Developing customer relations through excellent service delivery is a key perquisite in the highly competitive fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) industry.
Assessing whether sales and marketing activities are hitting the mark forms an integral part of short-and long-term customer retention strategies.
Technology provides an important tool in the food and beverage industry’s efforts to manage, mobilise and ultimately automate its sales force, obtaining accurate and valuable data that will strengthen sales teams’ service delivery and turnaround times.
Schweppes Zimbabwe Limited (SZL) is a leading manufacturer and distributor of non-carbonated still beverages under license from The Coca-Cola Company. The company’s product portfolio currently includes well-known brands in categories such as cordials, fruit juices and bottled water.
SZL has two manufacturing plants in Harare and Bulawayo in Zimbabwe and ten distribution centres countrywide. Its route to market is predominantly B2B and was recently extended to include B2C through e-commerce and tele-sales platforms.
Most of SZL’s orders are delivered through in-house logistics and third-party partners with a smaller portion handled through customer collection at the distribution centres.
Optimising sales efficiency
SZL has partnered with mobile technology specialist company, MACmobile since 2016 to optimise its sales force and customer relationship requirements. MACmobile’s FIELDForce solution has in the last four years provided SZL with the ability to:
* Develop customer relations through the capture of key market data;
* Generate customer orders; and
* Track sales activities and marketing assets.
“Before partnering with MACmobile, our sales teams would manually track or reference customer history and cold drink equipment (CDE) which was highly ineffective. As a result, this led to suboptimal order fulfilment of customer orders and CDE asset utilisation.” explains Diana Mubayiwa, corporate affairs executive at SZL.
Andrew Dawson, MD of MACmobile, adds: “Our FIELDForce offering delivers an end-to-end solution to SZL that covers their full spectrum of Route-to-Market sales and distribution, ultimately catering for the specific needs and nuances of FMCG call cycles within Zimbabwe’s retail, rural and main markets.”
Due to Zimbabwe’s telecoms challenges, MACmobile also added an offline capability to FIELDForce which enables SZL to utilise the solution without network connectivity.
Additionally, FIELDForce’s recently added Forms functionality allows SZL to develop surveys that enable it to conduct self-reads for Coca-Cola’s (Right-Execution Daily) RED. In the past, SZL had to outsource surveys to third-party providers at a significant cost to the company.
FIELDForce Forms for example offers integrated GPS functionality which means SZL can validate whether surveys where indeed conducted in-store. Additionally, Forms has enabled SZL to customise specific survey such as:
* RED self-assessment;
* Competitor activity tracking;
* Price dipstick; and
* Outlet classification.
SZL and MACmobile’s partnership have undoubtedly led to an improved sales force and customer relations, driven by accurate data that can be mined to improve go-to-market and retention strategies.
MACmobile allows SZL to stay one step ahead of the requirements of both its sales team and its clients. Today the company benefits from:
*An effective and efficient sales team route that leads to optimised operations and execution in the market;
* Effective sales representative activity tracking resulting in increased productivity and sales;
* The ability to create and run surveys;
* Improved and accurate customer and CDE assets databases; and
* Real-time salesforce metrics dashboards that allow for RTM (route-to-market) remodelling by the SZL commercial team.
“Thanks to our partnership with MACmobile we can rest assured that our sales and marketing strategies are on point and we can readily meet the ever-changing requirements of the markets we serve,” says Mubayiwa.
“Ultimately, our partnership with SZL has provided MACmobile a deeper penetration within the independent distributors that trade under the Coca-Cola Company license. It has also strengthened our footprint and user-base within the SADC region,” concludes Dawson.