With the coming of the hyper automation and digital technologies, the distributor sales force, which forms the core of secondary sales, are gearing up to leverage this more than ever. The success of any distribution business critically depends on the right technology enablement of the distributors specifically in the Energy downstream segment. The ability to beat the competition from other petrochemical product manufacturers including different lubricant product segments and chemicals through wider and broader customer base is key to success.
Reimagining the Digital Distributor Sales Force
Let us look at the potential of automation and digital enablement of day-in-life scenarios of distributor sales representative (DSR) and distributor sales managers (DSM). A DSR is required to travel much to reach dealers in multiple locations within a specified time window. A GPS enabled mobile app with a route planner & optimizer with the underlying AI engine can prove to be a great resource in such scenarios. With its help, the shortest route can be planned for the individual in advance. A pre-planned daily and weekly beat scheduler with built in route planner can augment the productivity significantly. A cognitive mobile AI engine can push notifications to the DSR using the GPS location services to intimate the DSR of other prospects in the nearby locations who fit pretty much the same profile of DSR ‘s other customers.
Smart Ordering is another key enabler in the DSR digital journey. DRS can create orders while on the move in a hands-free manner using voice recognition engine or motion gesture. In the event there is no internet connectivity which can be the case in remote locations, the DSR need to be able to store the data in offline mode. These offline orders would then be synchronized to the distributor back office system once internet connectivity is available.
The ability to predict and recommend insightful information to the DSR is a key to winning more customers. A predictive analytics engine on mobile can be deployed to scan through historical sales and trends to identify patterns. These patterns can be used to recommend the type of lubricant segment and classifications that are best suited to meet certain customers within a territory.
DSRs can be assessed using KPI s that reflect their performance on a quarterly basis. Rewards and recognition plans can be pushed to mobile platforms to track every DSR against a set of targets and send mobile notifications to let them know of progress.