The Mac Baren sales force system
Mac Baren has always been a company which has showed its ability to combine tradition with the right amount of innovation required to continue playing an essential role in the tobacco industry, even at times of significant change, like the ones we are experiencing now.
Walid El Saad, Market Manager for Denmark, talks to us about the new Sales Force System which helps clients and agents optimise their work and the tasks of every department in our office every day.
Walid manages 16 people who are committed to making sure our products reach the tobacconists’ every day. One thing is for sure: if you want to survive in this market, you need to innovate.
The innovation we talk about in this article refers to a system our agents use during their visits to the many clients we serve all across the nation on a daily basis.
Opportunities generated by our track and trace system
As we all know, the recent legislation pertaining to the traceability of tobacco products has presented many challenges to businesses in our industry, and everyone has tried to tackle them in the best way possible. The significant changes to the production and distribution process, however, have also forced us all to innovate several processes, including sales at our sales points.
When we had to equip our sales force with software that complied with the new legislation, we had two possible options: the first, which was easier and more financially viable, was to integrate additional functions into the current system in order to ensure it met the new regulation requirements. The second option was more complex but undoubtedly more innovative: this was to redesign our software from scratch to give our agents a state-of-the-art tool which not only kept up with the times, but which also gave them the chance to improve their work in various ways.
Prevention is always better than treatment
One of our system’s most useful features is that it can help us all to avoid situations in which we are out of stock. This way, we can strive to guarantee the constant presence of our products at the sales points that request it or in places where happens to be a higher demand.
Sometimes, out-of-stock occurrences took our production system by surprise; other times, our clients, were unaware of the increasing demand for a given product, so did not request it, or better, said product was never recommended by our agents.
Today, thanks to our new system, we can reduce these unpleasant situations to a minimum.
Advantages for our agents
With the old system, our agents had to spend time recording all the products available at a given sales point each time. This procedure took at least five minutes per visit, meaning there was less time available for the most important job: selling.
Today, our system practically automates this activity and it manages to record the presence or absence of Mac Baren products at the sales point immediately.
Another great advantage is the chance to accumulate a large amount of data which is sent to our offices and which helps us to make more realistic analyses of the market trends, even on a local level, and to foresee which products our clients will need in the near future.
In addition, we have integrated an efficient routing system into the new software which suggests to our agents which sales points need visiting every day, thus reducing the time they need to spend on planning their journey. Obviously, no one knows their clients and their needs better than the people who work for us and no software will ever substitute their experience in the field. For this reason, agents can freely make amendments to the suggested routing in order to optimise it based on their clients’ needs.
Advantages for our clients
Our new system not only helps the sales network, but it also gives our clients enormous added value.
The data we gather is also used to help clients understand which products he/she needs the most, to foresee market trends and act accordingly, and to recommend suitable products to satisfy these trends. In this way, the sales activity becomes a real commercial consultancy which goes beyond the actual sales.