6 best practices to ensure you don’t fall behind in eCommerce
Recently CEO John Maltman co-hosted a webinar with eCommerce controller Camila from Edgewel, the makers of Wilkinson Sword. It was focused specifically around what the modern day Sales and Marketing teams need to know in order to build internal structures to help drive their online sales.
We had a fantastic turnout with professionals all across the FMCG mix dialing in to listen. At the end of the session there was the opportunity to ask questions, and one ambitious CPG manufacturer who work to always stay ahead, asked...
"I have been creating best-practices within my organisation and have concluded/implemented pretty much everything you said [in the webinar], how can I ensure the organisation continues to keep on top of this and doesn't fall behind again?"
Researching and creating best practices is definitely easier than sustaining them, but you only reap the rewards of your hard work with the latter. After all, once you’ve upskilled your teams, how do you maintain their flow? It’s a challenge present across all sectors. So with this in mind, we’ve suggested six tips for you to try which have been proven to be effective...
1. Centralise your intelligence
If your day-to-day processes are implicit, it will help if you formalise them by creating a central folder which lists what the best practices are. That might sound laborious, and I know we’re all short of time, but the reality is, if teams don’t have something to refer to, it is likely that it will be overlooked. Sometimes even just knowing that there is such a reference in place boosts the importance of the structures you’ve created. It needn’t be anything lengthy, it’s whatever works for you and your team, but you need something to materialise and highlight the best practices that you’ve worked to implement.
2. Create your own ‘top line’ language and keep reinforcing it
When someone asks for the top line, they don’t want to know all the details of what you did, they just want the overview. It’s important to go into detail at the start when everyone needs to understand what they need to do and why. But once this initial stage is over, there’s no need as people often switch off when being told the details, especially if it isn’t relevant to them. Additionally, semantics can be a huge barrier in ensuring that what you meant to say was interpreted in that specific way. And as creating processes with eCommerce reporting tools is relatively new for a lot of enterprises, it will be worthwhile to think about productising your best practices and assigning them with certain terminology so everyone knows exactly what you’re referring to without needing to breakdown into detail. Sharing regular top line summaries of progress and changes keeps your new processes pulsing throughout your team without disrupting their current flow of work...which is the rule of thumb for integration - make it effortless.
3. Advocate accountability
You often hear about companies appointing champions, advocates, whatever you want to call it, and that essentially involves assigning one person as the go-to contact for the topic in question. Whilst it’s helpful to have that during a period of change within the organisation, once you have shifted and all processes are in place, the sustainability of these processes fall flat if there is still only one person assigned with accountability. When it comes to executing change, it’s important to have a lead who can nurture and educate their team. But when it comes to sustaining them, it’s important that every single person in the team takes responsibility for it. By regularly promoting this concept you remind your team that they needn’t wait for a trigger but actively oversee what needs to be done themselves on an ongoing basis.
4. Set KPIs for touch points
You might have sales KPIs based on how many products you’d like to sell online. But to hit that KPI there are various tasks you’ll have to do within that Sales & Marketing funnel. Setting loose KPIs around these touchpoints to deliver the hard KPIs will help keep your team stay focused, both at the task in hand as well as on your desired way of working. E.g. if you want your products to come up on the first page of search results, setting goals around fixing the product description copy, keyword strategy and monitoring your category’s price changes will instill the capabilities that all Sales and Marketing teams need for optimising their online sales.
5. Keep your team engaged
Processes can be fickle as they’re not tangible but instead mental notes on what needs to be done and how. Whilst it’s important to try to materialise these so they appear more real (e.g. centralising your intelligence) it’s equally important that you keep a regular discourse around them so your company’s objectives stay at the forefront of your teams' mind. However, don’t bore them! At the end of the day, they will only put in effort if they value something enough which means ideally revisiting your discussion in relaxed environments such as over lunch, water breaks or setting up specific breakfast meetings for it. This approach helps create a friendly atmosphere around commercial issues which can increase interest, engagement and a free flow of ideas.
6. Make time to consume (relevant) content
All high performing Sales and Marketing teams should already be spending some time in their working week reading, skimming and touching on content that the key publications in their industry are promoting. However, by encouraging your teams to share what they’re reading with each other (ideally on another communication tool than email) it will increase their chances of staying on top of trends and being well informed on potential disruptive activities within your sector. It’s equally important to ensure that amidst this sharing, you share your company’s own content with each other; we spend so much time reading other people’s that our own can become secondary, and yet it is by regularly sharing our own content will your team be able to remind themselves of your company’s objectives, culture and values and why they’ve chosen to work with you in the first place.
If you’re doing something different or have a recommendation, drop me an email I’d love to hear your suggestions to update this list. Additionally, feel free to get in touch if you have a query that you’d like some tips for.