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Sales-as-a-Service: What does sales as a service mean? How it works for consumer goods companies?


The Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) companies, have always found it challenging to reach Indian rural markets. The potential of this market, constituting >70% of India’s retail landscape, has remained largely untapped, primarily due to challenges in rural distribution. Due to the saturation of the urban markets, companies are adapting go-to-market strategies to meet their continuous growth ambitions. This is where Sales-as-a-Service (SaaS) emerges as a game-changing solution that can help overcome the limitations of traditional distribution models and achieve remarkable risk-free market expansion.

Challenges in Unorganized Retail Distribution
Customers choose convenience over brand loyalty. So, to protect sales, companies want to maintain a full product range at every relevant outlet (numeric distribution). However, this is frequently compromised due to fears about cost and control. Companies tend to experience diminishing returns for their cost of servicing, i.e., as shops get smaller, the order value per sales visit decreases, and the number of shops declines with increased distances. Concurrently, as the sales force expands, its management becomes more challenging. Even though companies endeavor to continuously expand their physical market presence and make their complete product portfolio readily accessible to consumers, they face the harsh reality of reaching only a fraction of their intended market, even after years of operations.

A typical distribution system faces multiple challenges like significant gap between the number of mapped and serviced retailers, the number of active retailers, the total range sold (secondary) stagnates, field force facing a constant conflict of Value Target v/s Reach & Range Expansion, and finally absenteeism or attrition leading to “Drops”

Sunil Davis Kolangaden, Co-Founder and CEO of Prowess Selling Skills (PSSPL) shares, “In order to address these challenges in the Indian FMCG industry needs some out-of-the-box thinking. And one of the solutions is to go for Sales-as-a-Service (SaaS). Under this model, the service provider delivers on-ground sales executives, retailer databases, comprehensive software suites, dedicated apps, and complete support (including retail finance) required to undertake market expansion activities in a chosen region/market. In addition to increasing the company’s market reach, the provider’s ability to integrate technologies like machine learning and artificial intelligence enables superior service to targeted retailers.”

Sales as a Service is a comprehensive solution that transcends traditional sales models. It involves outsourcing the sales function to a specialized service provider, enabling companies to focus on their core competencies while leveraging the expertise of sales professionals.

Though the adoption of SaaS may seem daunting for companies, but it offers a risk-free solution to acquire new markets because there is no interruption in current sales operations, mitigating the fear of disruption. No additional CAPEX is required and the cost per sale under this model may be the same or lower compared to the traditional approach.As the consumer goods industry continues evolving and easier-to-serve markets saturate, embracing Sales-as-a-Service may be the key to increasing market share and growth.


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