Arla deployed StayinFront TouchCG to its UK sales force for its field operations.
The technology includes built-in analytics to use data from internal and external sources to identify and respond to trends.
It also shows real-time data on store conditions, field performance and competitive activities.
Working with Arla
Wayne Gallaway, managing director, EMEA at StayinFront, told DairyReporter that Arla engaged with StayinFront in 2009, but the dairy company had an external sales force.
Once Arla’s sales team was internalized, StayinFront engaged with them again in 2012.
“We'd taken a step forward over the top of what they were using with their outsourced sales team, so they changed technology. We were a significantly better fit for them.”
Change takes time
While change can be good, when it comes to software such as this, it does take time to adapt, said Gallaway.
“It's a big project to change for many organizations, but a three-year window seems to be the minimum. By the time you've deployed the software, got your users using it and making the most of it, then you don't want to throw that away and start again with a new technology platform,” Gallaway said.
As with most of today’s software, StayinFront goes through upgrades and changes.
Gallaway said that one of the main benefits is that as the core software is updated, customers on that platform receive the latest updates.
“We typically have three or four releases per year, so there's a road map of probably two years’ worth of product enhancements, new innovations, new ideas, that we're working on bringing to the solution.
“Some of it is generated ourselves, some of it is in conjunction with industry analysts and experts and some of it's in conjunction with our customers as well, so we encourage them to feed their ideas and suggestions in, and throughout the year we bring those features into the solution.”
Company input and configurable software
Patricia Rovner, global marketing at StayinFront, told DairyReporter, “We've got so many different types of customers, and they all kind of want to do similar things, so if we put something into the system, it's easily configurable, so that it meets Arla's process, or it meets Mondelēz’s process, but the core functionality is built in and anyone could benefit from that.”
Gallaway said that because of the modular nature of the software, which is also used by New Zealand dairy giant Fonterra, new features could be brought in and companies could choose what they use.
“Some features will be appropriate to dairy companies, some will be appropriate to confectionery companies,” he said.
“A good example of that would be how we audit a store or a shelf. Arla would probably do a primary shelf audit, so they are focused on one area of a supermarket, where someone like Kellogg or Mondelēz would be monitoring the food-to-go areas plus they would have a primary shelf audit as well.
“When we brought that multi-zone auditing, there were organizations like Arla that that wasn't relevant for but because of the configurable nature of the software it means that they don't have to take that functionality. They can see there's a new feature but they don't have to check the box and send that out to their sales team.”
Using software to sell
Gallaway said that StayInFront's key message is 'do more, know more and sell more.'
- Do more:
“From a retail execution perspective – we give them all the tools they need to do their jobs well.”
- Know more:
“In terms of integrating the data that they are collecting back into the solution to help them see where they are performing against their objectives.
“They are seeing the impact of their activities, this is where I am against my KPIs, this is something that will make them hit their targets and get their bonuses.”
- Sell more:
“Given that most of our customers want to sell more product, we're putting tools in their hands, which will allow them to sell more as well, through better ways of taking orders, or HTML-type selling platforms.”
Gallaway said that, while Arla or Mondelēz tend to not have issues with connectivity in the UK, for companies using the software in other countries where there can be areas without internet or cellphone coverage, there is no problem for the software.
“The great thing is that you would download your calls, usually at home via wifi, and then the solution runs completely offline, so you don't need connectivity.
“In some markets, it's really important that the reps can do all they need to do offline.”
The data is then uploaded once connectivity is restored.
Gallaway said that the biggest company using the StayinFront platform is Mondelēz International, with around 45,000 users through its direct sales team, plus its distributors.
He added that StayinFront is in about 35 countries, and one of the advantages of their platform is that theirs is the only solution that has been deployed to a global field force.
Working for Arla
Phil Burleigh, controller sales optimisation team at Arla, said that StayinFront monitors trends and allows for quick response to changing market conditions.
“Visits per rep have increased and our sales force is able to add more value, deliver better service and drive incremental sales.”
Marie Outred, systems and business insights manager, Arla Foods, agreed, saying, “We are spending less time, but getting more out of a call.”