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CPG Sales

How to answer the dreaded question…

How to answer the dreaded question

The number one objective you have is to make a number…your number. For those in the leadership that haven’t had that problem recently, please go read another blog or social media site. But if you have been struggling for answers toward that end, I have great news or maybe horrible news depending on your perspective.
And Hey, that’s what this is about…Results.
People make spreadsheets not the other way around..
Yet, far too often you are sentenced to live by the graphic on the left. Not anymore. After all you are the responsible party.
I can’t sugar coat this even though you want me to. The answer to the question in the title of this post is……..

Not a shock I know. Let me suggest as I have in previous posts that you have the wrong people, wrong resources, lack of training, etc. Why should you keep reading?

Because you want to know how to tell if you have the “right” people on your team.  Not convinced with my answer? Consider this; in a down economy, diversity and CPG Sales talent management is especially critical to maintaining and improving company performance. And improving company performance is your job and the proof is in the spreadsheet.

Discover if your have and are hiring the “right” CPG sales people by this simple test….Are they thinkers or doers or both? (Both)  Are they competent as financial analysts, shopper insight managers, go to market strategists as well as possessing the normal sales skills set? That’s how you know. If someone on your team lacks any of these or most of them, you have the wrong person. “But Bob, we don’t have time to train these folks, we’re too busy making our number.”

Look, if you want to continue using that excuse that’s your choice.  Or you can use the blueprint outlined in the Kearney Report; that’s going to take some buy in by your boss, but you know what…It’s the cure for the ailing spreadsheet. Because now you have a plan. Now when asked the dreaded question-“What are we doing about these numbers,” “Investing in training our CPG sales force in the “cross-functional dynamics,” is your answer.  Not doing it is no longer optional. See below from the GMA (Grocery Manufacturers Association) 2009 report:

What are the leading CPG sales force talent management insights?

• CPG sales superstars have a general management mindset; they are “thinkers”
and “doers”
• Integrated talent strategies align talent management activities with business
objectives across levels, functions and geographies
• Top talent programs balance formal processes with efforts to generate personal
• Incorporating a broad concept of diversity into corporate DNA drives innovation,
improves market insight and increases access to top talent

How can CPG manufacturers achieve world-class sales talent management?

• Chart a sales talent management road map. Determine the impact sales talent
has on corporate objectives, what skills and capabilities create customer value,
and which specific activities will deliver desired talent management outcomes
• Articulate, activate, sustain. Assign accountability across executives, sales leaders
and HR executives
• Support the sales talent strategy. Ensure executive sponsorship, incentives, tools
and technology, transparent communication, and performance metrics are in place

What is the value of getting sales talent management right?

• Higher sales productivity and top-line growth
• Stronger customer relationships that provide deeper access and greater impact
• Increased recruiting success among high-caliber CPG salespeople, with lower
voluntary attrition

Some of the best advice I ever received was in college from my late journalism professor…He said the broader your skill set, the more valuable you’ll be.


About Bob Innes

Who am I and what I do best! I am a skilled Sales and Marketing team player known for performing behind the scenes miracles that increase base distribution, improve customer relationship management, exceed annual sales volume,and profitability for Consumer Packaged Goods companies. And I've been doing it for over 15 years. My successful contributions include such clients as Kraft Foods, Mars, Bumble Bee Foods, Unilever, Johnson and Johnson and SC Johnson, and JM Smuckers.


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