Optimizing Route Planning with Consumer Goods Cloud


AllCloud Blog: Cloud Insights and Innovation

Only 50% of Consumer Goods leaders recently said that they felt satisfied with Field sales rep productivity as a part of their execution processes.*

In the current market situation, consumer goods companies face a number of challenges. And while these challenges may look different this year than last, they also bring a lot of new opportunities to reimagine and innovate into the next phase of what the consumer goods and retail landscape may look like.

To stay competitive and future-proof in today’s market, consumer goods companies need to look at how they optimize and invest to deliver an enhanced experience across their entire value chain, while simultaneously eliminating wasted spend. 

One of the main areas of opportunity that we have repeatedly encountered with our consumer goods customers is the inefficiencies of their delivery and route visits. Resources are limited, and people’s time is now more valuable than ever. As such, consumer goods companies must find ways to optimize their route planning to maximize smart travel decisions while balancing the prioritization and meeting the demands of their customers based on where they are located.

Over the last 7 years of working with consumer goods companies, we regularly hear from sales reps on the following:

  • How can I better use the data to prioritize and get to more visits in a day?
  • While conducting a visit, there is too much data to capture, how can we cut down my time entering data?

 

Conversely, we consistently hear sales managers being challenged with: 

  • I’m unable to get a good grasp and full view on how efficient my reps are and all of their activities to track their visits so that I can see where we need to prioritize and improve.
  • How can I get my reps to increase their productivity by enabling faster route planning for visits?
  • How can I get them to easily leverage the data without wasting time?

 

To get there, it’s important to consider the right technology that can provide the flexibility to address challenges above and beyond sales productivity and effectiveness, across your operations. Salesforce enables consumer goods organizations to improve field rep productivity through very concise action plans, allowing them to strategically plan and set up routes with these 4 key areas of functionality: 

1. Customer Segmentation

To enable field rep productivity, it’s imperative to understand the hierarchy of your customer accounts and have a strategy for managing your accounts on an ongoing basis. This means understanding where the respective stores and distribution centers are located in relation to competitors and which ones you need to visit by the assortment of your product. 

2. Territory & Route Assignments

Saving time is important, especially in today’s current market. This means being as efficient as possible when it comes to planning out your week and where you will be traveling. Consumer Goods (CG) Cloud allows for intelligent route planning and execution, streamlining visits to territories based on what seems the most logical choice based on store location, product groupings, priority and rep availability. This ultimately increases the amount of productivity for the sales rep by minimizing travel time.

3. Activity Planning

When visiting a location, you need to make sure you are making the best use of your time as well as the store manager’s. CG Cloud activity planning makes you more strategic by ensuring that the following types of tasks are conducted before visiting the store:

  • Inventory checks, Promotion validation and compliance, Orders, Planogram review
  • Reviewing KPI’s and performance data with store managers

 

4. Visit Scheduling

Once a store visit is scheduled, providing visibility to your management team becomes helpful to collaborate on what needs to take place before the visit is conducted.

Managing multiple territories or accounts can be time consuming, but it’s a necessary task to get field reps making visits in order to move along the activities that need to occur. Consumer Goods Cloud enables field reps to improve visit planning, giving them the ability to build a list of prioritized and assigned store visits for the day with required and suggested activities and easy in-app map functionality to intelligently manage routing. Beyond just making the visits, these capabilities can allow reps to elevate their output by easily analyzing the health of their business and using the data to uncover new opportunities. 

Consumer Goods Cloud streamlines this with tools to help sales managers handle sales territories and field rep assignments at scale while ensuring field reps are visiting the right stores at the right time. And with optimal routing, field reps can spend less time on the road and more time in the store building relationships.

Over the past 10+ years in the Salesforce ecosystem, and having worked with a number of consumer organizations from food service distribution to retail, I’ve found a number of common best practices that fit within Salesforce and CG Cloud to enable organizations to get the most value out of not only their field reps but in optimizing their operations as a whole. We’ve worked to develop recommended process flows in order to provide the right guidance for conducting a visit. 

To find out more about how to start evaluating how Salesforce Consumer Goods Cloud could fit into your organization and deliver against your long term strategy, check out AllCloud’s 2 week assessment today. 

Ojay Malonzo

Read more posts by Ojay Malonzo