FMCG: Convincing your Buyers

Blog post   •   Mar 22, 2018 15:16 GMT

On the 3rd March The Grocer ran an article about Home Bargains inviting reps to make drive-thru pitches. The idea is to make buyers more accessible, encourage quick decision making, and cut the queues in reception. It’s worth noting the article said the likes of P&G would still be allowed through the reception doors, but it’s certainly a novel idea.

In reality quick decision making really only suits particular retail offers, such as the discounters. One of the appeals of shopping in discounters is the sense of adventure – what surprises will be in stock this time? For the more mainstream retailers, whose customers expect a high degree of consistency, the decisions need to be more thought through. Which means the pitch from brands also needs to be more thought through, covering the commercial story, the strategic rationale, and the shopping insights.

I suppose my question to you is how much thought actually goes into the shopping insight element of your pitches? Maybe you use panel data to show the category trends, or perhaps the marketing team have shared their latest consumer data with you so that you can talk about broader usage trends. Have you, though, thought about what you can throw into the mix that the retailer won’t have seen elsewhere? Don’t forget panel data is available to any of your competitors willing to pay for it, so you may not be the first person to share that data with your buyer. And usage trends are helpful, but how do they relate to the buyer you are sitting in front of, and the issues that are keeping them and their bosses awake in relation to their shoppers? This is where your brands’ shopping insights come into their own – those nuggets that relate to your category, in your buyer’s stores, which they haven’t seen before.

Whether it’s a day of intercepts in-store or a strategy vision project, bespoke research that is commissioned by a brand to understand the shopper issues specific to particular accounts can be a hugely powerful addition to your pitch. It doesn’t have to be reams of bar charts – it can be a handful of key headline statements that capture the evidence supporting your pitch. Better still, take along your research agency lead to provide the objective voice in the meeting.

Home Bargains drive-thru pitching may be something that can only work for them – it might even be a gimmick that doesn’t last long. But the fact a retailer is prepared to reduce pitches to a handful of minutes is a worry. The more you can add value to your pitch the more likely buyers will be prepared to make the time to see you – and perhaps for longer than they are encouraged to do so. And the real win win comes from sharing with them a key learning they didn’t already know.