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Interview: Peter Russell, one of our Territory Managers, gives us his thoughts on data and how he uses it to increase his performance in-store

 

Peter Russell is one of our long-standing Territory Managers. With a history of using a wide variety of data solutions over his career, we caught up with him to get his views on DART and what he thinks makes it stand out from the rest.

 

Tell us about your background and the journey that led you to your current role in field sales?

The early years of my career were spent working in retail stores doing a variety of roles from entry level positions, to acting store manager.

Passing my driving test on New Year’s Eve 2009 allowed me to begin making a move into field sales and 5 months later I made my debut as a Territory Manager.

In my early years I worked across a number of accounts for teams in confectionery, gaming, ice-cream and beers & ciders before my McCurrach Journey began when I was TUPE’d over.

In December 2017 I was asked to join a team who were part of the DART trial due to my experience of working with a variety of data and reporting solutions. This included everything from simple scorecards which offered limited insight to full alerting solutions from a range of providers.

You touched on the data solutions you have used; how would you say DART compares?

The credibility that DART gives you due to accuracy has been the biggest game changer. There have been times where I have shown store decision makers live sales data on the app and the accuracy has blown them away. This credibility has been vital in building my in-store relationships, leading to better performance for our brands.

Also, the user interface is friendly for field teams. The seamless application makes it easy to find the information you need, whereas other solutions that I have used have had lengthy load and buffer times when trying to get from A to B.

Finally, the stability of the app has been a big winner for me. Previously I used solutions with a lot of bugs that would crash in-store resulting in lost time, and potentially lost sales. I love the fact that DART is made in-house by McCurrach and that any bugs can be fixed a lot quicker than other solutions typically could be.

What do you think makes DART so easy to use?

You don’t have to be data analyst to use DART, which is really important for field workers. Everyone has different levels of technical ability, but because DART is super intuitive it overcomes a lot of those challenges. I have seen a lot of people make the transition from pen and paper to DART with no stumbling blocks at all.

How has DART improved the way you work?

DART has made my day easier in a lot of ways. The way in-store contacts value me has improved. A few weeks ago, I played a game of DART bingo in an ASDA store. The store manager and I selected a few random products and I could tell them the stock levels in real-time using DART. The manager couldn’t believe how accurate it was and this helped to build relationships and unlock the incremental opportunities we need to continue excelling in-store.

Another thing is that the data is right at your fingertips and this can easily be used to drive sales. The result of this was that I cross merchandised SKUs in a ladder rack to drive additional sales. This was made simple because I could see the top 5 selling SKUs with the touch of a button and be confident in its accuracy.

The simple alerting system also allowed me to easily correct bookstocks and investigate why NPD hadn’t arrived.

What DART features do you use the most?

All Territory Managers have things that they like to do more than others. My go-to thing is looking after availability and fixtures. I love how easy DART makes it to do this through the Availability and Distribution Alerts, after all, distribution alerts can add up to a lot of lost revenue if not addressed as soon as possible.

The Trending Alerts are like predicting the future so I can see problems before they occur, helping minimise disruption to sales. Finally, the New Items Search is a great tool that I use to scan and search products.

Before we go, what are your thoughts on the future of the retail industry and how field teams can succeed?

In a challenging retail and field sales environment where ROI is king, I think the use of data and data apps will be the only way forward. Technology will evolve to a level beyond anything we are using at the moment, so field teams need to continually innovate in order to stay ahead.

Looking for a way to reach your sales potential…?

…Or maybe you’d like a chance to play your own game of  DART bingo? Get in touch today and one of our DART team will be delighted to help you.