When trying to attract new customers while keeping hold of any current ones, successful businesses provide different sales collateral to both potential customers and sales representatives, this can include but is not limited to brochures, kits, point-of-purchase aids and sample product.
Fulco Fulfillment Inc. is an expert in sales force logistics which is the process of distributing the sales collateral of a company to wherever it may be needed while at the same time adhering to the various company protocols which govern the limitations and approval requirements of these items.
You have most likely seen a variety of different sales collateral wherever you go, this can include things such as a the goodie bag given at a dentist’s office, filled with dental products, paint samples at a Home Depot or a brochure seen at the counter in a convenience store, but all sales collateral shares the following things in common.
- Costly production
- Control of distribution in order to maintain a balance between keeping costs from getting out of hand while using material properly and efficiently.
- Detailed feedback is important so that their effectiveness in helping to capture sales can be measured and, based on results, objectives can be set for their future use.
- Distribution may also be legally regulated like when dealing with pharmaceutical samples and depending on locality those constraints can vary.
There are a variety of solutions to overcome many of these challenges and in order to tackle sales force logistics properly then it is valuable to follow some of the following procedures.
Control and limit recipients
This includes simply limiting who receives the collateral by practicing control over shipping addresses. Fulco Fulfillment Inc’s Order Management System allows client to set restrictions so this doesn’t need to be a manual process.
A good example of this is having the capability to restrict shipments to only defined addresses within a sales representative’s address book instead of sending collateral to all the addresses you have available to you.
Using restrictions can limit where and or to whom any sale representative will send the valuable collateral. Restrictions can also be predefined for promising prospects or current clients.
Product Specific Controls
Product Specific controls is what limits collateral item’s availability during ordering using different user or market specific controls.
For example, while browsing a nationwide restaurant chain’s website for store managers, a store manager is able to view, and order only those particular market available for his particular geographic market and not other items available elsewhere. Or, an insurance company’s salesmen are able to order collateral materials unavailable to at-large brokers.
Cost control is limiting the amount of collateral that is available for order for the sake of limiting the all-inclusive costs.
Quantity limitations can be quite difficult to set up especially when things such as distribution channels are not handled uniformly. Setting up quantity limitations do commonly include specifying a limit to how much is distributed and using budget constraints.
Sales representatives are more often than not allocated different budgets for ordering things such as collateral premiums or merchandise, budgets that have limitations that can be understood and can help decide how to best employ others during a sales representative efforts. Cost control will help a sale representative understand that the moment budgets run out either the ordering stops completely or ordering can only continue with approval. Budget limits are assigned in order to control sales collateral expenses.
Having flexibility means that no matter how constraints are defined, a sales force logistics program must have the capacity to anticipate any exceptions that may occur to them.
That is, it must be able to communicate, accept and process, when deemed necessary, ad-hoc requests for collateral that exceed established limitations. As an example of when such flexibility is important: a salesman has exhausted his collateral “budget,” but has prospect who wants a sample product. The Sales Forces Logistics program must be able to (via email) inform his manager of this in a timely way and enable the manager to override existing constraints and authorize the collateral to be released and shipped promptly to the salesman/prospect.
To have a sales forces logistics program with self-direction it should allow sales representatives to review along with manage their own allocated collateral accounts.
Throughout self-direction a sale representative can handle collateral distributions and their associated costs directly and when necessary permit them to either petition for authorization to go past the budget or pay any excessive expenses all on their own (usually by billing a credit card).
Sales Forces Logistics programs should have order limitations, for the sake of the fulfillment provider, of the number of collateral orders that is shipped to destinations within a desired time period, for example a quarterly time period.
Putting down limits helps control and keep down any costs during the distribution of sales collateral by preventing any rogue sale reps who may order excessive quantities of material for any “personal reasons”.
During approval management requests such a exceeding an allotted budget must receive more than one approval.
Sales force logistics programs should be capable of notifying sales representative that multiple approvals are required in order for his request to be fulfilled. Following that authorizers must be alerted for permission to go over the budget and lastly enabling the sales representative to keep track of the status and overall outcome of the specified collateral order.
Brand managers may need to approve any product that is overseen by them and collateral orders may require the approval as well as the partial approval of several different brand managers. Sales force logistics teams must be capable of handling these types of requests and thankfully Fulco Fulfillment Inc. is capable and experienced to handle all of this.