One Blog |February 21, 2018 | POS Tracking Software

An Automated Point-of-Sale (POS) Tracking System Can Make Your Sales Reps Look Good

Denis Clark

Increase Sales, Decrease Costs and Improve Productivity

An Automated Point-of-Sale (POS) Tracking System Can Make Your Sales Reps Look GoodHistorically, these three things have always been at the top of a list of key challenges for any type of business.

And this is even more true today due to the on-going acceleration of competition for not only market share but also for actual market size.

If you are a distributor of beverage alcohol, an on-line, Point-of-Sale (POS) tracking system can and will help your sales organizations improve their performance in these three areas more than ever before.

The Distributor’s Sales Function in the Beverage Alcohol Market

We have lived through a fairly prolonged period of slow growth in the overall beverage alcohol market, but recent data seems to signal the return to at least modest growth in the total beverage alcohol market. 

There has also been a continued erosion of loyalties between retailers and the distributors.

Part of the reason for this erosion is the accelerated turnover of Sales Reps within beer, wine and spirits distributorships. Of course, there has been similar turnover within the distributor’s customers which affects their ability to have a “relationship” with the distributor beyond the mandatory “order taking” function.

Should this continue on the current path, it won’t be long before the “ordering function” gets transferred to an on-line function via the Internet.

The Fear Is We May Be Reaching the End of An Era

A distributor’s customers tend to buy on price alone, if given a choice. The salesperson seems to do less and less actual selling, and more and more inventory replenishment.

Look at it this way:

A retail customer will most likely buy from your competition, especially if the competition’s price is $2.00 less per case. The risk to the retailer in choosing one versus the other is fairly slim since retailers know that beer drinkers are quite willing to buy either Bud Light, Miller Lite or Coors Light based exclusively on the per-case price.

How Do You Track POS Today?

Perhaps you offer POS marketing materials to close this competitive gap. But how do you know that the POS is working if you don't track it?

If you’re like the majority of distributors, you don’t track POS at all. Often sales reps when trying to get a beverage order handle POS something like this:

The salesperson offers up some appropriate POS materials (signs, for the most part) to the customer to “sweeten the deal”. The rep is trying to overcome the retailer’s objections about increasing the sales order-size or winning additional “shelf space”. So how about some “free POS”.

I’m sure you can imagine your rep offering paper and/or permanent signs, displays or other point-of-sale materials to encourage the retailer to accept additional cases of both the usual and perhaps new products, too.

Typically, the POS order is hastily written on a piece of paper (including napkins) or entered into a free-format text box at the bottom of the beverage order-entry screen.  The customer is trusting that the POS from the distributor will be helpful in convincing his customers to convert from being shoppers into buyers. Your rep then thanks his customer for the order and moves onto the next customer, repeating the process.

In most cases tracking and reporting on what happened never occurs.

What’s a Distributor to Do?

As a distributor owner or marketing executive you need to call upon every system, every tool and every approach you can to gain, grow and retain a competitive advantage. When your reps are in the market, they should be equipped with the latest and greatest weapons of beverage sales and marketing.

You already know that a computerized ordering system is one of your weapons in enabling the sales function.

Now you need to bring another weapon to bear in that critical moment when your sales rep works to increase the average revenue or case equivalent sales per customer.

Now is the time to take a look at POS Tracking Software. What you do next could have a huge impact on what you can actually “sell” to your customers.

The Case for POS Tracking

Based on our 10-years of experience working with beverage distributors, their sales reps’ signage requests are often incorrectly translated into a sign or poster that then has to be re-worked.

How often?

On average each rep will generate at least one reworked sign order per month.

That is unless you have a system that helps you track and manage your POS.

An Estimate of the Cost of Reworks

We have found that the cost of a sign or display re-work averages between $35 and $50.

However, the real cost of a re-work is much higher due to the fact that a sign that has to be re-worked usually reaches your customer days after your competition’s latest and greatest POS material.

So, having a lot of reworks does erode the market share for your brand or product. What does that cost you?

Poorly Managed POS Can Negatively Affect Sales

It may be overly dramatic to suggest one of the possible consequences of not having a POS tracking and management system is the loss of customers.

But it is completely without exaggeration to suggest that you are very likely to lose sales without a POS tracking and management system.

Sales efforts are now fully and permanently intertwined with POS marketing.

Your beverage alcohol sales team achieves its peak results when the POS function is tracked, measured and managed — and that is only possible with an automated system.

Concluding Suggestion

We suggest that now is the time to apply the same careful thought to your POS marketing tracking, measurement and management that you did many years ago when automated such functions as order entry, inventory, warehouse management, truck maintenance, logistics and accounting systems.

Just as simple and just as easy.

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