Ever wonder what differentiates top consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies from the competition?
Here's the answer: The Grocery Management Association recently released a study titled "Winning Where It Matters," based on its 2012 Customer and Channel Management survey (download the PDF).
Even in a changing and challenging retail landscape, the survey results suggest that "a company employing winning practices can successfully tackle external challenges and set itself apart from the competition."
What does this mean for natural retailers and manufacturers?
This is good news for progressive companies interested in taking a leadership role in its categories and with its retail partners. The competitive landscape is growing increasingly more challenging and the big differentiator is a solid strategic plan.
How do you achieve this? "By placing forward-looking strategic bets, leveraging data and advanced analytics to drive decision-making, collaborating more effectively with top retail customers, and building industry-shaping capabilities," reads the report.
Other characteristics of winners according to the report:
- Companies that are 50 percent more likely to invest in sales technology and five times more likely to view retailer collaboration as a strategic priority.
- Winners don't rely on tools alone: They complement quantitative analysis with quantitative insights.
- Winners monitor performance and manage brokers a more granular level.
Important lessons for the natural channel
The natural channel is the incubator for the healthy living movement. The opportunities are great for any company willing to invest in its future and willing to take a leadership role in our industry.
This means maximizing all available resources, owning every part of the sales process, relying more heavily on their own sales people than on brokers, maximizing efforts at shelf, developing targeted marketing programs that drive customer traffic, and paying particular attention to core consumer's wants and needs.
In a recent Supermarket News Webinar "What Separates the Winners from the Losers in the Grocery World," one of the key takeaways was:
"New customer acquisition is no longer the greatest opportunity for grocers. Rather, the big opportunity is in increasing your share of wallet amongst your existing customers. To drive loyalty, you want to focus on your best customers and learn from them. This small group can represent the majority of your business. In fact, research has shown that 10% of your customers can make up 50% of your sales."
To recap, the recipe for success is:
- Owning every part of the sales process
- A strategic investment in technology and talent
- Leveraging customer insights throughout the selling process
- A passionate commitment to your core consumers' wants and needs
- The courage to take a leadership role in the industry
- A commitment to never become complacent, always strive for improvement
- A commitment to develop a collaborative relationship between retailers and manufacturers
Continued daily progress toward a goal will net tremendous results. Remember the story of the tortoise and the hare: slow and steady wins the race.
What lesson learned from successful CPG companies is most helpful for your business? Share in the comments.
Daniel Lohman is the owner of Category Management Solutions (CMS) which provides innovative strategic solutions for natural and organic CPG companies interested in gaining a significant competitive advantage.