More than 20% of convenience retailers have questioned the accuracy of the information given to them by sales reps, according to a recent study across the major symbol groups. However, sales reps are still a critical go-to resource for most retailers. So, what is it that these retailers really want from suppliers? How can we improve the flow of information to them, and ultimately grow sales with them?
5 things retailers want from suppliers
1. Share advice on how I can grow sales in your categories
64% of symbol retailers want access to training modules that focus specifically on growing category sales. The first place they currently turn for this advice is their symbol group, then supplier sales reps, and then trade press. Sales reps still play a critical role in educating retailers on how to grow their categories.
2. Keep me updated on your brands and products
The majority of symbol retailers (60%) would welcome training modules, directly from suppliers, informing them about their products, brands, offers and NPD. More than 1-in-2 retailers would like to be able to access these types of modules on their mobile devices, giving them the flexibility to read and learn at a time convenient to them.
3. Ensure your sales reps are well-informed
20-25% of symbol retailers question the accuracy of the information that sales reps share with them. Recent research shows that only 38% of retailers think sales reps ALWAYS give accurate information, even about their own products and brands. The cost of supplier sales reps passing on incorrect information could be significant, from both a financial and trust-building perspective.
4. Don't rely solely on your field-based sales team to spread the word
Suppliers should not assume that information from their sales reps is filtering all the way through to store staff. 38% of symbol retailers say that sales reps don't talk to their staff, they only speak to store managers. There is a risk that things will get 'lost in translation', or even not passed on to store staff. It's worth noting that most store staff don't regularly read trade press either. Suppliers need to find a way to communicate critical information, not only to the store managers but to the store staff.
5. Let's take it online
61% of symbol retailers say they'd like access to online training modules. At Bolt, we’re working with leading FMCG suppliers, to embrace eLearning and develop training modules that ensure their field-based sales force is armed with the right tools to grow sales with their retail partners. And, better still, in some cases, they're cutting out the middle man and sending these eLearning modules DIRECTLY to the retailers and retail staff.