Often times we’ve seen intelligent-looking people (generally wearing a suit :)) take the podium in conferences and give out the war cry of “Digital Transformation”.
The many humble souls in the audience (yours truly included) often end up wondering what this really means. Well, a few years of being partners in the experience of 100s of customers, lakhs of sales folks and millions of retailers taught us something and today I’d like to share that with you.
What we’ve found is that digital is the force that helps you overcome gravity to then move to the next orbit of growth.
Imagine the centre of your universe is the sun… err the customer, the giver of life & growth.
Imagine you’re conducting your business with pen & paper while continuing to remain oblivious to the universe around you.
Without the sun rays (a.k.a. digitization) you are in the farthest orbit with limited opportunities to scale up and grow and remain relevant to customers. Over time, the folks in this orbit will stop existing.
Next, imagine you adopt some basic form of digitization and escape the Orbit of Irrelevance. You’ve transformed by moving from pen & paper to automating several workflows including order management, distributor claims or asset tracking and management. This has given you access to good data, which in turn empowers you to build a smart sales force that takes decisions based on real-time data.
In this orbit, you get answers to questions like:
The good news is that you’ve moved the needle. Take a bow because you’ve survived.
The not-so-good news, however, is that every one of your competitors is there and soaking in the same amount of growth-giving rays from the customer that you are getting.
However, there are spaceships here that can take you to the next orbit of growth into…
It’s here that folks get brighter and more growth giving rays from the customer. It’s where organizations start assisting their teams to do better rather than just getting them to comply.
So what are the spaceships that are waiting in this orbit and where do they take you?
A) Spaceship SO: SO is Suggested Order that burns way lesser sales energy to go further into the next orbit, The Orbit of Inspiration. It helps you overcome the gravitational pull that prevents high growth and lets your sales team achieve superhuman skills (almost like the ability of a man to jump further on the moon than he can on Earth)
So instead of spending 10-15 mins per shop for taking orders of over 150 SKUs, you’ve cut that down to half while helping him sell more lines per successful call (LPSC)
You can read more about it here.
B) Spaceship BV: BV is to check in-store brand visibility by using image recognition capabilities that actually work in the real world. Yes, you heard that right. 🙂 So deterrents like photos taken at an angle, low light, glare, and low quality are overcome to help you analyze where your BTL spends are going. All this by asking retailers to click and share images of signage and shelves in return for the money/promotions you are already giving them.
Where does this take you? To a place of understanding the extent of your outlet reach and visibility. This tech also gives you insights into where to spend and how to spend your promotion budget more effectively and get the maximum bang for your buck.
To get into this orbit, you need not have been to the previous orbit, but it does help!
What you do need is an interplanetary craft (read: retailer app) with simple controls (read: user experience) and the courage to let retailers order your product directly (pull-based distribution) while continuing to reach out to them via your traditional distribution system.
In this orbit, you can speak to the retailer directly and eliminate leakage prevalent in other orbits. Here you can do some great stuff like:
Inspiration, though, isn’t like a quick shot of caffeine: it’s something that you need to believe in and stick to for long periods of time for you to be able to eventually get your KROs (key retail outlets) – who have been your friends – to remain your friend and help you deliver highly successful new product launches as you stay relevant to the customer.
It’s not easy, but remember…