Trade promotions or schemes are very important component of sales & distribution ecosystems, especially for FMCG companies. While the schemes can be run for different stakeholders such as distributor, wholesaler, retailer or the end customer, it is most commonly used during secondary sales to benefit the retailers on top of their regular margin. The actual reason behind launching a scheme can be diverse – such as seasonality, competitor’s activity, clearing old stock, promoting new products or simply gaining retailer loyalty. That’s why Trade Schemes are an integral part of FMCG business process and plays a major role in the success of the business.
Other than the importance, one more factor where most of the sales veterans will agree is complications involved in designing such schemes. One simple reason that can be attributed towards this complication is different combinations that can be formed on the basis of different components such as scheme type, reward type, slabs, capping, scheme applicability etc. Keeping in mind the importance and complication, the SFA solution that you are using (or contemplating to use) must have a robust Trade Scheme module to cater to all your needs.
So how do you evaluate? Well, you need to look at the following four parameters and evaluate on the basis of the same:
Flexibility in Scheme Definition: As mentioned earlier, designing a scheme is a complicated task because of the number of variables that can be associated with a scheme. So, the system should also be flexible enough to accommodate all such variability and their combinations. Here is a list of those variable factors:
- Type of Scheme: The scheme can be applied on overall order value or on order volume or on both. The system must have these options and also, option to define the amount (for value based schemes) and the quantity (for volume based schemes) that will trigger the scheme.
- Type of Reward: The reward can also be either on value or volume. While value reward can be simply a % discount on the total billed amount, volume reward gets tricky because its associated with free items and there can be options where even if the scheme is applicable on product ‘X’, the free goodies are either ‘Y’ or ‘Z’. The system must be capable of designing such schemes as well.
- Slab-based Reward: Be it a discount or some free items, rewards are never the same. In order to incentivize the retailer to place more order, usually slabs are created in each scheme with higher rewards on more purchase. That kind of option must be there in your SFA.
- Capping: At times, you may not want to put a cap on the order value or volume up to which discount or freebies will be applicable. If the option is not available, you may be handicapped while designing schemes for certain high value items.
Scheme Applicability: Trade promotions are never universal. Their applicability depends on different parameters. Some of the parameters are explained below and your SFA solution must be able to define the schemes basis these parameters.
- Product Hierarchy: A scheme can be at any level of the product hierarchy. For example, it can be designed for an entire segment or for a particular product category or for certain SKUs or something else. There must be option to define that hierarchy and its respective values where the scheme is applicable.
- Outlets: Schemes are usually different for different channels, states, regions etc. So there must be flexibility to map schemes to desired outlets only.
- Duration: Although a basic one, but it’s worth mentioning that there must be flexibility to define scheme period as per the actual business requirement.
Mobile App Workflow: When your Sales Executive is on the field and talking to a retailer, only source of information he has in the SFA app. So, it must have all the information related to all ongoing schemes and the design must be intuitive enough so the sales person can quickly check those information as and when required and answer to the retailer queries. Also the app must show the scheme achievement for each scheme during order taking and final order submission.
Ease of Integration: Usually the final invoice value for any order is calculated in the DMS or ERP system during invoice processing. It will be a duplicacy of effort to maintain the schemes both at SFA and at DMS / ERP end. That’s why it’s very important the schemes can be integrated between the two systems in either direction. You SFA solution must have be capable enough to accommodate such integrations without much effort.