Holiday planning starts earlier and earlier each year. B2B commerce brands start in summer, spending August through October strategizing and executing their holiday sales strategy.
For many B2B vendors, the fall season is their biggest sales window of the year, as they help retailers fulfil inventory for their busy holiday sales season. If retail sales growth is any indication, they’re doing everything right. The National Retail Federation saw holiday sales during November and December increase 5.5 percent over 2016, to $691.9 billion.
The holidays can make or break the entire sales year for many retailers. More than restocking shelves, retailers are looking for that consultative partnership from their sales reps. They need to understand the best product mix or best sellers to carry, identify trends, and brainstorm merchandising and promotion ideas.
There’s a huge opportunity for sales reps to reach out to retailers and become their trusted partner during the planning stages. Today, we’re covering two important ways your field sales team can maximize sales, while supporting your retail customers during the hectic holiday months.
Reach Out to Retailers with Personalized Inventory Recommendations
Reps can remind retailers of items they purchased in the past that sold well. Sweeten the deal by offering a discount on these items or showing similar product lines. Walk retailers through the year’s top sellers complementing their existing product lines, and review any trends forecasted for the upcoming year. Get bonus points by targeting product recommendations to each retailers’ region, customer demographics, or product preferences.
Becoming this trusted consultative partner is easier if reps are equipped with the right tools. A mobile sales app or a good CRM gives reps insight into recent product purchases, personalized product recommendations, etc. These personalized recommendations will go a long way to show retailers that the rep isn’t just trying to get them to buy anything, but is ensuring they’re successful this holiday season.
If your current CRM doesn’t offer product-focused functionality, then contact us to see Pharos CRM. It’s built for B2B product companies, and lets you place orders, track cases, create wishlists, and more. Bundle it with Pharos Sales App to take that 360-degree-view of every customer on the road. (Preview of Pharos CRM, below).
Help Retailers Enhance their E-commerce Presence and/or Merchandise their Store
Retailers are likely to be overwhelmed during these months. They need to stock their shelves, create their promotions, plan marketing content or in-store events, and that’s all on top of ensuring their infrastructure is solid to manage purchases, shipping, and returns.
Sales reps can alleviate some of this stress by offering retailers merchandising ideas. Brainstorm ideas for wall or table displays that show the products in their best light or suggest locations in their retail store for product placement.
Reps can share photographs of showroom displays, so retailers can see the product compilation in action. A good CRM or Sales App (cough, cough, Pharos) is stocked with the most up-to-date rich media, like photography and catalogs, so reps always have the right product assets on hand in the sales meeting.
Make things really easy by offering a discount on purchasing the whole display. Your retailers will save time on store merchandise planning, and you’ll sell a combination of complimentary products – win, win!
Of course, product merchandising doesn’t begin and end with the brick and mortar store. Many retailers are also busy updating their e-commerce websites to cater to online buyers. Last year, holiday online sales grew 12% over 2016, to $138.4 billion. There’s huge opportunity to drive sales online, but retailers need compelling product descriptions and imagery to do it.
Help retailers sell your products online by supplying them with up-to-date product imagery and data. Send them alternative views and lifestyle photography to help the products stand out.
Whereoware’s PIM system Product FastLane makes this easy, by enabling retailers to request product data by SKU directly from vendors. This service is completely free for retailers.
Gift Retailers A Little Something Extra
Show love to your retailers by offering them a little something extra.
Shipping is a huge motivator these days. Offer your retailers drop shipping or extended shipping terms. If shipping promotions aren’t feasible, invite them to join your loyalty program or extend promotions or closeout deals. These extras can be tracked using your CRM, then sent out to your sales team and retailers via a sales app or email.
These incentives may seem small, but they add a little margin and can set your retailers at ease.
Put Your Retailers First This Holiday Season
By helping your retailers fulfil inventory, merchandise their stores, and sell your products online, you’re setting them up to succeed this holiday season and proving how much you value the customer relationship.
Whereoware helps B2B sales reps use technology to better nurture and serve their retailers. Reach out to us for a free, personal demo.