BrainTrust Query: Is globilization gaining importance with U.S retailers, or is this a tempest in a Tesco teapot?
By Ben Ball, Senior Vice President, Dechert-Hampe
Our recently completed survey of leading CPG sales executives and retailers strikes some familiar themes and, we think, reveals some intriguing new ideas as well. Notably, the area most rapidly emerging on retailers’ list of importance is “globalization” – and yet, it hasn’t jumped up much on manufacturers’ radar screens at all. In fact, it fell in importance for sales execs relative to where they ranked it in the same study three years ago. One can’t help but wonder – has globalization become a more pressing topic for U.S. retailers as Tesco prepares to enter the market?
The purpose of the Sales Force of the Future Study is to identify what both CPG sales execs and retailers expect from their account teams – and whether they are getting it. The same group is also asked to predict how their priorities will change three years out.
One familiar theme from earlier studies that still comes through is the disparity between what sales execs and retailers value most in an account executive. Typically, CPG manufacturers are looking for their sales people to be good at analysis and planning, networking, negotiating and influencing – in short, at the traditional selling skills.
Retailers are looking for help in demand generation in their stores. Looking out three years into the future, retailers seem to want their manufacturer representatives to look more like agency account execs or brand managers as they dramatically increase the importance placed on attributes like creativity, innovation and local marketing knowledge. Still, that evolution in retailers’ needs is predictable given today’s trends toward in-store marketing and the differentiation imperative retailers’ face.
But what to make of this increase in interest in globalization by retailers? And to confound the situation even more, retailers gave a very low “Current Performance” rating to manufacturers when it came to this globalization attribute (1.8 on a scale of 1 – 5). Top that off with the fact that the largest single disparity measured between “Retailers’ Importance Ratings” and “Manufacturers’ Future Development Priorities” was in – you guessed it – globalization.
Discussions Questions: Is globalization a real issue for retailers or just a short-term reaction to current events? Are manufacturer sales teams equipped to help retailers understand what is happening around the world and what, if anything, they need to do about it? Should they be?