5 Simple Steps For Achieving Success At Your Next Category Review Meeting

5 Simple Steps For Achieving Success At Your Next Category Review Meeting

Highly successful category review meetings begin with an understanding of your competition in addition to having comprehensive data to back you up...

Ok, it’s time for your category review meeting. The stress is building as you prepare to express how your product has performed compared to your competition. You’ve got the NPD’s, the market trends, and the business performances. You know your promotions, price increases and company goals…so you think you’re ready.

Then you read a study according to Forrester Research.People fail during a sales meeting 70% of the time because they’re not prepared to answer the buyer’s questions and 77% don’t fully understand the buyer’s challenges. So now what?

Aglo has 5 successful tips to help reduce the stress of the category review meeting and produce overwhelming results.

1. HAVE DATA WITH A COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE

Knowing time is a commodity both you and the buyer values most, producing real-time data will give you a competitive advantage. The competition is walking in with data from Google and general assumptions about the buyers’ market and competitors. Or perhaps they have data from expensive research or retail sell-out data. But you want data that impacts the buyer’s interest from the moment you begin your presentation.

You begin by making a successful case simply by presenting data and photos of the buyers own retail outlets. The buyer won’t have to question the accuracy or source of your data. And the mental resistance wall he has for a sales pitch goes down.

For example, by using shelf photos, you are in a position to understand the number of facings, prices, availability, shelf-location and stock-outs. Presenting a good collection of sample photos will go a long way in supporting your NPD, price increases and any other business matter. Remember, a picture is worth a thousand words and when time is a factor, there’s nothing better for making your point.

Baking Shelf at a Coles Store

2. DEFINE YOUR BRAND GROWTH STRATEGIES

Defining your goals prior to the meeting is critically important. Generate a list such as:

  • Negotiating price
  • Shelf-space
  • Shelf location
  • Number of promotions
  • Store format
  • Launching of an NPD

Be specific in each category and be prepared to answer questions, challenges, modifications and even rejections. And be confident in knowing, you’ve been tracking competitors data which give you an additional advantage.

Understand, the buyers’ job is to maximize profits for his company. You must be ready to renegotiate based on the parameters of your metrics…know your limits.

If you’ve just launched an NPD, you may wish to share the results, but again, be prepared to support your arguments with evidence.

3. ALIGN WITH THE RETAILER’S STRATEGY

Understanding the buyer’s business acumen and strategy for the future will help in aligning your presentation for maximum buyer appeal. Review the company’s annual report. There is a wealth of information in them. The annual report is a formal report on the company’s activities in the preceding year and is intended for the shareholder.In addition, you could look up the company’s financial report. For example, Coles Financial report 2018 and Woolworths Financial Report 2018 provide valuable information about their business strategy in Australia. Studying these reports will assist you in speaking their language, providing another competitive advantage. There are sections in the Annual Report where the strategy and achievements are detailed. You can identify whether your brand is contributing or losing relevance to the retailer’s priorities.For example, Woolworths has 5 priorities for 2019. The first two are ‘availability in-store’ and ‘stockouts’. Be sure these are your priorities as well when discussing your plans with the buyer. Coles is moving towards ‘Everyday Low Prices’. How can your strategy match-up with theirs?

4. STORE VISITS HELP TO UNCOVER THE RETAILER’S STRATEGY

Before your meeting with the buyer, visit as many of their retail outlets as possible. You’ll receive a vast array of information which will assist in your ability to align the presentation with their strategy. For example, you may notice in the health aisle that both retailers are increasing their own organic products. Or you may see they’ve expanded their private label in your category.

Studying their end-cap displays or featured displays with their ad will give you insight to their marketing message. For example, Coles usually arranges 3 or 4 brands with 1 private label, while Woolworths arranges 5 or 6 brands with 1 to 2 private labels.

The more locations you visit, the better understanding you’ll have when speaking with the buyer. Also, visiting independent stores could provide a huge insight to both competitive information as well as creative ideas for them to use with your brand.

The more value you add to your meeting the less likely you’ll fall in line with the 77% failure rate discussed above.

Spread category at a Woolworths store with various brands

5. TRACK COMPETITORS & CATEGORY FOR VISUAL PROOF

As your category review meeting progresses, you’ll want to provide credible category information to the buyer. Tracking competitor’s brands while tracking your own brand will provide great insight for you and the buyer. The longer your tracking sample is, the more reliable your data will be.

Knowing who the key players are and being prepared to discuss the differences with visual proof for each of your points will build your credibility and confidence during the category review. Proving your brand’s superiority will enhance your success in meeting the needs of the buyer…and consequently, a successful category review meeting.

The cold & flu shelf at a pharmacy chain

CONCLUSION

Of course, there are countless tips which could be made for improving the results of the category review meeting. At Aglo, we believe these are 5 of the key steps…and tracking competitors brands along with your own brands are our speciality.

Obtaining overwhelming results and reduced stress during the category review meeting requires a level of confidence which you’ll receive from being well prepared and offering a competitive advantage. Why not allow Aglo to prepare you with the retail facts and information you need before your meeting with the buyer.

Partner with Aglo for a successful future!

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Ricardo Yoshioka

Ricardo is an experienced FMCG Brand Manager, with 12 years of senior management experience in companies such as Nestle Brazil, Nestle HQ Switzerland & Danone. He has knowledge in brand management, shopper marketing, retail execution, P&L management and strategic planning.

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