5 Tips for Successfully Choosing and Deploying a Trade Promotion System

Whether you are considering a Trade Promotion Management system for mature or emerging markets, there are five clear best practices you’ll want to consider to be successful. If your organization is replacing an outdated solution or implementing one for the first time this year, you’ll definitely want to consider the following:

1) Don’t choose a lemon

Frequently, the people choosing a new solution will not be the eventual end users. However, those who will be using it on a daily basis should be front of mind, with their needs and requirements the foremost consideration when choosing a new tool. If the new solution makes the job of an end user more complicated, levels of adoption will be low, old ways of working will persist, and the planned benefits will not be realized, leaving a sour taste for everyone.

Any new solution should therefore be end user focused, with an intuitive interface, available in the local language, and cloud based to be accessible from anywhere, on any device. From an implementation perspective, it is a plus if the solution is also highly configurable, scalable, and deployable from an existing global template.

2) Be Flexible

There will always be an agreed-upon project plan, but neither side should set this in stone, nor expect it not to develop and evolve. Agility is required from both parties: in a world with ever more complicated governance structures, larger employee counts, and wider business offerings, only projects that constantly adapt can reach critical mass and deliver sustained positive change.

3) Choose passionate advocates

The projects that succeed best are those with clear executive sponsorship, project hierarchy, and, crucially, passionate change advocates. These are generally people with cross-functional knowledge, the right level of seniority, and peer credibility.

Your current solution will be the worst, most hated, and useless tool ever; until you try to replace it. Advocates, who have been engaged in the development and ideally are using the new solution, help enormously to overcome this change inertia.

4) Don’t shock and awe

For a TPM implementation that affects so many functions across a business, going live with a “Big Bang” can lead to all sorts of issues. No matter how diligent the project team, the testing cannot truly reflect day-to-day operations.

Best to begin with a pilot implementation solely for key project team members, reducing risk and familiarizing stakeholders with the new system, without disrupting the rest of the business. Once satisfied with the system configuration, these people become your advocates, quickly spreading their knowledge and enthusiasm to other parts of the company.

5) Don’t stop

“Post Go-Live” and “Early Life Support” are two expressions your solution provider should never use. In the ‘Software as a Service’ (SaaS) world, the relationship shouldn’t end weeks after the system goes live. Ideally, an on-going partnership should develop where the client has active input into the solution’s development and evolution, whilst the vendor understands and reacts to the clients’ changing business requirements and needs. In this way, clients see the benefit of having the latest software updates and features available to them, as the solution is actively enhanced to meet their needs.

Revenue Management solutions and technologies, just as businesses and markets, are always developing and evolving. Choosing the correct solution for your organization is crucial in ensuring that both can grow together for mutual benefit.

About UpClear

UpClear makes software used by Consumer Goods brands to improve the management of sales & trade spending. Its BluePlanner platform is an integrated solution supporting Trade Promotion ManagementTrade Promotion OptimizationIntegrated Business Planning, and Revenue Growth Management.

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