Skynamo serves as a brilliant follow-up tool used for post-campaign analysis. It makes it easy for managers to follow up with relevant questions, ensuring they receive accurate answers in return. “We make sure that they are stocked correctly for future promotion events. We know immediately where we can do things better next time. What’s more, we stay on top of competitor movements and what is happening in the broader trade, as we also get an idea of how competitors operate in these stores.”
Improved customer follow-up visits
The quality of a distributor’s customer service becomes evident during follow-up visits. During these visits merchandisers learn whether queries or problems from previous visits have been resolved or not. “Some information can only be answered during follow-up visits and that is why access to historical data is important to us. It allows us to go back to information recorded during a previous visit and to answer questions accordingly.”
Whenever merchandisers log store visits on Skynamo, details from their last visit appear on their mobile app. Buyers’ details are available along with updated stock item lists. Buyers are immediately notified online when stock needs to be ordered for delivery. This information will be available at the next visit and merchandisers can check whether deliveries happened as scheduled.
“Our merchandisers are a lot better prepared and operate a lot more efficiently during customer visits.” They can follow up on reports from previous visits and know what to look out for and to ask about during a new visit. They are more proactive in their interactions with customers. Instead of simply answering or responding to questions, they act as consultants who offer suggestions to help their customers make buying decisions which will benefit their business.
Less paperwork, more environmentally friendly
Elizabeth Arden SA wanted to reduce paperwork for two reasons. Firstly, as a matter of principle to be environmentally responsible and, secondly, to move away from unnecessary paperwork which limited merchandisers’ sales efficiency. Reps are now much more focussed on the sales as a large chunk of admin has been eliminated.
“It was both a sales and supply chain management decision. We moved on for the sake of remaining competitive.”
More accurate information allows Elizabeth Arden SA to manage stock movements much better. Their packaging and distribution process is therefore more time-efficient, cost-effective and, once again, they’re using packaging materials in a more responsible manner.
“We are logistically more efficient, no longer sending out half-empty boxes every time an order is placed. Our orders are better managed and therefore we can plan delivery routes and times in advance, resulting in more efficient packing and using less packaging materials.”
Streamlined order system, fewer customer complaints
Providing stores with tester products is one of the more challenging aspects of stock management for merchandisers. Prior to Skynamo they used a r Dropbox for placing orders, which resulted in a 24-hour waiting period between order placement and order delivery. As Skynamo is integrated with their ERP system, orders are submitted by area managers into the system within minutes.
“We no longer have customers logging complaints about running out of testers as we’re able to keep them stocked at all times.”
Better stock control makes for a better brand image
“We made a significant turnaround from telesales and paper trails to having everything automated. Skynamo leaves a track record, which means we can see how many times which stores order which items.”
General stock management and product availability improved considerably. From an end-user perspective it improved the perception of the Elizabeth Arden brand, as people typically now find what they are looking for in stores.
Since Elizabeth Arden SA distributes testers and samples as promotional material, some stores took advantage of the system and ordered way more than necessary. Reasons included in-store product mismanagement or breakages. “We can now track monthly distributions and limit distribution of promotional materials to a reasonable level. In this way Skynamo has also helped us to look after our own business.”
Fewer merchandisers are accomplishing more
“Our merchandisers have certainly become much more professional in the way they operate. They no longer sit down and pull out pieces of paper, but now do everything digitally. Their visits are done a lot more effectively.”
Merchandisers see more stores in a shorter period. Elizabeth Arden SA used to have many more area managers, but have since restructured as a company, and now fewer area managers cover more ground. “Merchandisers each went from doing fewer than 15 customer visits a month to almost 40. We effectively have fewer people doing more.”
Improved regional management
Skynamo helps Elizabeth Arden SA to streamline logistical planning, so that area managers operate only within their own geographical areas. rs This has been very beneficial for area managers working across broader, less populated areas of the country. “Before Skynamo, we were less accurate in our planning and had people unnecessarily travelling into each other’s regions.”
Skynamo also assists area managers in coaching and equipping the merchandisers who work within their region. This way they do not have to travel those long distances as often anymore.
Easier management of merchandiser effectiveness
Elizabeth Arden SA managers enjoy updated insights into how much each merchandiser is spending per region per area manager. “As a manager, I can check how I’m doing in terms of budget on a daily basis, and report to marketing or regional managers whenever necessary. It’s so much easier to manage what is going on.”
Coaching remotely and more frequently with Skynamo
Skynamo helps regional managers in their coaching and development initiatives. Area managers can be coached in real-time. Regional managers see the information logged by area managers during visits, enabling them to add additional questions and comments to help them operate more effectively.
“Before Skynamo, we only had coaching opportunities when we actually went along on visits, but now it’s always as if we’re there with them.” Regional managers never really had a full picture of the world their area managers operated in. They used to meet only once a month, and when they did meet they only got to visit one store with them.
The regional manager based in Durban oversees area managers in Cape Town and the whole of the Eastern Cape province, for instance. She only gets down to Cape Town once a month for a few days, which means she can’t spend a lot of face time with each area manager. With Skynamo, she’s always knows what’s happening in the field. There is no need to first enquire about what has been happening, but they can immediately address matters of importance, which is very helpful to the area managers.
“We are now provided with more accurate information and know what’s going on. Area managers receive more regular coaching and are being helped with their professional development.” There is a direct connection between regional and area managers, which allows them to assist area managers when they struggle out in the field.
Transparency between managers and merchandisers adds to competitive edge
Area managers feel heard, knowing that regional managers are involved and coaching them as they go on with their work. The transparency created by Skynamo’s GPS tracking functionality gives managers insights into field activity and has led to a more collaborative effort. Area managers no longer feel the need to prove themselves or feel that their hard work is not being noticed. Hard work that does not always deliver desired results is still noticed.
Previously, when a manager didn’t do well at certain stores, the logical conclusion was that they weren’t doing their job well enough. Skynamo reveals the actual reasons why certain stores or clients are more difficult to sell to. “We prefer not blaming our area managers, but rather figuring out what can be done to help them do their work better. We identify the factors that lead to poor performance. We don’t simply point fingers.”
Skynamo adds the finishing touches
Elizabeth Arden SA’s area managers not only look fabulous out in the field, they also deliver a great service because they’re always on top of their game, while regional managers are always in touch with them.
“I had a recent conversation with a former colleague who shared their frustration with not knowing what their area managers are doing. It’s difficult to manage something you know little about. I was happy to share with her that we know exactly what is happening out in the field, thanks to Skynamo.”
Skynamo adds the finishing touches to help this prestigious brand continue delivering high-end products to its niche market. Better customer relationships and management of orders and merchandise, driven by a greater trust and collaboration between members of their sales team, help Elizabeth Arden SA to highlight the beauty of South African women.
“I’ve referred Skynamo to industry friends of mine for the simple reason that it makes everything better, while others in the industry continue to struggle without it.”