We asked two long-time trade promotion execution (TPx) advocates to share their expert advice on what must be addressed to succeed as an organization at TPx change.
CPG Trade Promotion Execution Experts
- Joe Kent, VP of Consumer Brands, InnovAsian Cuisine
- Tony Pfenning, Director of Global Revenue Management, Kellogg’s
Trade System Success
What to Know Before, During and After
We interviewed CPG trade execution experts (Joe Kent and Tony Pfenning), who provided insight on 6 critical software change management questions that CPG organizations should address when evolving their trade management and optimization capabilities:
1) What is driving the need for a system change?
Without clearly understanding why, it’s impossible for your people to connect the system change with a business impact.
People are afraid of any change — our job is to make change easier.
- You need to lay out the outcome of the system change and the process of how you will get there, and explain the specific reasons driving change. Sometimes, it’s pressure from Wall Street. Sometimes, it’s a failure to move the needle. Sometimes, it’s a realization that what you have always done just doesn’t work any more.
2) Who should be involved in the system change. At what levels?
People in your organization will rightfully ask, “How does this organizational change impact me?”
Somebody must own and lead the system change. It will not work without that.
- This allows you to “sell” your own people on the need for change and overcome any reluctance. From the leadership team to the daily trade promotion system user – everyone must be all in. Make sure that all decisions are fact-based.
3) How do you communicate during the change process?
Regular, formal and informal updates with stakeholders will eliminate any feelings of surprise or “not being in the loop” when the team goes to roll out new processes.
You have to have a cadence of regular monthly or quarterly communication – before, during and after any change.
- You must address any fear of change by tying all change back to results-backed data. Talk about potential mistakes to avoid compounding them in the future. Be open. Be agile. There are times where you need to pivot to enhance an outcome. Without communication, these growth-minded changes can seem like contradictions that undermine your cause.
4) How will senior leadership be involved?
Keeping your leadership team involved throughout the process maintains the alignment of the project with corporate objectives and communicates to the entire organization that this change is a priority.
You often have to remind leadership to be patient. No change happens overnight.
- Directly involve the c-suite in the change. Set expectations. Provide regular updates on progress. Remind CPG leaders that the business moves quickly… not making a change is actually the biggest risk.
5) Will you use 3rd party change management assistance?
Working with consultants or vendor partners provides an opportunity to take advantage of their experience. However, third party partners should be a talking point for your project team.
More important than third party project management is regular training. If this is best served by a solutions’ vendor or consultant, then go that route.
- Knowing what you need help with should come first. Decide what help provides the least restrictive path to success. For example, can your vendor partner or consultant own the data cleansing and harmonization piece?
6) How will you measure and celebrate success?
Getting your people to value and use fact-based decision making in how they think about sales planning and promotional analysis requires a change in how we work and think.
Make sure that everything you do goes back to the overarching goal. Whether it is a revenue number or a cost-savings number, your people always need have a fact-based understanding of where they stand in comparison to their goal and the tools to make necessary changes.
- You MUST incentivize the use of data and tie the results directly to a bonus structure. Get little wins up front and celebrate them.
3 Guiding Principles for TPx Change Management
Kent and Pfenning identified 3 key elements that they believe lead to successful TPx change management.
1) Training, Training, Training… and More Training
2) Get the Basics Done First
- Data Quality
- Accountability of Incremental Success
- Results-Based Incentive for Change
3) Communicate and Celebrate
Meet The Experts:
Tony Pfennig is Director of Global Revenue Management for Kellogg’s. As a multi-national, multi-business unit organization, many of the challenges regarding change management revolved around message consistency from corporate throughout the business unit and making sure that fact-based decision making was the foundation of their revenue growth management strategy. For Kellogg’s this meant adopting timely, accurate and efficient post-event analytics driven by automated data harmonization to provide and true picture of their business and inform future planning/investment decisions.
Joe Kent is VP of Consumer Brands for InnovAsian Cuisine. As a growing brand and food manufacturer, InnovAsian prioritized making better promotional investment decisions to ensure that their strategy was what was best for their organization and retail partners. The ability for their trade and sales team to understand what was working and what was not and then predictively apply and optimize this insight to future customer planning changes the conversation to how they can reinvest in the business.