In the highly competitive consumer goods marketplace, trade promotion management (TPM) solutions have become a must to optimize and control trade spend. As software partners enhance TPM capabilities, the software runs the risk of becoming too complicated for end-users to adopt.
When implementing a TPM solution, often the VP of Sales makes the configuration decisions for a TPM system—including what features and data will be incorporated. However, the VP is not typically using the system in the way a field sales rep or account manager would use it.
In most cases field sales views the replacement of their Excel worksheets as more work with little to no benefit, along with having to dedicate time to learning a complex software product. Both field sales as well as their management recognize that they want their sales teams out selling rather than performing data entry. In order to sell effectively, field sales needs a tool beyond Excel which enables them to become proactive business managers. Unfortunately many sales managers and field sales reps view TPM as simply too much work given its perceived complexity.
In addition to increased complexity many also fear the increase in visibility. A good TPM tool will provide a single version of the truth, repurposing the data generated by sales when they create their promotional plans into data for financial planning, profitability analysis, and to identify any gaps at the channel, customer, or brand levels. Sales needs to feel comfortable that the benefits of leveraging this single version of the truth outweigh their concerns regarding increased visibility into their daily routines. Their upside would include the ability to aggregate the accrual funds, commitments, and spend against those funds allowing for real time insights into their volumes and trade spend.
To avoid complexity at the field sales level in your TPM deployment, you will want to focus on the basics which include industry best practices, configurability, new user workflows, simplified click through, multi-source reporting, and mobile access. And most importantly end-users should be involved in the configuration and implementation process!