ABOUT RENEE AND HER EXPERIENCE IN TRADE PROMOTION MANAGEMENT:
During Renee’s sales career at Procter & Gamble, she managed trade funds as a regular part of her job. Since joining ArchPoint, she has worked with companies to help manage the implementation of their MEI Trade Promotion Management (TPM) software. These assignments have provided her with a deeper perspective on how the TPM process impacts numerous departments/functions across an organization. She understands the implications that certain TPM business decisions will have on an organization as a whole.
A lot of companies categorize TPM as a sales or trade marketing activity. Renee believes it’s much bigger than that. Once the organization starts to map all of the cross-functional processes that impact trade spending, they will realize very quickly that TPM is a very complex system that touches Sales, Finance, Accounting, Trade Marketing, Demand Planning and Manufacturing. To do it right, the leaders and stakeholders from each function, or department, need to work together and align on what a TPM system SHOULD do, given each department’s needs—and adjust their business processes accordingly. Then, the company is ready to implement a software tool, if desired.
WHAT NEW BUSINESS WORDS HAVE YOU LEARNED ABOUT RECENTLY?
Goldilocks Pricing. It’s a way of doing business in which satisfaction is guaranteed and customers are allowed to pick the pricing that’s best for them. Prospects are given three options based on service levels and prices; think FedEx – if a customer wants a package guaranteed for overnight delivery, it’s price A; in two-days—price B and 3+ days, it’s price C. One of them will be “just right” for the customer.
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST JOB AND IS THERE SOMETHING YOU LEARNED THERE THAT YOU STILL USE IN YOUR WORK TODAY?
My first job during high school was as a first shift waitress—6 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekends at a family dining restaurant. I was the only waitress on staff until 10 a.m., so I had to learn the art of multi-tasking. I had to constantly assess which phase of the dining experience each customer was in and determine what they needed—e.g. pour more coffee, take their order, deliver their food or a bottle of ketchup, cash them out, etc. I have found that managing customer relationships requires the same skill. You need to evaluate the status of each relationship regularly and determine what each needs, deciding how best to deliver outstanding service to them.
I also learned to “read” people—or so I thought. Initially, as a waitress, I would try to judge which customers would be the best tippers with plans to be most attentive to them. In my youth, this typically meant passing judgment based on how someone looked or spoke. Rather quickly, I learned the meaning of the adage, “You cannot always judge a book by its cover.” Often, I was disappointed by the nicely dressed couple who would leave just a few coins on the table, and taken aback by the seemingly financially struggling, unkempt family who tipped quite well. It taught me to treat everyone the same and give every person a chance. I learned the importance of getting to know people before drawing conclusions. This holds true in business interactions as well.
WHAT IS ONE CHARACTERISTIC THAT YOU BELIEVE EVERY LEADER SHOULD POSSESS?
The ability to keep an open mind. Things change. People change. The competitive landscape will change. If a leader does not allow new information “in” and allow themselves to re-assess situations using that new information, opportunities will be missed. Leaders that hold on too tightly to old ideas or old ways, become stale—as does their business.
WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE GREATEST CHALLENGE OF BUSINESS LEADERS TODAY?
Delivering both top line and bottom line financial goals. The current economic climate is challenging for most companies. It remains a challenge to manage the, typically, rising cost of goods and the associated pricing at which to sell your products. If you price your products too high, you risk losing customers; price too low and you can dramatically impact profits. It is a difficult balancing act.