Highly successful strategic consultant David L. White shares insight on why Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) companies generate top results through the process of hiring consultants.
(1888PressRelease) August 02, 2012 - A primary challenge for many consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies today is building brand strength and loyalty in both the traditional retail and emerging digital sales channels. To maximize this effort and deliver outstanding ROI requires a leader with expertise not just in both channels, but more importantly, in developing and successfully managing a synchronous strategy. This leader is a rare commodity and, in most cases, is not found internally among a CPG company's management or its competitors'. He or she represents a new breed of CPG expert, a hybrid, big-picture strategist whose talents are more likely to benefit a CPG company in the role of a consultant. The following are 6 reasons hiring a consultant to lead sales and marketing efforts is the best option for CPG companies.
1. A consultant reduces the risk of hiring the wrong person.
The recent recession has caused fundamental changes to the economy and the way companies must do business. Many professionals who were once senior management at many companies have turned to entrepreneurial opportunities as new job offers have vanished. These economic and labor trends just so happen to be occurring at the same time digital technology and social media is growing at an accelerated rate.
Companies still have top management positions to fill, however, especially for sales and marketing. Finding themselves in this transitional period, they need leaders who can map strategies to keep their brands current with the culture and find new revenue streams by synchronizing shelf space with social media. Faced with a murkier pool of top talent, companies must be particularly careful whom they hire because it significantly impacts their credibility and internal brand.
Selecting a person from within the company or targeting someone at a competitor is only a partial solution. In many CPG companies, the traditional internal structure still prevails, putting the sales/marketing channel and the digital marketing channel in separate silos. Often, the people in each don't even speak the same language. When a company needs a new VP of Sales and Marketing, he or she tends to come from that department. Their expertise is primarily, if not solely, in the traditional retail channel, which is where the risk lies. They don't have experience in the digital channel, so they are less able to develop a big-picture strategy as well as less able to manage it.
It becomes particularly risky if a CPG company undertakes a search in the labor market for its new sales and marketing leader. Much money will be spent to find a candidate, and a considerable commitment must be made to close and retain him or her. Contracting with a consultant reduces the risk, saves the time of the seemingly endless search for top talent, and eliminates the commitment of salary, bonuses and benefits as it is common for companies to hire consultants under contract for 3-6 month trial periods prior to making a permanent offer. Because the "hybrid" consultant is rare, minimal research and asking for recommendations will likely reveal the right consultant to lead a company across the rapidly evolving sales and marketing landscape.
2. A consultant refreshes a company's culture.
In this economy and the increased competition it brings, CPG companies should welcome the perspective and input of a consultant with a broad experience in many industries. Often, the right consultant has no experience in a particular company's industry! What is important is that he or she knows the process of synchronizing traditional and digital retail channels and has a track record of success. A consultant adds a refreshing voice and a mind with new ideas to the management dialogue within a company. If it hires a current employee for that new VP of Sales & Marketing position, then he or she is just another employee who has been deeply indoctrinated into the company's perspective, leaving little room for innovative thinking.
3. A consultant motivates/inspires current employees to greater productivity.
With his or her wealth of experience and outstanding skill set, the right consultant is often an excellent leader for the sales and marketing and social media marketing staffs. They've been working the "company way" for years, but a consultant will open their minds to new ideas, which empowers them to be more productive. Because a consultant is not an employee, a company can wisely use him or her to provide employees with a "kick in the pants" that hurls them from the same old operational rut. From an HR perspective, hiring a consultant is an excellent method for companies to invest in their employees.
4. A consultant is the "rising tide that lifts all boats."
The hybrid consultant who is able to synchronize all sales/marketing channels makes sure no one is left on shore. His or her refreshing voice, big-picture strategic thinking and new leadership for employees benefit everyone within the company. The synchronized marketing program he or she develops and manages elevates the company to new revenue levels, which make stockholders happy; solidifies management's position; generates rewards for employees; and leads to expansion and more opportunities for all.
5. A consultant complements the existing sales and marketing process.
Despite his or her independent position, the new breed of CPG consultant knows how to introduce new ideas and help a company profit from a big-picture approach without disrupting the current process. A consultant will likely change the process (or, to be more correct, evolve it), but in a manner that is complementary, not confrontational. Once again, the right consultant will have vast experience with many sales and marketing systems and will be able to tweak and hybridize a company's current process to become a more successful driver of sales.
6. A consultant guarantees results.
A consultant is focused on a specific project and its goals, without the additional responsibilities of a VP of Sales & Marketing, as an employee and a member of the management team. A CPG company that retains a consultant contractually to develop and lead a synchronized sales and marketing campaign can be assured that the project will be completed, and successfully.
The new economic reality is too competitive for top companies to fail in any area, be it market share, revenues, profitability, mind share, brand loyalty/equity and, ultimately, in-store and online presence. Shelf space is shrinking, which means CPG companies must think outside the box - they must think strategically and be less tactical. Their best solution is to work with a consultant who has already succeeded outside the box. He or she is the one insurance policy that not only mitigates the hiring risk but also ensures long-term, sustainable success.
About David L. White and Centric Industries, Inc.: David L. White is a highly sought-after strategic consultant and a 20-year veteran of the CPG industry, having worked with top brands in consumer electronics, entertainment and home improvement. These include Apple, Disney, Sony, Miramax, Belkin, Rainbird and Lionsgate. Mr. White is a former leader of Miramax and prior to that worked at Belkin, where he was responsible for significant business growth that made Belkin the global, iconic brand it is today. Since 2009, Mr. White has headed Centric Industries, Inc., which pioneers growth in sales operations, business development and retail strategy.