A Look at Procter & Gamble.
Procter & Gamble recently announced that it will sell about half of its brands over the next two years in an effort to refocus on core products and emerging markets. This is a bold move for P&G and reflects a renewed clarity on the fact that you can be the best in key markets or try to reach all markets, but you can’t do both effectively at once.
From the perspective of P&G’s sales force, customers, and customers’ customers, this shift is great news. The sales leaders, operations and frontline reps will be able to focus all efforts on providing retailers with the products that differentiate them in the market and have the highest growth potential. Meanwhile, P&G buyers will have a clearer understanding of P&G’s direction and value as a partner in achieving their business results.
In continuing with CEO A. G. Lafley’s belief that “less will be much more”, P&G’s big data operations will improve with a narrowed scope and focus. In turn, the insights they generate will provide more value to customers (and further downstream, to consumers). The sales force will grow as experts in their customer’s business at an accelerated and compounding rate.
This latest innovation builds on P&G's strong legacy, and marks the company's continued commitment to improving sales effectiveness.
A History of Sales Innovation
Over the past decade, FMCG companies have been key innovators in the field of sales and Procter & Gamble is no exception. In the past several years, P&G, along with FMCG peers, has become truly customer focused, restructuring its organizations to form dedicated customer teams for large accounts.
Driving the creation of multi-function customer account teams, Tom Muccio led the company's global relationship with Walmart for 15 years. He commented, "Prior to the initiation of the efficient customer response team concept, P &G's relationship with Walmart was transactional, focused on and driven by internal processes and, frankly, a bit adversarial." Think about it: how many of your customer relationships are defined by those same characteristics today?
To remedy the dysfunctional situation, Muccio explained, "Instead of just a salesperson, we had people that were responsible for finance, for IT, for customer service, for logistics, from both companies." Collaborating to address the pain points in the relationship, the cross-functional group started by fixing the things that were broken, but the conversation expanded in scope.
"It was the ability to invent the future together and that was the big idea and the big payoff for both companies," Muccio continued. One example: past replenishment processes demanding 15 hands to touch an issue and providing no tracking between hand-offs was streamlined. Today, Walmart no longer even places an order. Using data, P&G's resource writes the order within Walmart's inventory expectations and follows it through the system.
The results of the customer account teams and collaboration: in the first six years of the new arrangement, P&G's sales to Walmart grew from $350 to $7.8 billion.
Granted, few organizations are as big as Procter & Gamble. Few companies sell to customers as big as Walmart, but what can you take away from P&G's sales innovations? How can they apply to your industry? What is the potential to grow your business?
For a more in-depth look at sales innovations in the FMCG industry, read the BTS White Paper.
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