The Consumer products good Industry is going through yet another large transformation.   If you have been around long enough you remember the old sales days.  The transition from backpack size phones and beepers and early days of email and fax all the way to newest tablets and smart phones.    If you are still carrying around binders and big laptops you may also be feeling the pressure of being behind the curve.

Despite the conversation of mobile sales tools spanning across decades, it seems as though it hasn’t been until very recently that leading companies are truly unlocking the competitive advantage that a mobile sales platform can provide.   In a 2013 survey by GMA, only 7% of CPG companies had adopted mobile platforms but over 86% where in the process of budgeting for or implementing.

That large segment of early adopters has started to learn some valuable lessons that we have broken down into 3 Keys.   Whether you are still considering or already working with existing platforms, following these 3 keys will help you drive business growth in your organization.

Key 1 – Ensure your reps love to use it.

Sounds too simple, but its very rare that you find sales teams that say they love software.  The common responses usually vary from  “I want to throw this thing out the window” to “It’s a bit slow and clunky but works ok for some things” to “its fine, I use it for our management but doesn’t really help me, its just part of the overhead of my day”.  No matter what powerful features or good intentions the buyers and executives have, if your sales teams don’t drive the value of the platform its unlikely you will get the competitive advantage you desire.

Key 2 – Make data actionable

The industry is overwhelmed with data, yet the usage rates of it are often low.   Many times its an access issue of having it locked away in excel spreadsheets, but often in mobile application its an issue of experience.   If data is not presented simply, in the right workflow, in the right way it’s of no use to sales reps.   Sale reps often take the brunt of the blame for this with executives calling them out for not using the tools made available.    However for the A sales players to be most effective, they needs to be focused on speed and relationships, not clicking buttons in software.

Key 3 – Avoid fragmenting HQ and Retail Activity

It’s way too easy with brokers and distributors, or retail and headquarter teams to get fragmented into different workflows and sales process. As a result the data, reports, and sales tracking tools are often fragmented as well, costing executives and admins hours piecing things together for the complete picture.    For good reason, having a clear and complete picture of where and how you are selling across your coverage map is one of the most important pieces of competitive advantage you can get at both sales and executive level.   Rather than focus on depth of features or analytics it is far more important to focus on simplicity of integration across your sales and distribution chain.  Having a well-integrated suite of sales and reporting tools and reporting platforms can be the efficiently and knowledge difference that edges you over your competitor.

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