What you lose tracking promotions with Excel

If you are a small, growing brand, chances are you are using Excel to track promotions. You probably have a shared drive set up to store important documents, like contracts. There are email strings for approval and conversations about price points and allowances. When a brand is starting up, it works. But if your business has grown to a point where you have added salespeople/brokers and you have distribution with national retailers and distributors, the money you are spending on pricing and promotions is growing, margin is eroding, and questions are coming. What was once a single spreadsheet you could go to for answers is now many multiples of that. Well-meaning team members have tweaked the structure of your template, making it difficult to roll things up. Answers take too long because the spreadsheets have not been updated and now you must ask, then wait for revisions. Then you must manually rollup the data. You lose two things 1) efficiency in sales planning and analysis, 2) control of trade spending. 

Trade Promotion Management (TPM) is a business solution for manufacturers of consumer products that is purpose-built to prevent these losses. TPM creates standardized, structured records with everything you need to plan, execute, settle, and analyze promotions and other spending agreements you make with customers. Cloud solutions are widely available and eliminate labor intensive tool creation and maintenance. Your sales teams enter and update their promotion plans in a standard way. Sales leaders, sales operations, and finance/accounting personnel can access detailed customer, product, and promotion calendars and reports in one place, enabling faster, more informed business process execution, analysis, and decision making.   

The information you capture about promotions goes beyond the simple details a spreadsheet allows you to capture, adding depth and detail to data with ease. Financial performance metrics are automatically calculated, and approvals and changes are tracked. Users can also store documents like contracts, ad copies, and display images to centralize all records for the event. Shipment, distributor shipment, and point of sale data can be integrated for post event analysis. TPM creates a unified source of sales planning and trade management information for HQ and field personnel and enables you to maintain efficiency and control as you grow. In the process, you get the visibility you need to maintain strong margins.    

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