both regionally and in each country. Once you have clearly defined your objectives, assemble the reporting structure around them. Adopt processes that work elsewhere in your business, adapt them to give local relevance, and only reinvent as a last resort. Make sure you have a detailed contract and include clauses that define liabilities.
Build key relationships. Success stems from open human trust. When possible be available across the region’s working day but also let people know when you are not available. Embed yourself into your client’s organisation and become indispensable without being arrogant.
Build credible and capable teams, culturally adaptable and results focused. Understand and connect with your sales team. Make sure they feel you are involving them and understand their needs and frustrations. Grow your capabilities. Solutions are iterative and constantly evolving. Be energetic and responsive and don’t become complacent.
Branching out from the local to the regional can be bewildering and at times maddeningly frustrating, but it can also be richly rewarding and joyous, transforming your understanding of both yourself and the hyper connected global world we inhabit. Fully embracing a deep knowledge of your client and becoming a trusted indispensable regional partner is one of the best things in our business.