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//case study
Sales Force

Transforming Area Managers from Administrators into Performance Coaches

Area Management teams are a common feature within a retail-focused business with responsibility for regional outcomes across their 'patch'.
However, compared to their office-based peers, area teams usually attract higher costs for the business; often requiring mobility through company cars, fuel cards, plane travel, hotel accommodation and expense claims to match. 
It is also not surprising that in most cases, these teams rank amongst the least productive in the organisation, with more time spent preparing for meetings, travelling and administering follow-ups than effective face-time with customers and retailers.
Our client was looking to overhaul their area sales manager structure and realised for real transformation to take effect, they would need a technology package to support the new remit.
THE BACKGROUND
As their retail network had grown over time, our client's area manager team had become stretched geographically and operationally, with an ever-increasing remit, watering down the impact of the core role.

With UK-wide retail outlets to support, the team were struggling in terms of visit frequency with numerous hours spent travelling between stores and operational crises absorbing any available time in between.  The amount of administration required for the role was increasing dramatically, with more and more reports being generated by HQ for the area team to interpret and action.

At the same time, there was a huge drive for efficiency as the digital structure of the business was growing rapidly, reflecting the focus of this channel in the industry. Basically, all teams were being asked to do more with less.

The feedback from the teams was that they did not have the tools to support the new agenda; namely the need to move toward performance coaching using cut-through insight and real cause and effect analysis.

Metryx were engaged to develop a transformation strategy for the area team, both in terms of technology and process development - we were naturally excited to be involved.

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THE APPROACH
We conducted a series of in-depth workshops with the area teams to understand current practice, challenges and aspirations.  We followed this up with interviews with retail managers to gain a view from the other side.  From here we were able to create a blueprint for what Excellence would look like for both parties, and we set to work. 

Our findings showed that almost 50% of the team's time was taken up by travelling. 

 

With a further 20% taken up with reviewing and formatting data ahead of the retailer visits. 

This left only 30% of available time for value-add direct contact with the retail network managers.

With a clear understanding of the reality, we set the core focus of the project around two areas:
01
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Equipping the team with actionable, self-serve insight through desktop + mobile
Shifting the role of the Area Manager from a administration to a high-impact performance coach supporting the retail network.

With a renewed focus on core metrics, we were able to offer the client access to our new range of Insight-on-Demand products salesmetryx, drastically reducing development time and cost for the client, while still offering bespoke data feeds and a branded front-end for the teams to use. 

The data was assembled in our Analytics Studio covering Sales, Financial, Customer Service and loyalty indicators for each retailer, as well as national and area benchmarking.  Relevant client branding, typography and colour palettes were added to mirror the client's own brand language and the insight toolkit was ready for real-world testing.

The second stage involved working closely with the client team to transform the team's operational agenda and use the insight tool as the foundation for this.  We developed a process blueprint for performance reviews and ran a series of workshops with the area team to ensure they were comfortable with, not only the technology, but the content.

The re-launch coincided with a dedicated up-skilling programme involving commercial awareness training, financial analysis, coaching, negotiation and conflict resolution - all core skills for the team's new agenda.  Layered on top of this were sessions on Design Thinking and Agile Decision-making to cultivate a culture of innovation within the refocused team.

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THE DELIVERY
The new team have seen huge improvements in productivity and the quality of insight available for discussion.  The ability to access a single source of truth for business performance, has streamlined discussions with the retailers to allow a focus on coaching, tactical actions and strategic planning.
The ability for the area teams to work through structured insight with the retail managers is driving through the new agenda with speed - being able to dive into performance areas on the fly, and get to root cause and effect, is removing all of the friction that existing previously.

"We were looking for a partner that could blend tech development with a transformation in process and we certainly got that with the Metryx team.  The impact has been huge on both our area team and our retail network and we are now looking at the model as a blueprint for other teams in the business."

If you'd like to learn more about our Insight-on-Demand product suite used above or to discuss how we might support your business then please get in touch.
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