Defining Trade Promotion Management and its Immediate Necessity
Trade promotion is a marketing technique aimed at increasing sales of a product by making it more attractive to potential customers. A great example is the ‘Buy One Get One Free’ promotion that we see everywhere in stores. There are multiple departments involved, with many cumbersome processes involved. In today’s fast-paced world, companies are turning to new technology to support these processes. Trade Promotion Management (TPM) is the process of streamlining promotions planning, breaking down silos, and creating a single source of truth that helps maximize trade spend effectiveness. It provides in-depth insight into the volume and profitability of trade promotions to help manufacturers improve their business, and aids in gathering real-time data to produce actionable information.
Even before COVID-19, changes in consumer behavior were driving companies to shift to a digital strategy. The pandemic made it clear that cross-functional collaboration among supply chains, finance, and marketing needs to be more structured than ever before. With companies putting out 20% of annual revenue towards promotions on average (McKinsey), TPM software reduces the possibility of leaving money on the table or overspending. Without TPM software, companies in the US are losing 72% of revenue with promotions, and about 55% don’t even break even (Repsly). Most companies don’t realize these large losses due to not having analytics to easily show this data; one of the main challenges facing TPM. Other harmful challenges include having outdated & unscalable technology and time-consuming manual processes that have become archaic in today’s world.
Outdated and Unscalable Technology
Many companies use ERPs combined with Microsoft Excel to run most of their trade promotions. While effective to start, these systems quickly become outdated. They do not have the required intelligence and planning built within them to manage a company’s promotions. For example, the manually built experiences never capture the entire process and are difficult to scale along with the constantly-growing company. Homegrown technologies aren’t usually the most user-friendly either. With the primary focus on “just making it work”, UI always gets left behind. If users aren’t finding the technology effective to use, user adoption always suffers. Internally built systems also consistently “break” and are costly to fix, requiring constant updates that delay everyday users. If the main architect leaves the company, it’s extremely difficult to pick up where they left off. Hiring a new architect will be costly as they need to review the entire structure, and typically need to make their own updates in order to take control of it.
A TPM software, such as Salesforce TPM, provides world-class technology to help companies control every technological aspect of their trade promotion. Using industry best practices, Salesforce TPM takes the processes and technologies that have helped Retail and Consumer Goods companies plan, execute, and track promotions and provides them to all customers. The system is scalable, sound, and constantly updated with new features to help its customers. The extremely user-friendly TPM system also makes it easier than ever for anyone involved to use the system. Available training is also available for users to understand their system and even suggest new ideas to their Admins to further enhance the customizable solution.
Time-Consuming Archaic & Manual Processes
An Account Manager’s time is stretched thin between planning, developing, and implementing promotions. These labor-intensive tasks can be extremely time-consuming without TPM software. They also need to coordinate with field reps, drive store initiatives to ensure stock is fulfilled, and analyze if they drove positive ROI. Having to complete all these tasks manually results in high overhead and potential data entry errors, causing headaches, requiring steps to be redone, ultimately slowing processes down, and costing the company money. That’s only the Account Manager. Rinse and repeat for District/Territory Managers, Sales Reps, Merchandisers, and the rest of the team, and the entire process can be extremely costly. Manually copying and pasting promotions without adjustments no longer work in today’s world either. Managers need to make adjustments before and during promotions, and doing so manually is cumbersome.
TPM software completely streamlines the entire trade promotion process, while allowing real-time visibility into the entire process. No more waiting for specific excel sheets from one person. Managers can quickly drill down into the Account or Store level, see promotion performance, and make adjustments on the fly within minutes in order to boost sales. Email notifications are automatically sent out based on these updates, ensuring everyone is kept in the loop without any surprises. Promotions can easily be cloned via drag and drop, where Reps can make adjustments that take effect immediately. Trade budgets and accrued liabilities data are in real-time so Account Managers can verify available funding to support trade plans and match claims with payment once the promotion has finished. TPM software allows teams to spend more time selling, rather than getting stuck in the manual processes. These are just a few ways TPM software is accelerating the industry.
No Easy Access to Analytics
On average, 60% of promotions go unevaluated due to the lack of analytical tools and staffing (Pointstitue). Without TPM software, companies are left in the dark when it comes to easily reporting on the success of their promotions. It can take hours to pull together metrics across multiple systems, and there’s always the chance of incorrect numbers being shown. With 72% of US companies actually losing revenue on promotions, managers need to know which ones were unsuccessful so they don’t repeat them year after year (McKinsey). Success metrics including POS growth, primary vs secondary vs tertiary sales, consumer units, incremental and spend ratios, and ultimately ROI need to be readily available in today’s fast-paced world. Manually gathering these metrics across archaic systems is no longer an option. Managers need this information in real-time, with the ability for others to also have access to the data.
Companies can unlock larger ROI from their trade spend investment if they can spot and scale their most profitable programs immediately. TPM software provides easy-to-use analytics that displays all key promotional stats in real time. Salesforce TPM even allows for the ability to easily create custom reports and dashboards to track custom KPIs from company to company. Dashboards can zoom out to display all KPIs across all promotions run that year with the ability to drill down into states, regions, cities, and specific stores. Filters can display KPIs on how specific promotions performed nationwide as well. Analytics allows teams to replicate the highest-performing promotions, and eliminate promotions that fail to break even.
Trade Promotion Management Exceeds the Standard
Without TPM software to help plan, manage, and track promotions, each one is at risk of causing overspending, stock surplus, and negatively impacting the customer’s perception of your company. The RCG industry has undergone massive changes in the last few years, causing new technology to emerge that streamline processes across the company and boosts ROI. Software like Salesforce TPM for Consumer Goods Cloud provides the ability to maximize employee productivity and maximize ROI on trade promotions.