Analysis of Effective Distribution as Territory Sales Officer
Briefly Focus on P&G and MGH Group Limited
It is essential for a business student to do the Internship as it is a part of completing the undergraduate program. The students after gathering academic knowledge they are assigned to an organization to practically knowledge. My internship is done in the sales and distribution department of International Brands limited (IBL). IBL is the sole distributor of Proctor & Gamble (P&G) products in Bangladesh, a sister concern of MGH group ltd. Now a day, First Moving Consumer Goods industry is highly competitive. Thus, my role as a territory sales officer would be to effectively distribute P&G products by executing effective strategic planning.
Objective of the report
Main purpose of the study was to gain detail knowledge about the distribution of International Brands Limited. What are the key roles and requirements of a TSO to able to maintain a distribution system? Gaining an overall knowledge about the action plan of a distribution process. Finally, how being a good motivational leader plays a crucial part in doing so.
The report is based on primary and mainly secondary data and sources. I gathered information from the Sales team of IBL. Sometimes, I took information from secondary resource such as articles, manual, websites etc.
Primary data have been collected by Informal interviews with the office employees and my reporting boss. The whole research is mainly based on secondary data. Data has been articles written by activation experts at IBL. I gathered information from, internal official data, official website and brochures, Golden Store program and finally by my training writings.
International Brands Limited
International Brands Ltd. falls under the sector Contract Logistics and its business contribution is 13%. Being a sister concern of MGH Group IBL is the sole distributor of P&G in Bangladesh.
There are five major divisions which is the driving force of IBL.
- Supply Chain
“To me, job titles don’t matter. Everyone is in sales. It’s the only way we stay in business.”
-By Harvey Mackay
There is no denying the fact that, we cannot imagine a business without selling or serving something. One more famous saying is such like, “To be able to be successful in business you have to be in business” thus; I believe there are only two ways to be able to be successful in business and to gain more revenues. First is to reduce the cost of the product without compromising the quality and last but not the least increasing the sales volume.
Currently IBL is operating from 22 solely owned branches covering more than 1.5 lac outlets all across Bangladesh. We the Territory Sales Officers (TSO) is directly involved in monitoring the Direct Sales Executives (DSE) from the branch. The whole system runs smoothly under subdivision of different routes. We divide the routes in two different sectors Major Area Sales (MAS) and Open Trade (OT). MAS consists of 6 routes each containing 25 outlets. MAS represent the outlets that are located in the base market area. OT covers the remaining outlets consisting of 8 to 12 routes and each rout contains 40-45 outlets. MAS bits or routes help to keep a healthy business balance, whereas, OT bits are dedicated for distribution, thus, ensuring more coverage. Primary job of a TSO is to coach and give proper guidance in order to ensure the sales target is being distributed effectively and thus making sure that the team gets enough efficiency to meet the targets. All the TSOs are monitored by Area Sales Managers (ASM). ASMs are monitored by Regional Sales Managers (RSM). Thus we all have the access to be able to communicate with head of sales the National Sales Manager. Finally, NSM keeps us all connected to Country Sales Manager (CSM).
“Inventory management” is done by the supply chain team. Keeping a balance between in hand stock and what needs to be ordered. They ensure Total Quality Management (TQM) and make sure the availability of the products for the sales team. The process starts with tax and shipment clearance, than the process of warehousing starts, products jet labeled, packaged and stored for next shipment (for branches). Finally, all the work is being monitored and done by professional business software SAP.
Market Strategy and Planning:
Said by one of my most respected person Professor Dr. Mohammad Tareque Aziz, “Strategy is something which will give you enough decision making tools to know what to do, when and how to do it and thus keep the best contingency in hand.” The task of MS&P can be shown in a simple graphical representation such as.
Trade Promotion: refers to the market promotions or discount offerings for the wholesalers and retailers. It is the most effective toll for a sales team to properly distribute all the products, thus betting the competitors in terms of offering the finest benefit for the wholesalers and retailers so that they promote our products to the utmost.
Moreover, MS&P team regulates all the reports done by the sales team and analyzes data properly to keep sales team up to date with effective and efficient information flows. In addition, they also keep a keen balance between expansion and distribution channels.
They also handle the entire claim that we need approval from P&G and Gillette, specially the trade promotions. Finally, target market analysis is also a crucial part done by them.
“Security depends not so much upon how much you have, as upon how much you can do without.” —By Joseph Wood Krutch
Finance team monitors all the cash inflows and out flows. They ensure the security that we need to run the business properly. They do the budgeting for each and every segment of IBL. The most common issue in finance where they do have a lot of debates is about the damage and the credit settling. IBL strictly follow the rule to doing business in cash. However, we do give the credit facility to our customers on the basis of a credit contract agreement. The terms and conditions are as follows.
- If the credit amount is in between 15,000 to 20,000 Tk. than the party has to issue a cheque of seven days.
- If the credit amount is in between 21,000 to 50,000 Tk. than the party has to issue a cheque of fifteen days period.
- Amount above that needs special permission from IBL finance.
However, the finance team stays very active for monitoring the government taxes and audits. Thus, ensures the liquidity of capital for running the whole process smoothly.
The delivery team is equipped with modern Pickup Tracks and Van at the distribution level. The delivery team makes sure the products are reach in their desired destination within the given time. The delivery team keeps a very keen communication with the supply Chain Team as a little distortion or lag of information may lead to heavy casualties. The whole process is followed up by SAP software system. Currently, IBL owns 15 Pickup Tracks, thus makes sure the availability of the products to all the branches and the sub distributor units.
“To become $200MM Company by 2018 through extending footprints and delivering higher volume to the universe and to bring world class P&G products for the consumers.”
“To be a truly global, best in class distributor of P&G by harnessing maximum opportunity and winning wherever people shop executing perfectly.”
Currently IBL is running the business at approximately 150 Crore (Tk.) level in Bangladesh (nationally). Moreover, with a 30 percent growth plan in hand for each year, IBL dreams to fulfill the dream achieving 1000 Crore (Tk.) level. So far, some of the key initiatives that IBL has adopted are as follows:
- Introducing new products in the market.
- Introducing SAP software into the System. Now, DSEs do not take orders in pen and paper. Thanks to SAP now we can take order in TABs.
- Detailed route planning in SAP system and team monitoring.
- Creating more Branches so that distribution coverage can be broadened.
- Giving away more Sub Distributor Levels (SDL) to reach the uncovered
- Improving market strategies such as Golden Store Program, Display Programs and promotion plans.
Responsibilities of a Territory Sales Officer (TSO)
Target splitting and meeting the target
Most of the times we tend to drive a target which is very hard to overcome. Every branch has its own contribution percentage divided nationally by the Head of Sales (HOS). This contribution percentage is given by data analysis of previous year’s sales performances.
This splitting is also done by the DSE wise route contribution that which route will get what percentage of sales target.
- Let us assume that DSE Shawpons’ base market is New Market and his route wise contribution is (12.65%).
- Therefore, Shawpons’ target of the month would be (1.58 Crore*12.65%) = 1,998,700 Tk.
Fortunately, by the grace of Almighty Allah, I and my entire team was able to exceed the target and was able to sell 1.66 crore Tk. that month. Thus, I was rewarded with reword money, incentives and gifts along with all my DSEs.
Seven step Calling Procedure
Seven step calling procedure is a process or a set of sales mechanism which makes sure that a DSE can properly make a sales call in the wholesale and retail market. It is highly sophisticated and designed in a well cohered manner. If a DSE can utilize this process he can surly manage to take order from the outlets successfully. On the other hand, if he fails he can still analyze his own efforts and identify where he went wrong to improve his efficiency. The seven steps of this process are given as follows.
Call Planning: Call Planning is required for the DSEs to take proper tools with them in the market. In this process we do market strategic planning of which route the DSE will cover for the day. How many key outlets are there and how we will approach them. What are the products that they have previously taken and what would the approximate value we can expect all the outlets to order. Most importantly, how many outlets have given me order in the last visit and how many outlets do a DSE needs to approach.
For example: If we consider that a DSE covers 25 outlets in a MAS market and previously was able to take orders from 18 outlets. Then his main objective for that day would be to focus on the 7 remaining outlets to take order from and to return to the regular routine. Thus, we also call this procedure “Unique Outlet Billing Procedure.”
Moreover, there are other things that we focus that all the DSEs should maintain.
- Properly dressing.
- TAB carrying.
- Product Samples.
- Product Catalogue.
- Pure drinking water.
Greetings: To maintain good PR with the shopkeepers a DSE must know how to greet them properly. First of all, DSE has to address the shopkeeper by his name and give Salam. Knowing some ones name and giving him/her Salam is an effective way to be close to a person and not to mention it is considered as good manners. Moreover, in this segment we introduced a method called “420 Seconds Impression.”
- First 20 second while approaching a shopkeeper is to have good body language and proper gesture.
- Second 20 second while approaching is to greet with a smile.
- Third 20 second while approaching is to see if it is the best time to approach him. Considering he is busy or having a bad mood.
- Fourth and final 20 second while approaching is to choose positive
Stock Checking: In this segment a DSE has to check for the products availability in the store. What are the existing products are there? What are the products that the shopkeeper will order and finally what are the products that the DSE planned to push sell for increasing the distribution. Another important task is to gather market intelligence about competitors’ products, pricing and placing. Thus, this will help a DSE to be more efficient in executing a sales call.
The Sales Call: The actual sales call is pretty plain and simple and can be done by following three steps as follows:
- Replenishing the required products
- Distributing the Power Products and
- Finally, sharing the trade promotions so that they can allure the shopkeepers for extra benefit and thus driving our Distribution Products.
Merchandising: Merchandising is the process by which a DSE gains the ability to be more close to the shopkeeper. The task is to simply assemble all of our products in the “Power Zone.” What is a power zone? Well, it is a place within a shop where we tend to keep our products to ensure the best visibility for the customers. There are three criteria of a power zone as follows.
- It has to be behind the shopkeeper or close to his right or left hand just behind him/her.
- It has to be in the eye level of the consumers.
- It has to be in the shop. (shops shelf)
While merchandising we follow the “FIFO Method” widely known as First in first out method. We put the old products in front of the shelf so that the customers buy them before the best date to use the product. Moreover, better visibility for the customers increases the possibilities of the products off take. If the off take of the product is ensured our business will grow and the shopkeepers will keep on continuing giving orders. Thus, this will help the business to maintain a healthy consistency. Most importantly, it helps the DSEs to check the stocks quickly and gives then more efficiency to execute a perfect sales call.
End the call: Finally, DSEs have to communicate the memo value with the shopkeeper and ask for the best time for the product delivery. If there are some extra request from the shopkeeper the DSE has to write it down and communicate with the delivery unit so that the delivery is ensured properly.
Call analysis: Call analysis is very crucial for a DSE as it gives them the ability to measure their performance. If the call is a success he will continue to follow the same procedure otherwise he has to find out what went wrong or as TSO I have to show him what went wrong and tell him to improve.
EDAC method is being built to monitor the seven step call procedure. EDAC stands for
- Explain: Explain what went wrong.
- Demonstrate: Create an example for demonstration.
- Apply: Applying the demonstration by executing a real sales call.
- Critic: Appreciating DSE if they are successful and if not keep on guiding until they do.
SAP Sales Order
Most of the DSEs are not that well in using technology and SAP is quite a sophisticated application to use. Therefore, we make sure to give them proper training so that they can take orders in real time on the market. Thus, it makes the work more efficient and less time consuming. Moreover, they can easily edit and make corrections within seconds. Most importantly, there is no chance at all for DSEs to practice any unethical means in the memo.
Monthly trade promotion and Golden Store Program Training
Monthly trade promotion is the most effective sales tool for sales team success depends upon how good a trade promotion is being built. It is basically the trade offerings that the wholesalers and retails get as of extra facility from the company end thus helps to push sell the products and allure the shopkeepers to distribute more of our products and finally meeting the sales target. A DSE needs to memorize these promotions as if it is like breathing. Prior to that, the DSEs will be able to make proper plans and would be able to communicate in the market with more efficiency.
Moreover, Golden Store program is one the most effective program by P&G which is designed to provide extra facilities for the customers. It lets the customer to feel special and it proves to be beneficial from the both end. It is a great practice for retaining loyal customers. Basically it is a display program by which a store has to follow some criteria and thus doing so they will get extra benefit from it. Therefore, making sure that all the DSEs know exactly how to communicate and maintain golden store outlets is a crucial part of a TSOs’ activity. We will discuss more clearly about trade promotions and golden store program later on, therefore let us move on with responsibilities of a TSO.
While working in a market there are countless objections that a TSO has to handle. For a starter it was really difficult for me to handle all these objections. And once they started to come it had no boundaries. Therefore, it was very essential for me to priorities the objections or complains and to find the best possible solutions. To do so I was told to follow these four simple steps, they are as follows.
- Determine the real objection: When a shopkeeper is complaining and he is in very bad mood he will tell a lot of things. First of all I have to be very patient and keep on listening until he stops to scold.
- Understanding the objection: Afterword I will apologize with utmost sincerity and ask him what kind of a solution will satisfy his demand. Thus, doing so I will get a clear picture of what is the real problem.
- Verifying the objection: After understanding the objection I will not react without verifying it from the person whom it is responsible for. Then, if I find that it was a fault form our end I am authorized to take any necessary action to regain the satisfaction of the customer.
- Handling the objection: Finally, I have to come up with a way to solve the objection. However, if I find it difficult to handle the situation and there is no way for me to come up with an instant solution. I need to seek permission from the customer asking for time by saying that I will communicate with my higher authority about the issue and will knock him/her as soon as possible.
Activity and Fixed Journey Plan (FJP) of a TSO
Fixed journey plan is a set of activity which needs to be performed by a TSO.
Every day before going to the market we sit in a meeting called kick-off meeting. In this meeting I share market analysis in daily basis and make a proper plan for the day. After that, all the DSE goes to their designated routs or markets to take order. There are some basic follow ups that I have to go through with all of my DSEs.
- Reviewing previous day’s delivery reports identify whose deliveries were bad and identify the problem so that it can be prevented next time.
- Fixing the route, call planning, reviewing the trade promotions and share if there is any change in the promotions or not.
- Value target for each DSE, focus promotions or initiatives from the
- Giving proper motivation and releasing the OT bit DSEs at 9:00 a.m. as they needs to be in the market within 9:30 to start taking his first call.
- Afterwards, we sit with 30-40 munities with all the MAS DSEs about detailed call planning. It is being done very seriously because most of our vale comes from the MAS bits.
- Finally, releasing all the MAS DSEs within 9:50 so that they can start calling from 10:20-10:30 a.m.
Reporting to ASM/RSM
After realizing all the DSEs to the market I sit with my boss and give him feedback about the morning feedback meeting. We discuss about some of the market and previous days performances and then my boss gives me a proper plan about what would be my extra focus for that day. Thus, I will crosscheck with my FJP and will leave for the market at 10:30 a.m.
While in the market I need to follow up the DSE is performing properly or not. I act as a coach to guide him the entire day. I also help him in the calling process and make sure that he succeeds. Address to different market related problems. Making sure that the delivery unit is giving the delivery properly. Moreover, I go to all the key or major outlets in the market so that there is no communication gap with the major customers. While doing all these I constantly have to be on the phone with all my other DSEs and delivery units. After that just before the lunch I have to give “Midday Report” to my boss within 2:30 p.m. Midday reports consists of how much order has been taken and how much is remaining. Who is performing good and bad? Then my boss and I consult with each other and I share why some DSEs are doing bad and how we will approach to solve the problem. Prior to that, my boss suggests solutions to me. Accordingly, I prepare myself and switch my market and go to the DSE who is performing poorly and stay with him till the end. Together, we try to work as per my boss suggested and try to improve the market situation.
I return to the stockiest point in between 5:30-6:00 p.m. take refreshment and start the Feedback meeting. DSEs come back one by one and share the day’s achievement, market analysis, what are the things that went wrong and how much shortfall we are at in at the end of the day.
- Giving DSEs feedback according to their performances
- Giving them time to complete the Sales order (SO)
- Giving final check and monitoring those DSEs have met their target given in the kickoff meeting.
- Giving warning if they have lacked their performances or to apprise those who did well.
After that I give time limit to complete four regular tasks
- Preparing the “Daily Tracker.”
- Preparing “GSP Tracking”
- Printing their SO and compiling them according to delivery.
- Sitting with the delivery team for delivery discussion.
In daily tracker DSEs fill up a chart sheet of their entire days sales order and the delivery report of the previous days order.
Sales order: In sales order report they fill up the sheets according to their
- Target Vs achievement in value
- Target Vs achievement by product category.
- And target vs achievement by trade promotion
Delivery report: delivery report consists of the same reporting format. The main differences it is done on the basis of the delivery. The delivery unites returns with the memo and gives back the delivery memos to the DSEs. The DSEs than fills up the Delivery tracker according to the delivery memo.
After the feedback meeting I collect all the data and call it a day for the DSEs. Afterwards, I start my reporting from 7:30-8:00 p. and I have to complete all the reports as follows.
- Daily tracker
- GSP tracker
- Initiative Tracker
- Retailing reports or order reports
- Delivery reports
- SDL reports
- Whisper display reports
Monthly reports are basically the summary of all the reports. The reports are as follows.
- Next month’s FJP plans
- Target vs achievement reviewing plan
- Salary and Travel and Daily Allowance (TADA) of DSE
- TSO TADA.
- Summary of Daily tracker
- Summary of GSP Claim
- Trade promotion Claim Sheet
- Summary of Sub Distributor Level (SDL)
- Retailing and Shipment report
- GSP claim,
- Stock ending report
- Next shipment plan
- Month end “Total Branch Report”
- Finally retailing & closing report.
Thus, I and Branch Manager have to submit all the required reports and its supportive raw data within 10th of the month. All the data generates from my end therefore I have to be very careful at constricting and finalizing the raw data. Finally, I handover all the data to ASM and we always crosscheck each other’s work for minimum level of errors.
Achievement as a TSO
It’s about believing
“If you can dream it, you can do it.” —-By Enzo Ferrari
I started the journey of being a Territory Sales Officer (TSO). As the journey started to unfold, mistakes were made and it took me closer to achieving my targets, debates raised to clarify my dilemmas, scolding of my boss became my inspiration, and self-motivation made me hunger to be the best. There is no denying the fact that, doubts where not there and I was not afraid.
However, I kept on believing my mentors’ guidance and my team. Thus, we all end up with the victory. Most importantly, it is like they all say, “It’s all about the journey.”
Part of being a good leader
There will always be a lot of complains while you are doing a tough job, thus, some problems are systematic, meaning they are unavoidable and others are created by us for not believing that we can actually do it. I believe that, to be a good leader one always needs to pay attention to every detail while his/her subordinate is complaining. Prior to that, try to sort out the best ones which will make sure to improve their performance and the rest is redundant.
“A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.”
-By John C. Maxwell
As a leader I worked alongside with my team not only by guiding or dictating tem but also being a part of them. Because a leader does not just show the way, he walks it with his teammates. I salute my team, as it is for them I am a proud Leader.
I invested a lot of time with my team which helped me to be able to maintain a good PR with them. They also feel good to be able to spend some quality time with their boss. Moreover, sometimes we take dinner together if the majority of the DSEs are successful in meeting their sales target. Finally, I was appraised to be a “100% Motivational Leader” by my boss and hierarchies.
Key sales tools
I would have not been successful without the help of these two major sales tools.
- Trade Promotion
Golden Store Program
The basic idea of GSP is to ensure profit for both distributors and customers. The idea is clean, simple and effective. The project was very successful all around the world. It is not only helpful to expand the business growth but also to bring sustainability to the business. It ensures the offtake of the products so that retailers can keep on ordering and for us to keep on replenishing.
In this program we are giving our customers five different benefits and to ensure three different benefits for us.
Extra discount: In this case we cluster the outlets into three different categories
- Large Traditional/Beauty
- Medium Traditional
- Small Traditional/Beauty
Priority Merchandising: Deploying merchandisers on regular basis for product visibility check and rearranging the products for better visibility.
Offering the trade promotions at first: GSP outlets will get the first chance to our trade promotions.
GSP club: We give away special gifts to the loyal stores.
I must say that IBL is a great exposure for a beginner to learn and explore in the FMCG sector. As it gave me the opportunity to gain great leadership skills, build network, and inside out of how P&G distribution is made in Bangladesh. IBL helped me to gain market knowledge, experiment with that knowledge, analyze the opportunity lies in the market, thus gave me proper tools like GSP and Trade Promotions to apply those knowledge in reality. As a result, I know that of what I know and capable of doing.
Most importantly, IBL gave me the confidence to be able to trace out the market dynamics, thus to be able to make myself flexible enough to manipulate the dynamics. Being a TSO I know how crucial a sales them for an organization. From the course of Service marketing I learned that being able to properly communicate with the entire department was very crucial. Prior to that, here in IBL I definitely realized the intensity of it. If we consider top level management as to be the head and brain of an organization and finance to be the heart and blood to be the blood, I would consider sales to be the physical strength and most importantly the eye of an organization. Being at the bottom of the management infrastructure does makes me frustrated. However, IBL has opened my inner sense, now I know that it is the route of a tree which determines how many storms it will survive. Thus, I want to compare sales team for an organizations route and how long an organization will survive depends on how strong it’s’ sales team is.
While executing my responsibilities I came to find out some of the loop holes in the IBL system. It is quite natural that every system has its flows. However, I believe that of which I am about to share can bring major contribution in improving the organization.
CHURN of DSE: IBL has a very serious and aggressive sales management. Most of the time DSEs has to work very hard and there is immense pressure to meet the sales target. Moreover, they have to go through both physical and mental pressure. In addition, they have to work for 29 days a month; therefore, there is no work life and personal life balance at all. Thus, all this makes them to leave their job. Worst case scenario is that, they take their leave al of a sudden. On the other hand, there are cases that the management fired a DSE without notice.
Thus, it takes a heavy tool in the performances of a team. Moreover, training up a new DSE is quite time consuming. Therefore, I proposed to my boos that no one will leave the job without giving proper notice and no one will fire a DSE all of a sudden. And to ensure that all the DSEs has to sign a commitment paper for a token of liability.
Giving the incentives timely: Incentives are a part of DSEs motivation. They can earn extra money by their performances. However, DSEs work very hard to get this incentive and it is a matter of sorrow that IBL takes too long to process the incentives. Thus, this makes the DSEs demotivated and they lose their interest to work hard for it. If the incentive processing system was fast enough the DSEs would work even hard as they do not have other sources to earn from.
Trade promotion communication: Every month the trade promotion gets changed by the MS&P and top level management. Sometimes, it takes 5-6 days after starting the month to get the promotion plan in hand. Thus, this creates discrepancy in the market. The shopkeepers who ordered before the new promotion had to purchase the products without promotions. Therefore, they get mad at the DSEs and TSOs for not being able to communicate with them properly.
Damage Settling: Being in a FMCG industry it is quite important to collect damage from the outlets so shat the shopkeepers can have trust in our service and do business confidently. Unfortunately, IBL is very poor in this sector. We the TSO and DSE have to face a lot of problem regarding this issue. Sometimes, we get scolded very badly by the shopkeepers, thus, this hampers us to maintain a good relation with the shopkeepers. In marketing PR plays a very sophisticated and crucial role. Not being able to replace the damages at proper time makes serious commitment issue and hampers the performance.
Balance between work and personal life: I really am a sufferer of this segment. However, I believe it is mandatory for an organization to create a working environment of healthy balance between professional and personal life. On top of that, a sales team needs a lot of motivation and refreshment for them as they have to go through with so many pressures. We have to work almost 355 days a year and that is very frustrating for a person to be able to work like that. Therefore, I would suggest the top management to come up with a better solution so that we can at least get all the Fridays off and our Eid leaves to be extended.
Finally, in conclusion I would like to finish by stating that working in IBL has been a tremendous exposure for me. I get the privilege to working with many talented sales personals. I have equipped myself with in depth knowledge about the distribution business of a leading brand P&G. I discovered some hidden talents in me such as, quickly reacting to market dynamics, building a network, competing with flexibility and to be an effective leader.
Moreover, I get to learn different aspect of selling FMCG products, how to push sell, how to work with power and distribution drives. Most importantly, I get to have a practical experience in implementing Golden Store Program and Trade promotion as sales tools. Internship in MGD IBL helped me to build strong carrier background. Thus, I surely know that in IBL it is the survival of the fittest and all that I have learned is a lesson of a life time.