The consumer goods sector has faced extreme disruption in recent years. Shopping behaviours have transformed rapidly whilst supply chains have struggled to evolve. Consumer Packaged Goods (CPGs) manufacturers are facing into this imbalance and under increasing amounts of pressure to deliver business growth whilst balancing cost. For CPGs to succeed in this challenging environment, rethinking their B2B route to market is critical.
The tension between cost and growth
Traditionally, CPGs have relied on internal and/or third-party field sales as a key point of differentiation for the independent/fragmented trade. Brands that followed this model utilised a highly knowledgeable sales force to grow and maintain relationships with their customer base. However, this model is facing a number of challenges:
- the needs and expectations of the customer base are evolving and challenging the role of the traditional field sales engagement model
- retaining and maintaining a well-versed sales force is becoming increasingly difficult, and
- balancing a more personalised engagement model is hard to achieve whilst optimising cost to serve
To better balance cost and growth, brands have looked to new channels: voice (contact centres), customer portals, instant messaging and chatbots, amongst a host of other digital platforms. This multi-channel model has proven successful at driving efficiencies and reducing cost to serve, but lacks customer centricity – the key to driving value.
Delivering value to customers through an integrated, personalised and convenient experience
The opti-channel route to market involves giving customers multiple channels that are truly integrated to deliver a seamless and personalised experience. Face-to-face, voice and digital channels are used flexibly to provide customers with the optimal channel to meet their needs at any given time. The result is an effective, customer-centric experience at an optimised cost to serve.
The value realised for brands that implement an opti-channel route to market is significant, with CPGs benefitting commercially and financially across a range of data points, such as: net revenue, NPS, sales productivity, customer coverage, cost to sell and customer attrition. For success, this approach must be supported by a mature data and analytics function, with a forensic approach to customer segmentation/clustering and well-defined value propositions.
The opti-channel equation: Key “get rights” to make it a success
- “Right” customers: developing a robust micro customer segmentation/clustering model to identify those that have the greatest potential for growth.
- “Right” propositions: targeting customers with personalised portfolio, price, promotion, and trade terms-based propositions aligned to their needs.
- “Right” contact model: achieving the right channel mix at the right frequency to provide customers with a seamless, integrated, and convenient experience that delivers value.