Three factors driving change for commercial teams and how to future proof

Date : 21 April 2022

Adam Jones

Commercial Solutions Manager

In the increasingly volatile external environment, there are more pressures than ever on our customers and indeed, our own commercial teams. Our business strategy needs to be agile to be able to quickly adapt during this constantly evolving period of uncertainty.

IGD’s extensive network of contacts are telling us that there are several key factors driving change for commercial teams:

  • Firstly COVID-19 impacted how suppliers work with retailers – suppliers and manufacturers are expected to respond faster, be more agile and extremely proactive.
  • The second change is the availability of Big Data and how it is being used in everyday decision making. Through enhanced retail platforms, buyers have access to ever-increasing real-time data and insights, meaning they are becoming more self-sufficient. Therefore, it is vital that commercial teams continue to upskill and develop innovative approaches to remain ahead of the competition and remain the “go to” partner with their customers.
  • Digital evolution – The increasing growth of digital commerce and the increasingly blurred lines created by omni-channel, demand a new approach to upskilling teams.

In addition to these factors, the emergence of the conflict in Ukraine, once in a generation inflation and continued supply disruption, mean things are more challenging than ever. It has therefore never been more important to ensure our commercial teams are set up for success.

The companies that endure and continue to outperform their peers will be those who embrace change and see opportunity in challenge. The winners of the future will continue to lead on strategy, insight, relationships, and service even when external pressures increase.

To ensure your team can continue to deliver for your customers despite the volatile external environment, it is crucial to have a clear developmental framework that meets the needs of your business now and in the future. It can be challenging to understand the current level of capability within your teams and to ensure competencies are up to date, relevant and future proof.

All of this means that a lot of the skills and capabilities required by your commercial teams to succeed in the future will be very different from today.

How can IGD help?

IGD will work with all of your commercial stakeholders to review your existing competency framework and use our expertise to build a fit for purpose quantitative assessment diagnostic tool. This will then be used to update the competencies and build a new framework which is future proofed for all levels of the commercial team.

We will benchmark competencies with other FMCG businesses, and sense check the quantitative assessment with a rigorous qualitative assessment. This will be done through using our extensive network of contacts to conduct external surveys and interviews with your customers, and through internal interviews to understand more about current level of competency in the commercial organisation.

The framework will then be developed and embedded through a series of workshops to understand the competencies that we need to develop/build as a priority and an action plan created with the sales leadership team.

We can also provide ongoing support and tools to ensure that the output remains useful over the longer term, and can be used in career development conversations, performance reviews and to inform future recruitment strategy.

Next steps

To discuss how we can build a unique commercial competency framework for your business, please contact me, [email protected].