A great deal of research, analysis, and planning goes into optimizing and launching a lottery’s product portfolio plan, for both draw games and instants. Hours of effort are spent ensuring the advertising and retail marketing campaigns for launches are just right. However, money may still get left on the table if the sales force isn’t provided with the information, tools, and training they need to build awareness and excitement with retailers and players.
Here are some tips and tricks to get your sales force ready to support your big growth plans.
- Even monthly launches deserve training: Instant games are launched with such frequency that sales rep and inside sales rep education on new games can often get pushed to the side when more pressing matters are at hand. However, reps are on the front line and can ensure retailers and clerks know the benefits of the game, including how it affects their bottom line and what will be enticing to their customers. If monthly in-person meetings are untenable, informative calls that focus on both the features and benefits of new games – followed up in writing – will provide your sales reps with the information they need to start selling. Reinforcement of key ideas and a greater focus on sales-driving initiatives and goals can be tackled at in-person sales meetings to create momentum and drive execution.
- Provide take-aways they can use: Sell-in sheets with the product information, key dates, and the benefits are key to a sales rep’s success. Can it double as a leave-behind with busy retailers? Even better! Ask your reps what they want and need. They are creative and have often built home-grown solutions that can be professionalized and implemented for the whole team.
- Get interactive – both in the classroom and on the road: Passively listening to product information and features won’t do the trick. With many other tasks at hand, even the best reps are bound to forget without practice and reinforcement. Incorporate ways to articulate the information and let reps try playing and selling the game. In the classroom, use fun games that involve answering questions about the game mechanics, developing selling techniques, practicing conversations with retailers and players, and overcoming objections. This is also a great chance for them to work together and share ideas. When they’re on the road, send quick quizzes or contests to keep the information top-of-mind and to build some excitement and competition.
- Employ a 360° approach: Involve everyone in the conversation; share the process and the way decisions were made. The sales team benefits from learning about the market research, advertising strategy, how the game fits into the broader portfolio, business goals, promotions and events, and so much more. This arms them with the information they need to have confident, knowledgeable conversations with retailers and players in the field. In addition, ask for their feedback for your post-mortem. Candid conversations with your sales team will inform and improve the next launch and ensure better retail marketing execution.
- Incorporate their technology: Reps in many jurisdictions are now armed with tablets, complete with a robust sales force automation solution. Think ahead to make sure you’re training on how they can use this technology to track progress, goals, identify opportunities and areas of growth, and inform their conversations with retailers.
- Focus, focus, focus: Whether it’s a game launch or a retail execution initiative such as decreasing out-of-stocks, the key is focus and communication. Keep the team motivated and striving to meet the same goal. Weekly status calls or focus emails can easily do the trick. For a more comprehensive approach, try a weekly emailed newsletter updating reps on or reinforcing the focus; progress toward goals; and upcoming campaigns, launches, points of sale (POS), promotions, big winners, and more.
- Skin in the game: The sales reps are trained and knowledgeable, ready to take on any retailer or player objection they may hear. But are they going the extra mile to make sure new games are activated and displayed right after launch? Are they closely monitoring empty bins and making sure they fill them with the best-selling games? Making sure your sales reps’ incentive plans mirror your team’s initiatives guarantees that everyone is focusing on the right products and projects and having the necessary persuasive conversations. Can’t incentivize your reps? Contests are a great way to keep everyone engaged and motivated.
By implementing these tips, lotteries can ensure their product launches are receiving the necessary support from all teams, and that the sales force is armed with the information they need to create the next banner sales year.
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