Sales Capability Best Practices

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Sales Capability Best Practices

Best practices for how CPGs recruit, build, and retain top talent includes targeting millenials, promoting flexible work schedules, and focusing on training, development, and growth of employees. The details are outlined below.

Target Millennials for Hire

  • With baby boomers on the way to retirement, many CPGs face the problem of losing their high-performance sales force and all the knowledge and experience that accompanies it. As such, companies are forced to fill the spaces before the exit of the baby boomers.
  • Millennials are highly concerned about financial stability as well as the reputation of the company they will work or are working for. This will influence recruitment as well as retention of millennials.
  • Reaching out to millennials now will allow companies to transfer the existing experience that is within their companies before those talents leave. It has been estimated that by 2020 more than half of the US workforce would be millennials.
  • More millennials are currently gravitating towards sales, which is optimal as their qualities make them best suited for this path.
  • With a younger salesforce, CPGs are able to get new and fresh perspectives while still being able to transfer experience through employee development.
  • Time Warner Retail is an example of a CPG that is employing the best practices of focusing millennials and hiring younger aged staff.

Promotion of Flexible Work Conditions

  • Sale positions in CPGs have been known to involve relocation, a reason many persons leave some CPGs.
  • Relocation is a key factor as to why many salespersons leave their positions and as a result, many companies have tried to implement more flexible solutions to avoid losing talents.
  • Companies have started to allow people to work remotely to allow them to remain living where they are and avoid relocation. This promotes recruitment as well as growth and retention of a CPG’s salesforce.
  • Dell Technology Services is an example of a CPG that allows some employees to work remotely with flexible hours as a method of satisfying and building employee relationships.

Focus on Training, Development, and Growth of Employees

  • People, including millennials, have become more interested in their development and growth in a company.
  • Companies that show concern in the further development and growth of their employees tend to have an edge over those that do not, further building their salesforce and maintaining the talents they already have.
  • With the room for growth, persons no longer have to leave jobs to further their training or growth.
  • Bonobos is a CPG, that contains various programs to increase employee development.

Research Strategy

To conduct our research, we visited social media pages, as well as the websites of experts and practitioners in the field, including recruitment sites. The Journal of Marketplace Management provided us with an insight into the problems CPG sales forces face with the change in a generation. This article provided us with the solution for these problems and various ways to attract the cohort of persons that are needed for the salesforce.

Each best practice was further backed up with articles from business websites such as, Business2Community and Monster. These provided us with examples of CPGs that employed some listed methods of recruitment and retention of salesforce employees. Peak Sales Recruiting and Business LinkedIn also provided us with articles that confirmed these best practices and listed examples of CPG companies which are employing them.

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Sales Capability Best Practices - Decisions

Managers waste several days a year on ineffective decision-making. One reason for this is the increased choices to decide between can be overwhelming and stressful. One study showed that CPG companies are struggling with the decision-making process in finding what strategy is best for expansion.

Spur a Productive Debate

  • Assign someone to argue the case in favor of the decision and someone to argue against the decision.
  • The presence of high-quality interactions and debate is the most predictive factor of whether a company made good, fast big-bet decisions.
  • Productive debate a healthy form of conflict; senior managers will need to build trust and give permission for opposition, regardless of the executive order in the room.
  • Greater diversity brings greater combined wisdom and knowledge, along with better performance, so choosing a smaller group to participate in the debate may hurt the decision-making process.

Double-down on Process

  • Assign someone to help clarify objectives, measures, and targets.
  • Forming committees to specialize in a particular topic within the company cuts down on time spent in the decision-making process and makes for high-quality outcomes.
  • An advantage of relying on a committee include access to the group's collective wisdom as well as the capability to spread an expanding executive workload over a number of people.

Ensure Commitment

  • Ensure there is a commitment to the decision, not just a consensus.
  • Confirming that responsibility for assigned decisions is being made by those closest to the work normally delivers faster, better, and more effective outcomes, while also enhancing accountability.
  • To ensure good decision-making through commitment there must be clear company goals, the person must feel they are gaining energy from work, have a feeling they fit with the company, and are in a challenging work environment.

CPG Examples Using Best Practices

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Sales Capability Best Practices - DSD

The following is a list of best practices in terms of the sales capability of direct store delivery (DSD) consumer packaged goods (CPGs). Our research largely focuses on grocery items and related technology, along with the customer experience and expectations, as well as innovation and competition. This is followed by Walmart's somewhat controversial implementation and consecutive reversal of the SKU rationalization.

Assortment and Pricing Optimization

  • A connected technology environment — Specialized DSD software solutions must be smoothly integrated into the core enterprise resource planning (ERP) system for optimal accounting and management of processes like scheduled maintenance, inventory tracking and transport. Real-time information availability and mobile functionality improve business processes as well.
  • Optimizing product rotation — Maintaining freshness of perishable goods by optimizing product rotation is achieved by more frequent deliveries of smaller orders.
  • Improving customer experience — Optimizing the customer experience for repeat business and attracting new customers is achieved through innovation, individualized service and loyalty-based discounts. Properly placed product and pricing displays, top-seller affordability, specialty product availability, a friendly staff and a personalized approach and assistance must all be factored in.
  • Home delivery — Mobile orders via phone, SMS and email combined with prompt local delivery has become a necessity in today's competitive marketplace.
  • Product displays — Visually enticing displays create an overall pleasing aesthetic and drive sales of discounted, limited-edition, seasonal and novel products, as well as product combinations.
  • Pricing and assortment — Price comparison websites and the combination of low pricing and a vast product selection available on mobile and online shopping platforms have greatly limited brick-and-mortar store customer loyalty. Centralized assortment allows for reasonable pricing due to a lower supply chain costs.
  • SKU rationalization — Optimizing assortment based on top sellers, including best-selling items, items sold together most frequently, items bought in high quantities and items bought most frequently helps retailers limit costs.

Walmart and SKU Rationalization

  • Opinions are divided on the topic of SKU rationalization. Walmart reduced its product selection in 2009 by removing less popular items from its shelves which caused a decline in overall sales. Two years later, Walmart put over 8,000 items back on its shelves.
  • According to the Supply Chain Knowledge and Solutions for Everyone (SCMDOJO) website, however, SKU rationalization is recommended as it can be highly effective when it is correctly executed. SCMDOJO is ranked number 8 among the top 75 supply chain blogs and websites.
  • Additionally, in a poll by Retail Wire, 41% of the respondents said that SKU rationalization is successful 39% of the time.

Research Strategy

We conducted our DSD CPGs sales capability best practices research by searching industry and news websites including Forbes, Retail Touch Points, Retail Wire, Plant Services, Biz Fluent, Relex Solutions and SCMDOJO. Below you will find the complete list of sources and quotes.
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Sales Capability Best Practices - Goals

The 3 best practices that can be adopted by Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) companies to ensure organizational fluidity in terms of goals and sales capability operations are the 'use of agile tactics', 'up-skilling top-team leaders', and 'attraction and retention of Millennials in the workforce'.

Best Practice #1: Using Agile Tactics

Best Practice #2: Evolving Roles And Skills Of Top Teams

Best Practice #3: Attraction And Retention Of Millennial Talent

Research Strategy:

To find the most useful sources, sifting through many blogs and articles appearing through database searches had to be done. After perusing through these sites, there were commonalities identified. These pointed towards research done by two major companies within the frame of the topic. The redundant sites were eliminated from the material to be used and the relevant articles were used as sources. What ensured relevance were keyword searches based on the job description, with the main sources producing the highest match results.
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Sales Capability Best Practices - Case Studies

There is limited information available on case studies of CPGs successfully recruiting, building, and retaining top talent within their sales organization. Some CPGs successfully recruiting, building, and retaining top talent within their sales organizations include Whole Foods and Clif Bar & Company.

Whole Foods

  • Whole Foods' line of business caters specifically to the consumer packaged goods (CPG) market segment.
  • Whole Foods has several packaged goods, including original hummus 16 oz package, packaged dried mangoes, among other packaged products sold directly to its consumers via its e-commerce website.
  • The best practices used by Whole Foods that have ensured its success in the retention of hired resources within the grocery business is the utilization of a "values-driven culture." Whole Foods is driven by several values that are evident from the way the company relates.
  • Whole Foods CEO John Mackey, combines elements of service- and values-driven leadership models with philosophies of Japanese management styles to emphasize a sense of purpose. The CEO often comments on "Creating the High Trust Organization" via blog posts. According to Mackey, modern businesses require a higher purpose, which helps to galvanize their employees using a common cause.
  • Mackey has also outlined Whole Foods' purpose, and this is evident in the company's core values. Its core values include supporting "Team Member Excellence" as well as Happiness.
  • Whole Foods creates a work environment that makes its members flourish as well as "succeed to their highest potential." Whole Foods has a sense of purpose known to permeate its ranks [from newly recruited staff to top or management staff] and aids the company in decision-making processes from its highest to the lowest levels. This process has helped Whole Foods to attract [and recruit] the right talent for the organization and has also helped the company to boast of a low employee churn rate.
  • A practice used by Whole Foods is to imbibe a values culture that "allows employees" to be their real selves at work. This strategy helps boost employee satisfaction and retention rate. Staff working at Whole Foods sales locations love coming to work daily because their colleagues are caring.
  • There is no bureaucracy within hierarchies at Whole Foods. The company's employees often get grouped into various teams that are empowered to interpret the company's values as well as make most "corporate decisions on their own."
  • Whole Foods promises jobs tailored to recommendations based on employee interests on its recruitment page. The company offers "Whole Benefits" intended to help its employees to live a good life. The company offers competitive pay and competitive hours to its sales store employees.
  • Whole Foods offers 20% off its store employee grocery bill, which can go as high as 30% off. Whole Foods provides full-time store team members access to health insurance. Staff working at Whole Foods sales locations also love their work because they feel valued for the services they offer.

Why Whole Food's Practice Is Best

  • Whole Foods "allows employees" to be their real selves at work, which is the best practice for CPGs because it allows significant levels of personal autonomy by extending the autonomy of staff. Staff members that dress freely and also express themselves freely are likely to be more satisfied and retained by a company. Experts reveal that autonomy is a significant driver of employee satisfaction and an exceptional retention rate at Whole Foods.
  • Snack Nation reveals that the identified practices have helped Whole Foods recruit, build, and retain talents and are significant to companies hoping to make their "top performers stay."

Success Metrics

  • Whole Food has an exceptional employee retention rate.
  • Through the use of the practices identified above, Whole Foods has made itself "the gold standard" in terms of retention rates within the grocery industry. This success is significant for Whole Foods because the industry sees high employee turnover due to long, unpredictable hours as well as a perception of insignificant growth opportunities.

Clif Bar & Company

  • Clif Bar is a CPG company.
  • Clif Bar & Company operates an e-commerce platform through which its packaged products such as dark chocolate mocha, packaged caramel macchiato, packaged coffee-blended snacks, among other products.
  • One practice used by Clif Bar & Company is investing in personalized growth as well as individual development. Clif's approach in terms of development extraordinary as it focuses not just on the development plan that benefits the company but also supports an employee's individual goals as well.
  • Clif works together with its employees to develop individual values, and also create a personalized growth as well as development plans that enable its employees to live with identified values throughout their careers. Clif Bar has a sustainability benefits program that has earned the company numerous workplace awards, such as "best place to work" by Fortune and Outside magazines. Clif Bar also rewards employees for implementing important decisions or actions that are consistent with the company's values.
  • Individually, employees get encouraged to work out at Clif Bar's state-of-the-art gym and get paid to work out for two hours a week. The company wants to see its employees in the gym, to boost their health.
  • On its United States website, Clif Bar reveals some benefits of working on its team as well as its values. The company boasts of an environment that aids its staff to make progress professionally and in their personal lives. The company also publishes its senior positions as well as the benefits that come with an advertised role.

Why Clif Bar & Company's Practice Is Best

  • The above practices are best because, through them, Clif Bar and Company has achieved an employee retention rate of 97%. The company boasts of extraordinarily-low levels of voluntary turnover among its employees.
  • The practices of Clif Bar has earned it the company numerous workplace awards, such as "best place to work" by Fortune and Outside magazines.
  • Snack Nation reveals that the identified practices have helped Clif Bar & Company to recruit, build, and retain talents and are significant to companies hoping to make their "top performers stay."

Success Metrics

  • Clif Bar and Company has a significant employee retention rate, which is surprisingly impressive or notable (97%). The company boasts of extremely-low levels of voluntary turnover among its employees.
  • Clif Bar has earned numerous workplace awards, such as "best place to work" by Fortune magazine.

Research Strategy

We examined the websites of several CPG brands like Clif Bar to determine how they are successfully recruiting, building, and retaining top talent within their sales organizations. Whole Foods published its core values and employee support practices on its careers page.

We also visited subscription-based market research publications such as E-Marketer. This strategy examined how competing CPGs are successfully recruiting, building, and retaining top talent within their sales organizations. Additional investigation was conducted to uncover how various CPGs are beating the competition and successfully recruiting, building, and retaining top talent within their sales platforms or organizations. Unfortunately, it did not reveal any helpful insight as case studies were focused on the private-label growth of CPG brands.

We also reviewed HR software resource publications such as Ideal. Insights revealed how forward-thinking CPG brands are addressing high turnover levels within the sector through retention efforts. Additional investigation tried to uncover success metrics of retention efforts and detailed explanation of how some CPG brands are implementing such retention efforts within their sales organization. Such in-depth case studies were not made public.

We also reviewed publications of packaged snack delivery companies such as Snack Nation. Snack Nation published several practices used by various companies. These practices are beneficial to companies interested in making their "top performers stay" such as creating a values-driven culture and allowing employees to be their authentic selves at work (at sales stores). We then specifically focused on how the practices have helped companies to recruit, build, and retain top talent. The success metrics on building and retention of recruited individuals were not specific to top-talents within the sales organizations of the investigated CPGs.

A limited number of resources have published case studies and success metrics specific to recruiting, building, and retaining top talent within various CPG sales organizations. We considered case studies of CPGs even where the success metrics do not indicate the retention rate specific to top talents. As such, we also included an analysis on Whole Foods as it is a major retailer of different CPGs. While not owning any CPG products, analyzing the best practices for recruiting, building, and retaining top talent of such a successful retailer could give us some helpful information about the practices that other CPG brands need to adopt.
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Sales Capability Best Practices - Case Study 2

After exhaustive research, we have found three case-studies of Consumer Packaged Goods (CPGs) empowering sales leaders to make a broader range of decisions. They are use of Spring mobile applications (also known as apps) by Coca-Cola bottlers to notably boost their field team productivity, building up the mobile sales profitability at every turn for Hunt Brothers Pizza through the utilization of Spring mobile app and partnership of Jacobs Douwe Egberts with Showpad to develop an efficient mobile selling solution.

Case Study 1: Use Of Spring Mobile Apps By Coca-Cola Bottlers

About Coca Cola:

  • Coca Cola is a popular beverage company in the CPG sector today. Coca Cola was served for the first time in the world at Jacobs' Pharmacy in Atlanta, Ga by Dr. John Pemberton on May 8, 1886.
  • That one emblematic drink paved the way for the transformation into a complete beverage company.

The Challenge:

  • Primary Coca-Cola bottlers across North America were restrained by a "legacy field-management solution" that was obsolete and lagging and also demanded rugged personal computers that weighed more and were costly.
  • Field representatives experienced repeated "syncing and integration issues", resulting in the critical information required to complete store visits effectively not being available to them and therefore this had an impact on the process of building "trusted relationships with local retailers".
  • They also found the user interface of their old solution to be burdening and bewildering, which frequently made them skip significant steps in the sales process.
  • The most unfavorable aspect was that managers could only access restricted insights into field activities, which gave them almost no control over their representatives.

Business Objectives:

  • To find a superior solution, nine of the largest North American Coca-Cola bottlers worked with CONA Services, the IT group within The Coca-Cola System that is in charge of discovering and examining technology partners.
  • The bottlers wanted their field representatives to be capable of concentrating more on strategic selling.
  • In identifying a novel solution, CONA wanted to offer a greatly enhanced user experience that would enable representatives to "become consultative sellers instead of just order takers", real-time insights to allow field representatives to sell more efficiently and managers to instruct field team activities more closely and enhanced selling processes to support field representatives in discovering missed chances and concentrating on greater-value activities.

Practices Carried Out:

  • The Spring mobile field app provided a method for Coca-Cola Bottlers to deploy a solution fast that would address their greatest demands without the need for thorough customization.
  • The major advantages of Spring were "True Offline" capabilities (representatives could therefore perform efficiently, even with no WiFi connection), instantaneous, "out-of-the-box operability without the need for elaborate reconfiguration","advanced syncing and data-replication" (that representatives cannot even notice) and "simple integration with Coca-Cola bottlers’ existing applications and databases".
  • Spring Mobile Solutions was selected to help major Coca-Cola bottlers across North America decrease operational costs, boost workforce effectiveness and propel revenue growth.

Success Metrics:

Developments Noted By Coca Cola Bottlers Using Spring Mobile Apps:

Other Success Metrics After Using Spring Mobile Apps:

  • "90 minutes saved per rep per day" giving the representatives (reps) more time for strategic selling.
  • Only three months were required by Coca Cola bottlers to start "rolling out the Spring solution".
  • "50% reduction in Training Time". The training time was decreased to only four to eight hours.

Feedback By Sales And Other Leaders:

  • As per Terrence Gee, CIO, Coca-Cola Beverages Florida, "“We needed a solution and a partner with the sophistication to meet today’s needs and the agility to grow with us. Spring has delivered.”
  • Quoting Beeland Nielsen, Director of Commercial Leadership, Coca-Cola Bottling Company United, "“It’s been almost overwhelming when it comes to exposing the opportunities we have in the field…there are millions to be made!”
  • Per Adrian Pete Hernandez, Director of Sales Capabilities, Swire Coca-Cola, USA, "Spring has revolutionized our go-to-market strategy. We’ve heard nothing but positive reviews from our sales reps. They absolutely love this tool!".

Case Study 2: Utilization Of Spring Mobile App For Hunt Brothers Pizza

About Hunt Brothers Pizza:

  • Hunt Brothers Pizza is a tale of four brothers enlivening the American dream, for their households and their buyers.
  • Don, Charlie, Jim, and Lonnie Hunt began their long journey in the food business at a tender age employed with their father at Austin’s Drive-In.
  • In 1991, the brothers united "each of their decades of experience and knowledge in the pizza and convenience store industries, founding the company now known as Hunt Brothers Pizza".
  • In the present day, "the company remains family owned with the next generation of the Hunt family ensuring the brothers’ core mission of being a blessing remains the same"

The Challenge:.

  • With its base in Nashville, Tennessee, Hunt Brothers Pizza is committed to "under served markets, often in rural or inner city areas where access to prepared foods is limited".
  • Hunt Brothers Pizza account managers lean towards being "jacks-of-all-trades".
  • "They drive trucks, deliver product, set up promotions, and advise store managers on how best to improve their marketing and sales efforts. To do their job well, they rely heavily on the company’s mobile field solution".
  • The former solution of the company was hard to update and did not offer their support team, distributors or field account managers with the information they required.
  • Account managers had restricted tools for inventory management and selling while management could not access the real-time field data it required to function more effectively and lucratively.

Business Objectives:

  • Hunt Brothers Pizza required a "mobile field-force solution that would enable its field account managers to do their jobs more efficiently, while capturing the data that distributors needed to build and optimize the overall business".
  • They required a quicker solution that could meet all of their capability requirements and make key performance indicators (KPIs) available on the dashboard of their interface.
  • Their objective was to be able to offer "real-time reporting on what was and was not working at each store so that they could push appropriate updates to the field team throughout the day".
  • The novel solution required to have a smoother, quicker, more intuitive interface that could support their field team in discovering missed chances quickly and also enhance service.
  • Dashboards were needed with real-time data insights for representatives to sell more efficiently and managers to instruct field teams more closely.
  • A portal was required "with real-time data on each store location so leadership could spot trends and improve results on the fly".
  • Light-weight, more user-friendly hardware were needed "that could be purchased off-the-shelf and maintained at minimal cost"

Practices Carried Out:

  • Spring provided "Hunt Brothers Pizza a mobile field application and HQ portal that the company could quickly and seamlessly deploy company-wide to address its biggest business challenges, without the need for costly and time-consuming customization".
  • The advantages offered by Spring included ‘True Offline’ capabilities which helped representatives to complete their work anywhere without worries of Wi-Fi or cellular signal, an instinctive interface, enhanced syncing, "simplified training", "two-way communication" and novel effectiveness.

Success Metrics:

Great Operational Improvements Noted After Using Spring Mobile App:

Other Measurable Improvements Using Spring Mobile App:

Feedback By Sales And Other Leaders:

  • Hunt Brothers Pizza has been tremendously satisfied with the transition to Spring platform.
  • As per Paul Weier, Senior Director Field Operations, "It’s giving us eight weeks of history for every customer that we’re going to service that day as our account managers are deciding what product they need to load on their truck. So, we’ve seen a 75% reduction in out-of-stocks".
  • Quoting Jon Smallwood, Help Desk Supervisor, "If someone were to call me today and ask me if they should choose Spring, I would say absolutely hands down. You need to get this solution in your business right now".
  • Per Chris Dorris, Director of IT, "Spring addressed our marketing, product delivery and merchandising needs all in one application. The investment in Spring is definitely paying for itself. They have really helped us take our business to the next level".

Case Study 3: Partnership Of Jacobs Douwe Egberts (JDE) with Showpad

About Jacobs Douwe Egberts (JDE):

  • With a history of more than 265 years, Jacobs Douwe Egberts (JDE) trusts in the enlivening power of a cup of coffee.
  • In the present day, coffee & tea portfolio of JDE is available in over 100 countries worldwide through iconic household names like Jacobs, Tassimo, Moccona, Senseo, L’OR, Douwe Egberts, TiÓra, Super, Kenco, Pilao and Gevalia.
  • Jacobs Douwe Egberts (JDE) Professional, a producer of coffee, tea and coffee machines is situated throughout Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg, catering to a customer base worldwide with different requirements and expectations.

The Challenge:

  • Jacobs Douwe Egberts (JDE) Professional needed to move from door-to-door seller of coffee machines to lean more towards "the value-added and concept-selling proposition" and to do that, they required to build a selling story.
  • The mobile sales solution was needed to guide the sales people and the primary difference between their home-made solution and Showpad was the reporting which showed "what assets were used by whom", people with good KPIs and the people with less good KPIs in the use of Showpad.
  • This gives the direction of how they require to trigger their sales.

Business Objectives:

  • Jacobs Douwe Egberts (JDE) needed to decide whether they wanted to create their own solution or pay for an external software solution.
  • Showpad fit the requirements of Jacobs Douwe Egberts (JDE) and also it only took 25% of the costs estimated to build a home-made solution.

Practices Carried Out:

  • Implementing internal solutions involved surprises whereas using Showpad resulted in no surprises in time and cost.
  • Showpad is shared with sales people at Jacobs Douwe Egberts (JDE) even before a computer and the on boarding is easy resulting in happier sales people.

Success Metrics:

  • An interactive buyer experience was achieved through use of Showpad.
  • Showpad was used "to organize digital content, making it easier for sellers to instantaneously access material so they can instead spend time developing solutions for their buyers"
  • The results were quick.
  • Since using Showpad, "JDE Professional’s print costs fell 71% in the first year and an additional 54% the second year".
  • 80% of the people are daily users of Showpad.
  • Jacobs Douwe Egberts (JDE) has been a customer of Showpad since 2014.

Other Helpful Information:

  • As per a report by McKinsey, successful CPGs in China lean towards distributing revenue-growth management (RGM) initiatives across marketing sales teams and they are more likely to have the head of sales in joint business planning with other leaders with key accounts.

Research Strategy:

Our research team made an all-inclusive search for case studies of CPGs empowering sales leaders to make a broader range of decisions. Initially, we selected case studies pertaining to United States and North America as the geographical scope and then we expanded the scope to case studies world-wide to provide more useful information.

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Sales Capability Best Practices - Case Study 3

CPG companies that employ a direct store delivery (DSD) model are often able to leverage their delivery logistics to increase their brand presence on grocery store shelves. In the following three case studies, CPG producers and distributors optimized their processes in different ways to maximize profits.

Case Study 1: Faribault Foods

  • Faribault Foods is a Minnesota-based producer of premium canned foods. In addition to canning, they also provide logistics services to food producers who contract with them, including Direct Store Delivery.

Case Study 2: Superior Beverage

Company/brand name, what that company did, why they chose to do that, and what the results of those actions were.
  • Superior Beverage Group is an Ohio-based family business that distributes beer, wine, spirits, and non-alcoholic beverages, most under the Anheuser-Busch umbrella.
  • They encountered problems with inventorying products in their Chicago warehouse, which relied on manually-filled paper documents.
  • In order to improve the accuracy of their inventories and the availability of their products, they implemented inventory control technology that eliminated most of the manual tasks that had previously resulted in errors.
  • As a result of optimizing their inventory technology, Superior Beverage can forecast more accurately, allowing them to make products available to their buyers earlier.

Case Study 3: Santa Cruz Pasta Factory

  • Santa Cruz Pasta Factory is a California-based manufacturer of organic pastas and sauces. They deliver their products directly to stores in the Bay Area.
  • The company found that their paper-based invoicing process was causing costly delays and errors as their drivers struggled to fulfill different product orders from each store.
  • They moved to solve the problem by replacing their paper system with mobile computers, where drivers could complete inventory and accounting tasks on the same platform.
  • The new system cut the average amount of time drivers spent in each grocery store in half, from 40 minutes to 20. This allows Santa Cruz Pasta Factory to maximize the availability of their products on grocery store shelves, thus growing their business.

Research Methods

We employed targeted searches for case studies of CPG companies that use a DSD model. Information on each was most readily available through reports by the consulting firms who helped them optimize their processes.
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Sales Capability Best Practices - Case Study 4

Two case studies of how CPGs ensure the organization shares common direction, goals, and definition of winning, including functional contributions towards those common goal involve actions taken by Unilever and Nestle.


  • Unilever is an Anglo-Dutch consumer goods company founded in 1930 by Margarine Unie, a Dutch margarine producer, and British soap maker Lever Brothers. The company has 400 brands across 14 categories of home, personal care, and food products.
  • Unilever caters to billions of people in 190 nations, and they are highly focused on providing value, integrity and long-term responsible growth in their products and services. Unilever partners with governments and NGOs to face global challenges.


  • Unilever implemented the IMC approach (Integrated Marketing Communications) to ensure regulatory compliance. It protects their brands and reputation and prevents harm to people and the environment in which they operate.
  • Unilever follows a Business Integrity Program that is defined as working with suppliers, agents, distributors, and business partners who have similar values and standards that Unilever holds. This program has 12 fundamental principles: Standard of Conduct, Obeying Laws, Employees, Consumers, Shareholders, Business Partners, Community Involvement, Public Activities, The Environment, Innovation, Competition, and Business Integrity.

IMC Approach

  • The strategic focus is to invest in long-term strategy categories and brands that deliver growth to the benefit of the stakeholders. It delivers consistency to sales growth and gives leverage to marketing, supply chain, and IT innovation in improving products and service for market growth, while avoiding negative impacts on the environment.
  • Lipton, one of Unilever's products, worked closely with its sales people to get feedback on the current market situation and made note of things that needed to be done to solve or improve an issue. This is done to make the IMC approach effective.
  • They work closely with an advertising agency and supply chain in planning the campaign and the distribution of sources.


  • Unilever partnered with Percolate, a content marketing platform, to face challenges on how brands were communicating with Facebook. The established goals for the program are global scaling, effectiveness, and efficiency.
  • The initial pilot program worked with three brands: Knorr, Hellman's, and Surf.

Global Scaling

  • Percolate made progression from global to local teams customizing software for the architecture of brand with specific workflows for all marketing process.
  • The result was fast implementation for separate brand teams across disparate markets.


  • The goal is to build brand love and to create brands with a point of view and a clear purpose. Percolate and Unilever codified processes for scalable content creation with formalized controls over brand identity in order to maintain high levels of social content and to ensure that the content truly ties back to the brand goals.
  • The result was an increase in brand consistency through an analysis of the visuals used and qualitative assessment of the content produced. Surf Philippines was able to organize their own assets for easy discovery, customization, and distribution.
  • Hellman's Brazil was able to drag and drop brand assets to an image of a product because of Percolate's millions of stock photographs. Knorr Argentina was able to build and track content on specific topics and hashtags.


  • Percolate was used to expedite the marketing process, streamline communications, and improve workflows.
  • Percolate removed points of friction from three specific areas of content creation -inspiration, collaborative creation, and approvals.
  • Percolate's content planner and scheduling tools were used to manage collaboration content creation, enabling the company to communicate feedback internally and externally and make quick adjustments before publishing the content.
  • Unilever was able to share highly relevant content to communities effectively.
  • The estimated annual savings on content production was $10 million.


  • Nestle is the world's leading company on nutrition, health, and wellness. It was founded in 1867 by Henri Nestle, a German-born pharmacist. The company merged with Anglo-Swiss, a condensed milk company, in 1905 to form what is now known as the Nestle Group.
  • The company continues to create value for the people in the countries where they are established including the farmers, employees, consumers, and the communities where they work.


  • The aim of sustainable business is to limit the negative impact in communities and ensure future generations can prosper. They created a value for society focused on nutrition, water, and rural development.
  • Lean production, an approached developed in Japan, aims to reduce waste and minimize resources used in the production process. This lean approach is called Nestle Continuous Excellence (NCE). This also includes Kaizen and JIT, which are both Japanese techniques for minimizing waste.
  • This resulted in social and environmental benefits. One example is in Buston, UK, where Nestle operates. They worked with the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust and planted wild flowers on factory grounds to attract butterflies back to the area.
  • A sustainable drainage system was placed in the community where they operate to manage rainwater, as well as an innovative heat recovery system to help reduce waste.
  • In the UK, the resulting designs enabled bottling facilities to become efficient and allowed significantly reduced the impact of the business on the environment.


  • The company is committed to producing employees with necessary skills and abilities.
  • Employees at Nestle UK, for example, are trained and developed, and they are offered extensive staff development opportunities like buying and selling homes, apprenticeship, and graduate schemes.
  • These programs resulted in employees having a wide range of promotion opportunities and high retention rates. It also promoted excellent customer satisfaction.


  • Nestle works, creates, and supplies products to customers. It converts raw materials to finished products for consumers to enjoy.
  • They implement what they call Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Creating Shared Value (CSV) for not only the benefit of the shareholders but also the environment and communities.
  • This resulted in many benefits in areas like plant research, training farmers, improving social conditions, and crops being certified in the Fairtrade level. One such example is Nestle's Cocoa plan.

From Part 03
  • "Plant managers in today’s food and beverage industry must consistently face new challenges while keeping pace with rapidly changing consumer needs. But with the right technology, they are better equipped to increase efficiency, speed production and more easily demonstrate adherence to government regulations."
  • "Deliver goods to the customer’s doorstep. You can set a minimum amount of goods purchased and put a cap on the distance for delivery to ensure that this does not adversely affect profitability."
  • "A RetailWire poll in June of last year found respondents split on the value of SKU rationalization efforts. Forty-two percent stated that efforts undertaken by retailers were somewhat (26 percent) or very unsuccessful (16 percent). Forty-one percent thought SKU rationalization had been somewhat (39 percent) or very successful (two percent). Eighteen percent said the book was still out."
From Part 06
  • "On May 8, 1886, Dr. John Pemberton served the world’s first Coca-Cola at Jacobs' Pharmacy in Atlanta, Ga. From that one iconic drink, we’ve evolved into a total beverage company. "
  • "How Coca-Cola bottlers significantly increased field team productivity using Spring mobile apps."
  • "Spring Mobile Solutions was chosen to help major Coca-Cola bottlers across North America reduce operational costs, increase workforce efficiency and drive revenue growth."
  • "“We needed a solution and a partner with the sophistication to meet today’s needs and the agility to grow with us. Spring has delivered.” Terrence Gee, CIO, Coca-Cola Beverages Florida"
  • "Hunt Brothers® Pizza is a story of four brothers bringing to life the American dream, for their families and their customers."
  • "Don, Charlie, Jim, and Lonnie Hunt got their start on a long journey in the food business at a young age working for their father at Austin’s Drive-In."
  • "In 1991, the brothers combined each of their decades of experience and knowledge in the pizza and convenience store industries, founding the company now known as Hunt Brothers Pizza."
  • "Maximizing mobile sales profitability at every turn for Hunt Brothers Pizza."
  • "Hunt Brothers Pizza chose Spring to help increase efficiency, reduce operational costs, decrease out-of-stocks and enable field account managers to spend more quality time advising customers on how to grow revenue."
  • "“Spring addressed our marketing, product delivery and merchandising needs all in one application. The investment in Spring is definitely paying for itself. They have really helped us take our business to the next level.” Chris Dorris, Director of IT"
  • "JACOBS DOUWE EGBERTS (JDE) For more than 265 years, we have been inspired by the belief that it’s amazing what can happen over a cup of coffee."
  • " Today our coffee & tea portfolio is available in over 100 countries around the world through iconic household names including: Jacobs, Tassimo, Moccona, Senseo, L’OR, Douwe Egberts, TiÓra, Super, Kenco, Pilao & Gevalia."
  • "Everyone deserves a cup of coffee they love: that’s a fundamental principle at Jacobs Douwe Egberts (JDE) Professional, a maker of coffee, tea, and coffee machines."
  • "The company, located throughout Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg, serves a global customer base with different needs and expectations."
  • "JDE Professional partnered with Showpad to deliver an interactive buyer experience."
  • "The company uses Showpad to organize digital content, making it easier for sellers to immediately access material so they can instead spend time creating solutions for their buyers."
  • "The results were swift: Since working with Showpad, JDE Professional’s print costs fell 71% in the first year and an additional 54% the second year."
  • "But in China, winners tend to distribute RGM resources and responsibilities across marketing and sales teams, spreading them out across the entire commercial organization."
  • "Drawing on local resources for RGM expertise ensures that local-market understanding is embedded into RGM decisions."
From Part 07
  • "In fact, the time savings allow the drivers to stop at three to four more stores on the route, which has allowed Simonovich to grow his business without adding an additional driver and van."
  • "They’re now able to see what is loaded on the trucks and track any missing packages, view what is received throughout the day, and easily run accurate forecasts. With DDE, Superior Beverage is now enabled to receive against a downloaded purchase order or manually enter a PO."
From Part 08
  • "Percolate and Unilever codified processes for scalable content creation with formalized controls over brand identity."
  • "Percolate removed points of friction from three specific areas of content creation - inspiration, collaborative creation, and approvals. "