Managing Customer Goals with TPM 

Managing Growth

Your mission used to be getting on the shelf and driving trial.  While shopper love for your product is still paramount, things get a little more complicated when your brand takes off and distribution grows.  In fast moving Consumer Goods, when distribution grows so does trade spending – income to your customers, but a margin eroding expense to you.  And when exponential growth levels out and you look to maintain margin by reducing costs, your customers won’t want their income to go down. Managing growth requires clear, attainable goals for salespeople and the ability to track progress throughout the year.  A Trade Promotion Management (TPM) system usually offers you more than just promotion planning and deduction management. TPM should also help you set these goals and monitor performance throughout the year.    

Begin with the End in Mind

American businessman and author Stephen Covey said, “Begin with the end in mind.”  This alludes to a goal…knowing what you want to achieve.  Ironically Covey also said, “Stop setting goals. Goals are pure fantasy unless you have a specific plan to achieve them.”  So the best path seems to be a combination of the goal and a reality-driven plan to achieve it. Your sales planning process should support both of these deliverables.    

Start with your top-down growth objectives.  Identify customer-specific sales goals and a practical expectation of trade spending.  Generally speaking, you cannot substantially cut trade and expect substantial sales growth.  

Specific Plans

Next, you need bottom-up input from your customer teams.  They should define the specific plans required to deliver the growth target.  Unless it’s a completely new customer, you’ll have a foundation to start with.  Distribution, pricing, and promotions.  They need to identify the changes that will be required to achieve the sales goal: 

  • Is growth organic or will it come from expanded distribution?
  • Will adjusted everyday retail prices create closer parity to competition and steal sales? 
  • Does the mix of promotions and discount depths need to change to vehicles that will drive greater lift? 
  • Is greater promotional frequency needed to achieve the desired growth? 
  • What are the customers’ margin requirements and constraints?
  • Is there a higher price tag associated with the growth plan? 

Arriving at a specific, achievable goal is usually the outcome of a series of collaborative planning sessions that consider all of these dynamics.      

How TPM Helps


With this year’s business already in progress, you’ll already have a starting point.  To efficiently create top-down goals, TPM enables you to easily apply growth assumptions to your customers.  The system should spread this across lower-level customers, products, and time, creating granular Key Performance Indicator (KPI) metrics for sales, spending, and profitability.  Then you can fine tune the goals where necessary to define what you’re asking your customer teams to deliver. TPM should support the creation of static metrics in reporting. These will not change. 


With TPM, you will already have current year, actualized customer plans in place… you’re half-way there.  Instead of starting from scratch, you begin where you left off in the prior year.  Use post event analysis to identify what promotions work for you (or don’t work).  Build distribution changes, retail price adjustments, promotion mix, depth, and frequency changes into your new plan.   

Let the system do the critical work of structuring the data and creating reports that allow you to compare the top-down and bottom-up as you go through the annual planning process.  When you’re ready, lock the volume and spending goals in place and monitor performance.   


A TPM solution makes goal setting more efficient, actionable and ensures that KPIs don’t become a relic in a spreadsheet tucked away on someone’s laptop.  Use of TPM enables you to quickly and thoughtfully create both top-down and bottom-up plans that will get you off on the right foot when a new year starts.  

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 Management, Trade Promotion Optimization, Integrated Business Planning, and Revenue Growth Management

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