Field sales leaders and executive teams are constantly seeking a baseline understanding of their field teams’ ability to cleanly execute and impact their sales goals. With 25 percent of sales lost due to poor retail execution, the top brands know that to meaningfully move the needle on growth, obstacles and problems in the field need to be attacked differently – which means they need to look at the problems differently, through different lenses, and additional insights.
In this blog, we’ll explore the top insights every field sales team should share with their sales executives to validate the hard work and business performance they drive.
Revenue-driving metrics are a super valuable insight to share with your sales leaders. When we say revenue-driving metrics, we’re specifically referring to your wins or verifiable data points that show growth in your brands’ performance at retail. Here are a few wins that your brand should share with leaders:
Displays won and orders placed by reps - Tracking visits is a great first step, but for advanced field teams that want to go a step further, what if you could track the revenue-driving activities during those visits? Winning new displays and placing orders are two of the activities a field team can perform that directly impact sales at retail. By tracking displays and order volume and showing positive trends over time, field teams can show executives their teams are growing their impact on sales every day.
Promotional displays built - CPG brands spend $500 billion on trade promotions every year, so your executive team must understand how they’re performing on the shelf. And according to IRI, most promotional campaigns are underway as long as 12 weeks before teams can analyze performance data, so it’s no wonder why nearly 72 percent of brands end up in the red when it comes to promotions. With so much investment put into promotions, any executive team will want to understand how effective their field team is at supporting those promotional campaigns, for example by building new displays in participating stores.
Here are a few additional revenue-driving metrics your field team can track:
- Facings gained
- New SKUs sold
- New accounts
Shelf placement is a science, but as many as 30 percent of products are not on the shelves according to plan. Field teams have an important role to play in correcting pricing errors, distribution voids, out of stocks, and other compliance errors that can cost your brand by limiting velocity off the shelf. Here are a few metrics you can share that indicate your team’s ability to protect revenue at the point of purchase.
Availability & compliance improvements - If displays & orders are your revenue-driving activities that represent growth and expansion in accounts, availability and compliance improvements are your brand’s revenue-saving activities. If a store is not in compliance with the planogram and products are not available, some products may not be making it to the appropriate store, creating less business for the brand and lowering the overall return on investment.
By tracking stores with poor compliance or availability, and then demonstrating the team's actions to fix improve execution in those stores, whether it’s through cases packed out, shelves straightened, pricing corrected, etc., you can show that your field team is driving revenue by pulling the lower-performing stores back up to baseline.
Here are a few additional revenue-saving metrics your field team can track:
- Voids Closed
- Out-of-Stocks Detected
- Cases Packed Out
- Shelves Straightened
- Pricing Corrected
Team Activity Metrics
How a field sales rep structures their day greatly impacts the output they’re capable of that day and week. By measuring not just your revenue-saving metrics in the store but how each rep spends their time every day, sales VPs and execs have a deeper insight into how their team works, and can quickly make changes if routes need optimization or reps need additional training. Check out these insights that help measure any holes on your field team:
Area Coverage - Field teams typically want to understand and be able to answer, “Where are the holes in our execution?” By sharing regular reports that display area coverage, executive teams can see how field teams are closing coverage gaps and making sure the top accounts are getting the attention they need.
Likewise, by setting coverage benchmarks based on the territory each rep is covering, compliance reports help executive teams determine and justify the size of the field team they’re investing in. If they notice they’re not receiving as much coverage as they planned for, they may determine that they’re investing in more people and getting less on the returns. Reviewing this data with field leaders or managers also presents an opportunity for course correction on any reps that consistently miss benchmarks.
Time in-store vs. travel time - By sharing this important insight, executive teams have a strong understanding of how their teams are working within optimal efficiency in the field. A lot of brands aim to achieve the 60 percent in-store / 40 percent travel time benchmark, but it’s important to keep in mind that every territory and region is different, so finding the right balance in the Northeast may be drastically different from the right balance on the West Coast. If your reps are consistently spending too much time traveling between stores, it may be time to assess their route optimization.
Performance against goals - A great way to gauge rep productivity is by comparing average field performance to see if it meets the frequency cycle that’s been set for that rep or territory. Reviewing these insights in your retail execution platform will help your business answer the question, “Are my reps hitting all the stores on their plan?”
Here are a few additional team activity metrics your field team can track:
- New Accounts Opened
- Photos Taken
Better retail execution starts with better data, and by sharing the insights above with your executive team your brand can drive business performance in every account. Check out this ebook to discover the three types of data powering high-performing retail execution teams.