ROI of Field Sales Teams


by Vanessa Mitchell

I regularly talk to sales leaders at Consumer Goods (CG) companies about the key business challenges they face, and I regularly talk to sales leaders at Consumer Goods (CG) companies about the key business challenges they face, and one of the most common concerns I hear relates to the ROI of field sales teams and how they can improve their retail sales performance. Statements such as, “we’re not really sure if our field sales team is focusing on the right stores or the right activities,” “we’re not really sure what impact our third-party/broker is making” or “we know exactly how much our field sales are costing us, but we really don’t know our ROI” are often brought up. 

Whether CG companies have an in-house field sales team or deploy a third-party team, most of them are very interested in tracking the impact and the ROI of their sales spend, but they are often just working on assumptions. They lack the hard data and/or tools required to calculate ROI of field sales in a granular way.

Some CG companies take into account the “claimed” in-store activities or actions taken by the field sales team or, only consider the “perceived” impact or “estimated” incremental sales resulting from efforts of the field sales team. However, they are not able to measure the exact uplift that the field team is generating as a result of their actions. It’s not likely that a third-party or broker is tracking the incremental sales resulting from their activity either to measure ROI, and in fact, it’s not really in their interest to do so (unless they are specifically rewarded by their CG client on incremental sales). 

So, is there a better, more data-driven method to calculate ROI of the field sales team and to measure their true impact?

Fortunately, there is.

POS (Point of sale) or scan data by store/by SKU/by retailer can be combined with field sales activity reporting in order to measure the incremental sales or uplift achieved in each visit. This data can then be combined with the cost of each store visit in order to calculate and track ROI. And you know what they say – what gets measured, gets improved. Introducing an ROI-based culture to field sales teams allows CG companies to quickly identify which sales activities yield the best uplift and encourages a dialogue on how to best deploy field resources.   

Our StayinFront RDI ROI View is a user-friendly web portal with drillable dashboards and reports that are used by Directors of Field Sales/Sales Operations to assess field sales productivity and ROI at a granular level. Whether you have an in-house field sales team or use a broker, StayinFront RDI ROI View can help to focus field sales resources on the right stores and the right activities with the greatest ROI potential. Find out more here.


Vanessa Mitchell is a Senior Sales Executive at StayinFront North America, based in Toronto. Helping Consumer Goods and Food manufacturers increase ROI of field sales and trade spend are her forte. Vanessa has over 15 years of Sales & Business Development experience in a variety of industries including Finance, Food/Consumer Goods & Market Research. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from York University – Glendon College in Toronto, Ontario and is fluent in French & Spanish.

Follow her posts and activities on LinkedIn here:

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