How to use merchandising agency software effectively

A merchandising agency offering the services of field teams is one of those businesses that is strongly governed by the client’s market. The amount of the margin often verges on profitability. So how to look for advantages in the fight for the client and what influences the acquisition of the order? As partners and developers of the software for agencies, we know a bit about it and we will be happy to provide some inspiration.

Let’s start with the challenges:

Challenge 1. Mr Dareczek, a quote in an hour please

As a manager, you are well aware that not every client’s order allows for detailed project preparation. Specifications are often formulated in the language that does not describe quite accurately the actual scope of work. It is difficult to estimate what resources will be needed. Sometimes the time for bidding is also too short to translate the client’s requirements into the software for the agency. This increases the risk in terms of project deadlines, quality, and SFA system configuration. Here, even the profitability of the order can be at risk.

Challenge 2. Mrs. Gosia – this needs to be changed

At the beginning of the project or during its implementation, it often turns out that the client makes modifications to the assumptions because the business goals are not being met. In such situations, it is necessary to adjust the process quickly, and thus the functionality or the entire workflow supported by the software for the agency.

Challenge 3. I’m not doing it!

Agency employees, due to the nature of their work, are usually not strongly attached to their position. Moving between projects, the need for frequent travel, and the changing need for field workers result in high staff turnover. Combined with the increasing difficulties in recruiting new employees, this is the area that requires special care.

Challenge 4. Too much love will kill you

For merchandising agencies, the challenge is the need to manage resources flexibly when new orders come in. Hiring and training new staff seems to be a good solution in the short term. However, when orders run out, there is a problem of providing work for those hired and trained people, which leads to costly downtime. The optimisation of scheduling and the ability to perform tasks for new clients by existing employees in the one application for the agency is crucial here.

Is it just the price that makes the difference?

The stereotype often associated with outsourcing is to fight for customers only by means of price. It turns out, however, that more and more agencies are looking for competitive advantages in areas such as the quality of data provided, consultancy, sales of own research reports as well as efficient applications and other software. More efficient use of resources and development of competencies also open up new opportunities such as crowd sourcing, cross-selling and up-selling for existing customers. The example of effective implementation for the agency was the project with Lotto Hessen.

Field processes and supporting software for agencies

Modern agencies have adopted SFA / FFM class systems as basic digital tools that improve planning, task distribution, reporting and automated feedback in the team work. The application for merchandising agencies not only allows for more efficient data entry, but also ensures good communication between the main actors of the process: the client, agency, field force and project manager on the side of the system supplier. Thanks to this, decision-making processes and awareness of what is happening on the market are at a higher level.

A good agency app is a competitive advantage

Replacing analog tools: calendar, notebook, price list, camera, leaflets, catalog and other “gadgets” with one application on a smartphone is crucial to be competitive in the competition for contracts. The next stage of the digital revolution is automated data acquisition (see how well DANONE has done it in Poland) and their business analysis. A wide range of orders motivates agencies to perform tasks simultaneously by the same group of people for different clients (so-called MULTI projects).

This makes it even more difficult to choose the right system.

But that’s just the starting point.

Together with agencies, we pursue the goals of increasing the competitiveness of offers by expanding the list of services and increasing the quality of data provided to their clients. In order to describe in one place the field processes modelled in the agency application, around which, together with our clients, we build business value, we have created a document describing how the SFA eLeader Mobile Visit system contributes to increasing competitiveness and attractiveness for clients.

It is worth reading about how the software for agencies improves areas of operation such as:

  • One visit with support for many clients (with CRM functionalities)
  • Management of audit scenarios
  • Fraud detection
  • Surveys
  • Merchandising
  • Promotions at points of sale
  • Examination of presence, facing and shelf shares
  • Automatic shelf audits with eLeader Shelf Recognition AI
  • Management of POSM and displays
  • Orders
  • Managerial reports
  • Customer insight into data
  • Route optimization
  • Personnel Management
  • Individual assessments
  • Gamification
  • Key Performance Indicators
  • Many other

What will we get out of it?

There would be no point in making the effort to implement and maintain an SFA / FFM system if it were not for the expected benefits. Here is a nutshell of the most common and perceived benefits that a properly implemented software for a merchandising agency can provide:

  • ORDERS: Faster implementation of projects with short bid deadlines and quick response to changes.
  • HR: Greater staff stability and better use of employee teams.
  • BRAND: A more credible position to customers who require the understanding of their business.
  • MULTITASKING: Possibility of cooperation of the agency with many contractors, using one tool.
  • REACH: New fields of activity, eg in the area of crowd sourcing, consulting, cross- and up-selling.

If the areas listed above affect your business, think about changing your system to eLeader Mobile Visit. A good step to start with would be to download our e-book.

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