Catalin Stancu –
According to the latest data published in the specialized press, in 2017 Modern Trade in Romania will most likely exceed the 11 billion euro threshold, after last year when it had already registered a comfortable 60% in the mix with the other channels. Retailers are growing stronger, and in recent years there have been some reshuffle takings that have led to, for example, one of the first traders in Romania exiting the market. The partnership with Modern Retail in FMCG can be one of the fundamental competitive advantages of a company in the current business context in Romania. But this is not easy to build.
More than 15 years ago I participated in the first meetings with the buyers of the IKA networks. I have very beautiful memories of those special times and I grew up with many of them. We learned together, we discovered new things, we started beautiful projects. They seem idyllic times, compared to the complexity of business today.
Today, some customers have a double-digit share in the supplier’s turnover. And the amounts on the negotiating table are staggering. The profile of a successful key account manager has changed constantly, and the level of professionalism has grown steadily. I have many friends in the branch. Special people, for whom I have a special respect.
At the end of 2014, we conducted the first edition of the Sfera Business’ Key Account Management seminar. Since then, the project has been proven useful. We have already had 13 editions, attended by more than 200 industry professionals from small, medium and large, known, and very known, Romanian and multinational companies. Since the beginning of 2017 I have the privilege of facilitating the program with my good friend Daniela Sima. It is special program with soul.
The program lasts two days, but that’s only because we know that time is an essential resource and we cannot afford to get the participants “out” more. We know that many of them have a hellish schedule and important responsibilities. That’s why I was very concise.
During the last few years, we have developed an Account Plan template that will include as much structured data as necessary to prepare a negotiation. We believe that this stage is the most important in the construction and development of the commercial relationship. This is why I decided to refer to the segment below of this segment of business relationship management in Modern Retail.
Basically, starting from the 6 fundamental questions of the strategic planning process, we build with the participants an Account / Customer Plan model. It is a concrete tool, easy to use and adapt to your own business, which remains practical for participants for later customization. The use of templates for the Customer Profile, the Key Factors of Attraction, the History of the commercial relationship and various forecasts specific to each industry help us translate the strategic objectives of the organization into sets of strategic initiatives specific to each client.
Why do we do this, applied to concrete studies, in the classroom? Because we firmly believe that it is the only viable way you can get to build a strategy with your client for a long time. Of course we also talk about indicators. We group the returns on 7 Growth Drivers and do a monthly analysis of the investment status in each client. At least as important is the follow-up on the promotional chart. What are the promotions with the best results? How can these be replicated in other categories in the same client or in other commercial relationships? And how important it is for a buyer that the proposals for promotional activities / launches / activations / innovations are in line with their own development plans.
All the elements described above are effective tools, which we have used, which we have learned from others and which we have placed in a structure model that helps a lot. Of course, nothing we propose is infallible and it’s not a “recipe for success” that will help you to successfully conclude any negotiation with a retailer. And of course, many of the participants use similar tools to build their own plans. What we believe, however, is that whatever the specificity of the category, a pattern must exist. One that will structure and help you prepare draconically for any negotiations. Because as my good friend Pablo Ferreiros said: “The difference between good and excellent is in details.”
Last edition of the Key Account Management seminar this year: November 20-21, 2017.