While we are thankfully moving further into a post pandemic environment, there are still many tactics that we can take away from the digital strategies adopted during this past year. Through all the transitions by both vendor and retailer the ability to adapt and move quickly is pertinent to success within this modern age. Here are a few tactics that will help bring efficiency, better customer service, and an overall better revenue stream for your Sales Reps.
To start, through our research here at Envoy B2B, it’s clear retailers are looking for a personal connection to their reps now more than ever. It continues to be incredibly important to deliver that human touch. This means that reps are more valuable than ever.
So, what are the best methods a rep can use to stay engaged with their retail accounts? Surprisingly, it doesn’t look that different even after the Covid-19 Pandemic.
First, never discount the power of a phone call. It’s a great way to deliver helpful data to retailers. Simply reporting ordering data, top styles,and colors (both regionally and overall), sell through information (our locally integration is clutch here), and any other data relevant to that retailer takes minimal time, saves them the effort of looking it up, and keeps you connected. By adding a quick follow up email with the information conveyed over your conversation you can showcase the ability to order inventory that is successful and additionally round out their existing on-hand selection.
The desire to do business as close to in person as possible is so incredibly important in these crazy times, and continuing that personal engagement is of utmost importance. While some brands are beginning to do face-to-face line reviews and store visits, continuing to utilize Zoom, or a digital meeting is key. Order suggestions are a much better tool than an emailing back and forth.
Within Envoy B2B the reps can easily send over a suggested order, including quantities and merchandising assets which are all easily adjustable by the retailer. A major challenge in the current state of retail is the buyers time and ability to focus on orders. Many retailers are juggling multiple tasks and any option to save time is beneficial to them. That human interaction that can be found on a video call can be just the thing to save them time and effort and help them towards hitting that “submit” button.
Keep The Shelves Full
One of the largest challenges we have seen in the past year is in allocation, and availability to sell. Most retailers/buyers focus on top styles, or the top 20% of products offered by a vendor. When these styles are sold out it isn’t uncommon for them to just stop ordering. It is incredibly important to help with continuing to keep product in reach of the retailer, opening the door to products and add-ons they maybe didn’t think could be previously successful.
Sending over a weekly Available to Sell report with included styles or opportunities is a wonderful way to round out their assortment, move through less demanded inventory, and continue to drive ROI. Additionally, adding this ATS report to a suggested order shows that you continue to be engaged in the retailer’s success by offering further opportunities for them to sell and delight customers
Deliver The Down Low
Lastly, knowing the reality of supply chain these days we all acknowledge the amount of order cancellations, limited size runs, etc. Being forward and up front with the retailers will continue that level of personal touch and respect. Making sure that they have constant information on cancellations will be pivotal for retaining their business with you. These are the toughest conversations to have but in these trying times working through this together will demonstrate respect for your retailers and maintaining the longevity and strength of that relationship.
As we move forward from the pandemic it’s clear that reps play that critical role of maintaining personal, human connections with retailers. We've all seen an increase in digital strategies. But our research shows us these digital methods are best used as an additional tool to add to the already established longstanding relationships, not as a replacement for human interactions.
When we combine the efficiency of a digital platform with the experience, knowledge, and personability of a sales rep, the outcome and revenue growth is beyond quantifiable. Even more important, these levels of engagement build a longstanding level of trust, respect, and interest in supporting your business and furthering investment into your brand.