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Robin Bartling: Perfecting Sales Execution

Large brands can take five steps to take advantage of their scale advantage in sales and distribution.


Robin Bartling: Perfecting Sales Execution

Companies that achieve perfect sales execution will increase their win rate in stores and regain their growth momentum. Robin Bartling, a partner in Bain's Consumer Products practice, outlines five main steps that large brands should take to leverage their scale advantage in sales and distribution.

Read the Bain Brief: How Big Brands Can Prepare for US Grocery's Tectonic Shifts

Read the transcript below.

ROBIN BARTLING: The consumer product landscape is changing faster than ever before. So insurgent brands are making headlines, and online growth continues accelerating, while large brands are losing their growth momentum. So in this context, the key question for large brands is how to leverage their scale advantage in sales and distribution to win inside the store. So even in the digital world, the store remains a key battlefield, and that is for two main reasons. So first, while online sales continue growing, it still represents a rather small portion of many markets and categories. For example, think about groceries. Shoppers, they make the purchase decision only once they're inside the store, and they source from a large repertoire of brands. So being the most—and the best—activated brand inside the store makes all the difference.

Winning inside the store requires what we call at Bain perfect sales execution. It's a program designed to drive sales execution to best in class. It consists of five main steps. First, define a clear and simple picture of what success looks like for your brand, inside the store. This, of course, requires a very deep understanding of the sales levers that help you to drive category growth and help you to expand your brand. For example, secondary placements or multiphasings for hero SKUs. Second, we translate these brand guidelines into specific sales standards and nonnegotiable execution activities inside each of the store segments.

Third, we engage your customer on your vision of success by aligning their trade terms and trade investments to execution performance. Fourth, we instill a culture of continuous improvement by defining a clear set of simple but reliable metrics of compliance, by reviewing the incentive system, and by training your people in the field. And finally, we leverage technology. For example, mobile apps for shelf analytics, which allow you to improve the planogram compliance and also allow you to feed back insights, in real time, to your sales force. Companies that achieve to implement perfect sales execution increase their win rate inside the store and regain growth momentum.

Read the Bain Brief

How Big Brands Can Prepare for US Grocery's Tectonic Shifts

As US consumer trends shift and grocers react, consumer goods companies face massive risks to their growth and profit formulas.


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