Business Supplies Design

Success Story: Siebel Corporation and Dial Soap

In success-story for Siebel Corporation, I worked with the client to develop the questions. I then interviewed their customer, Dial Soap (Johnson & Johnson), and wrote this article.

Siebel Corporation and Dial Soap: Building Brand Awareness through Trade Promotions

Brand awareness is critical in the consumer products business, and building brand loyalty is the key to success. Dial Corporation understood that need, and built a Siebel solution that helps the company track how they build brand awareness through trade promotions.

The Dial Corporation, headquartered in Scottsdale, Ariz., is one of America's leading manufacturers of consumer products, including Dial soaps, Renuzit air fresheners, Purex laundry detergents, Armour Star canned meats, and Sarah Michael's, Freeman, and Nature's Accent personal care brands. Dial Corp. products have been in the American market for more than 100 years.

With $1.5 billion in revenue, Dial Corp. holds number two market positions for detergent and air fresheners, and the top position in anti-bacterial soap. The company sells and distributes its products through mass channels including Wal- Mart, K-Mart, Target; grocery stores including Safeway, Albertsons, and Kroger; drug store chains; wholesalers such as Fleming and Supervalue; and clubs such as Costco.

Making Trade Promotions More Effective

Consumer product companies use every means available to make sure customers see their brands as often as possible, and one very powerful tool comes in the form of trade promotions. Consumer product companies, such as Dial Corp., pay retailers to create end-of-aisle displays in their stores, for example, or to put ads in their Sunday newspaper circulars.

For a company the size of Dial Corp., with 150 field representatives, tracking the success of more than 20,000 trade promotion deals per quarter is a complex but essential process. If Dial Corp. knows where it has had successful promotions, the company can budget more dollars there while weeding out ineffective ones.

Dial Corp. had been managing the process manually using spreadsheets and a budget tracking application. But as the company grew and acquired more products, finding the best trade promotion opportunities became more difficult. And as the company collected more and more data, generating reports became slower, and responding quickly to market changes was not easy.

To solve these problems and advance Dial Corp.'s tracking abilities, the company began looking for a trade promotion management system (TPMS). "The solution had to show the activity in every local account for every sales person and every deal, and provide the flexibility for Dial Corp. to report on the data in a wide variety of ways. In other words, the data had to be visible and actionable," said Robin Roeder, director of IT at Dial Corp.

After a thorough examination of the available solutions, Dial Corp. chose Siebel for its support of remote users and full trade promotions management. Having already implemented Siebel Sales Enterprise in 1996, Dial Corp. wanted to work with Siebel again when the company announced a Consumer Products vertical application.

"For us, it was a technology decision," said Roeder. "We already owned Siebel, so we wanted to try Consumer Goods, which we hoped would integrate with our existing application." Using Siebel Consumer Goods, Dial Corp. implemented a trade promotion management system for 250 users, 150 of which are field reps and another 50 who are brokers, both who connect remotely via a telephone line.

Quicker, Actionable Information

After going live in August 1998, Siebel Consumer Goods quickly gave trade promotion managers a view into their activities, budgets and processes. "From a work perspective, we have a much faster planning cycle and more efficient control of all the processes around trade promotions," Roeder said. "We have more efficient recognition of the financial process and quicker, actionable resolutions."

For example, each field representative must develop and submit trade promotion plans. Previously that process could take six to eight weeks; now it takes just two. "It's all because we have more visibility into the information." Roeder said. "And because everyone is working with consistent data, approvals are consistent and much faster. Spreadsheets used to mean a potential for errors. Now our managers can use them as they were meant to be used - as planning and forecasting tools."

Siebel Consumer Goods has improved communication flows in some simple but elegant ways. Before, when field reps emailed their trade promotion plans, they could send spreadsheets as large as 4MB. "Now the reps enter the deals remotely, and they are there for anyone else to see. No more huge email files," she added. "In

addition, people spent a lot of time straightening out 'versionitis,' that is which version of the spreadsheet was current. Now, we don't discuss that anymore."

Instead, Siebel Consumer Goods serves as the central hub for the entire promotions process - planning, approvals, retailers' commitment contracts, and execution - all within the same database with information for everyone to see and with which to make consistent decisions.

Now, email discussions focus on financial control, for example. It's easy for Dial Corp. trade promotions management to see if someone is overspending, based upon his territory plan. "Managers can look at a specific product, say Dial soap, and see how much was spent on promotions, without having to call the rep to ask."

Siebel then tracks the shipment to the retailer, and how Dial Corp. pays the retailer for the promotion whether it's check or deduction from a payment the retailer owes Dial Corp. "Tracking deductions was very difficult before. Now with Siebel we can see the full promotion lifecycle," Roeder said.

Using Siebel, Dial Corp. enjoys a 40% ROI per year, as a result of field reps spending their time more efficiently, and headquarters being able to reduce the number of sales planning managers by about 20%. "As a percentage, we now have more people selling compared to the number of administrative people we need to support the field. It's because we have been able to put accountability where it belongs."

Big Bang Rollout

Implementation was a "big bang" process. "We had a small 8-week pilot including all levels of users - field sales, sales planning, finance, IT, accounting and analysis," Roeder said. "Then we brought everyone online, all at once. We had 20 regional training meetings over a two-week period to bring everyone up to speed." Dial Corp. complemented their rollout with help from PricewaterhouseCoopers, Siebel Professional Services and internal Siebel support.

"From an IT perspective, Siebel gave us a clean implementation," Roeder said. "We try to use packaged software whenever possible to keep the costs of customization and ownership low. Siebel met 90% of our requirements right out of the box. We only had to configure our business objects to match our business practices."

In addition, Dial Corp. has recently integrated trade promotion information into its order management system, Oracle CGP. Now, Siebel Consumer Goods can send and receive information from Oracle's order management. When a field rep submits a trade promotion proposal, Oracle prices the promotion correctly and automatically, then tells Siebel what happened for tracking purposes. Managers have a full view of order life cycles.

Moving Trade Promotion Management to the Web

Currently, Dial Corp.'s trade promotion management system is client/server based. "We are looking forward to going to a Web-based deployment," Roeder said. In addition to its direct sales force, Dial Corp. also uses brokers. Dial Corp. provides Siebel software to the brokers and support the software on their systems, which can be complex. Offering the same functionality via the Web is extremely appealing. "Once we get the brokers on the Web, we'll deploy a Web-based solution to our direct sales force."

Dial Corp. is also looking forward to improving its reporting capabilities. "We want to do pre- and post-promotion analysis, so we can tie the promotion to market share and visibility. We want to match trade promotion dollars to shipments and ultimately to consumption," Roeder added.

After more than a year of production, Dial Corp. is happy with the results. "We are 18 months ahead of the market, and we are very glad that Siebel was there to help us," she said. "With Siebel Consumer Goods, we have great visibility into our trade promotions, and we have a solid platform on which to build our future."