The ongoing COVID-19 crisis has changed the way sales functions across organizations operate today. Business and technology leaders are finding innovative ways to cope with this new normal.
For Jyothy Labs Ltd., one of India’s leading fast moving consumer goods company, with the onset of COVID-19 crisis and the ensuing lockdown, the biggest hurdle was to get the orders since sales team could not travel to the market to collect the orders.
“We wanted to enable direct order capture from the field and various options like tele-calling were initiated. Though it enabled us to collect orders on phone, it was not a long term solution,” explains Ravi Razdan, Head IT and HR, Jyothy Labs.
With a solution aimed at not helping only in the present but also capable of scaling up, Razdan undertook the initiative of launching a retailer app that would allow the retailers to book their orders directly.
Time was of the essence. The swift action by Razdan’s team along with the partner providing the app, aided by the branding support from marketing, meant that the app was ready within 20-25 days of the initial ideation. The retailer app was rolled out on a national scale in April 2020 with SMS communication going out to all retailers informing them of the launch.
Talking about the app’s reach, Razdan informs that on the first day of the roll out itself around 2,000 retailers downloaded and ordered from the app. The app keeps on generating the orders which are fulfilled by the existing distributors and new retailers keep joining in, widening its reach further.
According to Razdan, the biggest impact since the implementation of the retailer app has been that no orders have been lost owing to the field staff not being able to the retailers during the lockdown.
He lists down the key benefits delivered by the retailer app:
- Direct orders from the app, which means that even if the field staff is not able to visit, they are able to get the orders. Hence, no order is lost.
- Getting actual market demand – Since there is no push, what the retailer orders himself/herself is the actual market demand.
- Visibility on the schemes and offers for the retailers – The retailers can see the actual schemes & offers running in real-time.
- Engagement platform – The app offers a direct engagement platform between the company and its retailers.
- Low cost distribution – Since the field force does not need to travel it helps save the cost.
To help Jyothy Labs prepare for the new normal, Razdan has on the radar initiative around building collaboration platforms, which will help with continuous engagements. He further adds that productivity enabling technologies like RPA that can help automate the mundane processes will have a significant role to play in aligning with the new normal.
Note: Ravi Razdan won the dynamicCIO Innovative Heroes 2020 Award for this innovation