How to improve sales team performance in the digital channel

Digitalization has imposed itself on brands' sales strategies, as well as on the management of their teams. Ecommerce has swiftly accelerated in 2020, and companies have had to adapt their sales plans, transform team roles, and create new positions to take on the potential opportunities in this channel.

Ecommerce managers, key account managers, and digital trade marketers need tools to better manage brand challenges in the online channel, as well as to work closely with the sales team to ensure a successful cohesive strategy.


7 tips to increase sales team performance in the online channel:

1.- Clarify objectives

It may seem basic, but the rapid rise of the online channel has caused many companies to struggle as they pivot. What should your brand focus on when setting goals?

Effective goals are SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based. To drive online sales, your brand should focus its goals around four main performance indicators:

  • Price
  • Stocks
  • Positioning
  • Content

To make your objectives specific and measurable, you need to know the current status of your products. You know your product better than anyone else, including which products are performing well online, and which retailers are achieving a higher turnover quota.

Analyze in detail the four KPIs above, and apply them to your brand to set concrete targets and time challenges for the teams.

When it comes to setting time-based goals, most of our clients set target review stages in order to be more effective:

“We’re a small team, so we’ve initially focused on performance data for our core benchmarks at the retailers that show the largest percentage of sales. Once we’ve achieved this, we’ll focus on a study of prices and stocks in other references and points of sale.”

Ecommerce manager


Setting clear objectives helps the team to prioritize, optimizing their time and resources. In addition, having a tool where improvements can be quickly observed on a daily basis is motivating.

2.- Unify your team’s language

Effective communication improves the work environment, relationships between colleagues, and avoids misunderstandings that can hinder the achievement of objectives. Using common tools allows you to unify communication, streamline processes and collaboration, improve the monitoring of objectives, and achieve greater efficiency.

One of our clients realized that this was the first benefit of using Upshelf:

“Using data to visualize our real situation in the market avoids confusion: we all understand the same thing, and it makes it easier to focus together. We know our objectives, our performance, and we’re aligned in the way we operate: we observe, detect points of improvement, act, and measure the impact.”

Online Channel KAM

Our tool helps to keep the people involved in the online sales strategy effectively informed of the performance of their products, and makes it easier for them to unify their efforts.

3.-Monitor the results of the actions

Once the objectives have been defined in a clear and understandable way for all team members, it’s important to be able to monitor and measure the impact of the actions: have they given the expected results?

Whether comparing stock and price evolution graphs, using a time period comparison of the four KPIs (price, stock, positioning and content), by location, or by product category, you’ll be able to detect whether the actions have had the expected impact on the results.

4.- Facilitate technology to spend time on what really matters

A key account manager must have the necessary data to strengthen their relationship with their distributor or store, develop strategies to optimize their agreements, and reach new opportunities: that's the heart of their job.

If that person spends their time manually crawling websites to get the data, spends hours making long pivot tables in Excel, or needs part of their day to visualize non-relevant data in complicated tools from external providers, they can’t focus on what really matters.

Tools that automate ecommerce performance tracking and are simple to use improve the efficiency of your staff, saves them time, and allows them to focus on the tasks they were hired to do.

Upshelf also allows data to be downloaded as an Excel file or integrated directly into BI systems, as well as sending personalized alerts about products, retailers, or KPIs to the people in charge. This type of technology eliminates the daily manual work on price and stock changes in Excel files, providing accurate, real-time, conclusions relevant to your ecommerce sales strategy.

Getting people to focus on what matters facilitates a quick return on investment by increasing performance and productivity:

“I used to need eight days to get all the information manually. Now, I get email alerts, and we’ve improved our positioning in 70% of ecommerce.”

KAM


5.- Provide your teams with only the detailed data they need

Too much irrelevant information generates noise, jeopardizes team focus, can be overwhelming and demotivating, and can lead to analysis paralysis.

When handling data relevant to different teams or roles, it’s useful to set up filters that fit your workflows, showing only relevant information according to the role or responsibility. In this way, you’ll help them to be more efficient and more effective in performing their daily tasks. For example, limit the information to only info about the products they’re responsible for, or their own distribution points.

You can also customize the dashboard for each team member, so that only their points of sale and favourite or relevant products are displayed on their main screen. Customized alerts allow individuals to be proactively informed of any changes that may affect outlets or products they’re responsible for.

6.- Make decisions based on data

The use of data in strategic decision making is key to ensure the success of sales plans. There are so many benefits of basing your decisions on data – we’ve listed a few below:

  1. Improve decisions by providing a deeper and more accurate understanding of your market position, and that of your competitors. This ensures more successful decisions, since you have a more realistic view of the context, your strengths, and where you can improve.

  2. Data allows you to forecast results, and capture trends and opportunities based on historical trends and movements in other markets.

  3. Utilizing data helps to estimate the impact of business decisions on the company, mitigating uncertainty and the possibility of failure.

7.- Be generous

Ensuring your retailers are happy is a direct investment in your sales results. A retailer who feels cared for will be more likely to serve your sales team, buy your product, and make sure it’s well-positioned in their web search results.

Analyze the situation of your products for the four main KPIs in that retailer (price, stock, positioning, and content) and involve the team in the incentives that could help achieve your objectives.

  • Are you interested in adjusting your prices higher or lower?
  • Can you compensate with marketing opportunities?
  • Does the retailer have updated and quality images of your product, as well as access to full product descriptions?

Collaborate with the retailer to improve the positioning of your products, and you’ll help your brand to sell more.

If you want to try a new and accurate tool to improve the performance of your sales team, try Upshelf for 10 days at no cost, and with no obligation.

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