We’ve been blogging about customer business planning because many consumer goods companies are in the throes of it as the new year approaches. Before you decide what you’re going to present to your customer, you might need to make some changes. If last year’s plan didn’t deliver the results you’d hoped, this is the perfect time to start fresh—beginning with a new approach and mindset.
In a recent post, we talked about the importance of focusing on a customer-centric approach to your plan. You must shift the discussion to how your plan will benefit the customer—by bringing in more shoppers, with more frequency, and increasing the per-visit purchase. To be effective with your plan, consider crafting a selling story that details how you can make this happen.
Look at your customer’s KPIs. The most important one will be increasing margin. That’s what the purchasing agent is paid to do. The next directive is exacting other income (usually in the form of fees). Beyond that, other KPIs address those activities that will achieve the retailer’s outcomes.
If you want to know your customer’s KPIs, here’s a little trick we’ve learned. Ask. Talk to your customer about ways in which you can work together for better results. Find out that customer’s KPIs and uncover how they will be measured. Then go back to your team and discuss ways in which you can hit those targets squarely. Create a selling story that tells them, “We will do this to support your strategic goals, and do this to achieve your commercial goals.” The more KPIs you can build into your selling story, the more you will get your customer to sit up and take notice—and put away the rate card with all those unconditional fees (and those that look like their conditional but really aren’t).
Remember that when you enter negotiations, your buyer isn’t interested in your KPIs. He isn’t there to help you sell more product unless doing so adds to his bottom line. And if you’re not feeding that need, you’re getting in his way, which is going to cost you in more trade spend that delivers zero ROI. Look at your customer’s KPIs and think about how you can deliver on them.
Have you presented a selling story to your customer? What was the result? Do you want to know how to do a better job building your selling stories? If so, contact us.