A Guide to Trade Promotion Management Software for Consumer Goods Companies

Learn how trade promotion management software can help you manage your trade spend more effectively, ultimately leading to improved profitability.

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Trade Promotion Management (TPM) is a dynamic process that incorporates budgeting, allocating budgets to accounts, planning promotions, reconciling deductions, and analyzing results -which can be a complicated ask if trying to manage in spreadsheets.

To make sure trade promotion management is performed in the best way possible, Consumer Packaged Goods brands are turning to specialized solutions. This is where Trade Promotion Management Software becomes a game-changer.

What is Trade Promotion Management Software?

Trade promotion management software is a tool that helps companies manage their promotional activities more effectively by bringing a level of precision and efficiency that manual processes cannot achieve.

How CPGs Leverage Trade Promotion Management Software

Trade promotion management (TPM) software can be leveraged for better trade spend management in several ways.

Here are some specific ways to do it:

  1. To track trade spend: TPM software consolidates all promotion-related data into a single platform. It can be used to track a variety of trade spend data, including billbacks, scan downs, lump sums, trading terms, EDLP. This data is linked directly to the activity and is used to identify areas where trade spend can be optimized.

  2. To forecast trade spend: With the help of historical data and machine learning algorithms, TPM software can forecast the potential outcome of various promotional strategies. This predictive analysis enables you to optimize your trade spend by directing resources toward the most promising opportunities and avoiding overspending. It also enables you to increase the accuracy of your financial accruals and avoid surprises.

  3. To report on trade spend: TPM software can be used to generate reports on trade spend and help identify where there are overspending situations as well as unused funds that can be recycled to generate volume.

  4. For post-event analysis: Post-event analysis is a critical component of trade spend management. TPM software allows you to compare the projected results of a promotion with the actual results, helping you understand what worked and what didn't. This can inform future promotions, making your trade spend more efficient over time.

By harnessing these capabilities, trade promotion management software can help you manage your trade spend more effectively, ultimately leading to improved profitability and a stronger competitive position.

tthe core of Trade Promotion Management

Why Trade Promotion Management Software is a Need for CPG Brands

Trade promotion spending is a major expense for consumer product companies, yet it is often difficult to measure and reconcile. This is due to the complexity of the process, which involves tracking multiple levels of spending, such as coupons, discounts, and incentives.

Companies must also track the associated sales and revenue results. Without the proper measurement and reconciliation of trade promotion spending, companies risk overspending and diminishing returns.

To address this challenge, companies are turning to consumer packaged goods solutions such as Trade Promotion Management (TPM) software. These are some of the business benefits trade promotion management software brings to the table:

  1. It Enhances Financial Management and Forecasting

      1. Optimizes budget allocation: Trade promotion management software enhances decision-making by providing clear visibility into trade promotion spending and results, ensuring maximum return on investment.

      2. Tracks spending and identifies discrepancies: It enables the monitoring of spending across various levels, helping to spot and address financial discrepancies and reduce the risk of overspending.

      3. Improves forecast accuracy: The software, coupled with advanced data models, allows for more precise sales predictions, facilitating optimal product distribution.

  1. It Increases Productivity and Efficiency

      1. Automates processes: By streamlining data entry, forecasting, and reporting, trade promotion management software frees up time for strategic analysis and development of more efficient promotion strategies.

      2. Reduces labor-intensive tasks: It minimizes the need for manual data input and extraction, allowing sales teams to focus more on actionable intelligence and customer engagement.

  1. It Enhances Transparency and Risk Management

      1. Increases visibility in trade promotion Data: Trade promotion management software improves transparency in tracking campaign success and identifying areas for improvement.

      2. Reduces financial risks: It aids in minimizing accrual errors, maintaining audit trails, and preventing financial surprises.

  1. It improves Agility and Competitiveness in the Market

      1. Facilitates adaptability to changes: The software allows for quick adjustments in plans, ensuring alignment across all stakeholders, including sales, trade development, finance, and revenue growth management.

      2. Provides a consolidated promotional view: Trade promotion management software offers a unified view of all promotional activities, streamlining processes, and enhancing efficiency.

  1. It Lays the Foundation for Future Growth

      1. Ensures scalability and integration: The chosen trade promotion management solution should be part of a suite that grows with your organization, effectively managing interrelationships and enabling smarter decisions.

      2. Prepares for advanced capabilities: It should set the groundwork for future expansions, such as Trade Promotion Optimization (TPO) and Revenue Growth Management (RGM).

Trade promotion management software provides a consolidated view of all promotional activities, streamlines promotional processes, reduces costs, and improves efficiency. This technology can also help companies better understand their customers, identify trends, and optimize their promotional strategy through data analysis.

Therefore, it is no surprise that TPM software implementation is becoming increasingly important. In fact, the global trade promotion management software market size is expected to grow from USD 1.04 billion in 2021 to USD 2.15 billion by 2028.

But what features should an efficient trade promotion management software offer? Let’s look at the capabilities you should look out for when deciding on a TPM software provider.

9 Features to Look for in Trade Promotion Management Software

Not all TPM software solutions are created equal, and the features they offer can significantly impact their effectiveness and suitability for your business needs. To guide you in selecting the best TPM software for your organization, let's explore the 10 essential features you should look for:

1. Account planning and budgeting

A robust TPM tool allows cross-functional visibility into promotions, plans, budgets, analytics, and P&Ls, ensuring sales, marketing, and finance alignment. 

A planning and budgeting feature enables companies to develop plans for their promotional campaigns, including the types of promotions used and the expected results.

By accurately and quickly seeing post-promotion analytics, businesses can look at trends and forecast the expected return on investment (ROI) for each promotional activity, thus improving the efficiency of their budget allocation. 

That’s not all, a TPM software with account planning and budgeting capabilities can help improve productivity as sales users will be able to spend less time re-entering promotions and more time with their customers. This capability to improve planning efficiency can help companies optimize their promotional strategy and achieve better business results.

2. Base and lift modeling

Base and lift modeling is a feature of trade promotion management software that helps companies analyze the effectiveness of their promotional campaigns. Based on the idea that promotions can have both a "base", which is the change in sales that would have occurred without the promotion, and a "lift", which is the additional change in sales attributed to a promotion.

Base and lift modeling is essential for trade promotion optimization because it gives manufacturers a deeper understanding of the impacts of pricing and promotion on sales.

3. Shipment forecasting

Choose trade promotion management software with promotional and non-promotional volume reporting. Look for systems that allow side-by-side reporting of planned sales, shipment forecasts, and actuals.

Shipment forecasting is an important feature of any TPM software because it can accurately help companies predict future demand for their products.

Companies can use shipment forecasting data to optimize their inventory levels and ensure they have the right products in stock to meet customer demand. This forecasting data can also help companies identify growth opportunities and increase sales. 

Furthermore, accurate forecasting has the potential to help companies ensure that they have the right products in stock at the right time. By being better equipped to meet customer demands they can also reduce the risk of over or understocking.

4. Deduction management

Deduction, settlement, and reconciliation management are essential features of TPM software because managing these processes can be challenging and time-consuming.

Furthermore, there is always a risk of settlement errors or disputes that can be both costly and time-consuming. However, by utilizing a deduction management software feature and automating the process, companies can improve the accuracy and efficiency of their trade promotions.

This will ensure that all parties involved in the promotion receive the proper credit or payment.

Minimize labor-intensive deduction settlements with auto-settlements functionality, allowing the AR team to focus on exceptions. Look for a user-friendly UI for manual settlements and in-app collaboration features for faster communication.

5. Data management

Trade promotion management systems are data-hungry, so it's important to choose software that can efficiently integrate and harmonize data sources. An in-house data science team is a plus.

6. Funding commitments and accruals

Trade promotion management software should allow the user to make financial commitments at the promotion level. This allows the system to take the burden of spreading the liability to the granular level (products, accounts, and weeks) and provide a view of liability at any level of the account and product hierarchy. 

7. Reports and dashboards that are simple to use

Your trade promotion management solution should provide you with clear and actionable insights. This should include reports geared towards each function; finance, sales, and management, with key KPIs related to promotion performance, spend efficiency, trade promotion effectiveness, accruals and deduction aging, gross to net financials, etc. 

Visual dashboards with drill-down capability will help your team react quickly to see what’s working and what isn’t, so you can adjust accordingly to drive positive outcomes. 

8. User-friendliness

You will need a user interface that provides powerful capabilities AND ease of use. Look for “easy buttons” - single and multiple promotion cloning, system spreads for funding, and planning with user override capability. The system should predict volumes for the user but still allow for user overrides where necessary. You can have it all if you do the right research on user interfaces!

9. Ongoing user support

Finally, a good trade promotion management software provider should offer separate technical support and customer service teams, including CPG industry professionals for effective onboarding, change management, and ongoing support.

There are several ways that user support can be provided, including documentation, training materials, and customer support teams. These resources help users learn to use software, troubleshoot any issues they may encounter, and get help when they need it.

The reason why good user support is particularly important for TPM software is that it is often used by a wide range of users within an organization, including sales, marketing, finance, and IT staff. It is likely that each of these users has a different level of technical expertise and may need different types of support depending on their responsibilities.

Nevertheless, with effective user support, all users should be comfortable using the TPM software, thus getting the total value out of it.

Now, when comparing trade promotion management software, consider these factors:

  1. Campaign scalability: Will the business need to manage a growing number of trade promotion campaigns over time? If so, how well will each product handle that scaling? Consider factors like the ease of managing multiple campaigns from a central dashboard, adjustable drill-downs, and campaign granularity, and any pricing considerations.

  2. Data management: How well does each platform intake and handle relevant trade promotion data? Is data updated in real-time? Are there automated dataflows from other systems into TPM software for rapid analytics?

  3. Data visualization: How effective and easy is the reporting within the trade promotion management platform? Can TPM KPIs, goals, progress, and other data be easily visualized for executive review and analysis?

The Human Factor Matters the Most 

Beyond the features and benefits of trade promotion management software, a critical factor in the selection of the ideal TPx (trade promotion execution) partner is the team at the software company that will be supporting your organization.

Customer support staff who understand trade promotions are essential for consumer product companies to get the most out of TPM software. These staff members provide an invaluable resource for companies as they use the software, enabling them to ask questions, troubleshoot issues, and gain insights into how to best use the software.

With their knowledge and experience, customer support staff can guide how to make the most of the software’s features. They can help companies to set and track performance goals, analyze results, and adjust their spending strategy accordingly.

Additionally, these staff members can help companies identify any discrepancies in their spending, allowing them to make the necessary adjustments.

The right customer support staff can offer insights into the industry, helping companies to stay ahead of the competition. With their expertise, companies can gain a better understanding of their trade promotion activity and results, enabling them to make informed decisions that will lead to greater returns.

How to Switch from Spreadsheets to Trade Promotion Management Software

Switching from spreadsheets to TPM software requires a shift in mindset and adjustments in work processes. Outdated spreadsheet solutions limit the effectiveness of trade dollar management. Convincing your team of the benefits and preparing for the switch is essential for a smooth trade promotion management software implementation.


Here are key steps to consider:

  1. Select a strong head of change management: Having a committed individual leading the change process is crucial. An executive sponsor that stresses compliance with new business processes is key.
  2. Communicate the benefits: Use real data to actively communicate why the switch is advantageous.
  3. Have a plan: Define goals and success criteria for the switch to benefit your team, business, and TPM vendor.

How Can I Ensure Strong Trade Promotion Management Software User Adoption?

To guarantee successful user adoption of trade promotion software, tailor the approach and consider specific business goals:

  • Understand your objectives, expected results, and vision of success.
  • Choose a TPM vendor that can tailor the implementation process to your specific needs.
  • Set expectations and collaborate closely with the TPM vendor from the start.

To drive user adoption, focus on key aspects when selecting a TPM vendor:

  • Ensure the vendor's plans align with your business growth.
  • Look for built-in reports and dashboards for better data visualization and market responsiveness.
  • Accuracy. Customized functions and accurate data mapping increase credibility.
  • Best practices. Learn from the vendor's experience with other clients, especially in your sector.

How Can I Support the Implementation Process?

Implementation is not the place to skimp on costs and effort! During the implementation process and beyond, consider these factors when choosing a TPM solution:

  1. A defined blueprinting process with resource requirements on both sides clearly laid out.
  2. Clear documentation and excellent customer support.
  3. Hands-on training and a user-friendly interface.
  4. Expertise and support from a dedicated customer success team.
  5. Accessible database with FAQs to help users troubleshoot issues.
  6. Vendor track record.

By following these steps and selecting the right TPM vendor, you can successfully transition your operations from spreadsheets to software while ensuring strong user adoption and maximizing the benefits for your business.

Introducing CPGvision: A Powerful All-in-One Trade Management Software

CPGvision is the best-in-class fully connected and integrated TPM and RGM solution suite for Consumer-Packaged Goods, built on the Salesforce platform. With the most advanced functionality in the industry, CPGvision equips you with real-life problem-solving applications for Trade Promotion Management (TPM), Trade Promotion Optimization (TPO), and Revenue Growth Management RGM). 

What Can CPGvision for Your Business?

With CPGvision you'll be able to:

  1. Generate accurate sales forecasting: Say goodbye to manual forecasting processes and errors. CPGvision applies modern machine learning techniques to generate and leverage the right historical data and make accurate promotion predictions.
  2. Gain real-time visibility into your performance: Analyze actual results as soon as the data becomes available, and make adjustments to the plan accordingly.
  3. Resolve deductions faster: Manage your reconciliation process in a state-of-the-art UI to clear deductions faster, and reduce that AR aging, all while preserving the audit trail with in-app collaboration, communication, and document attachment!
  4. Cut planning time: Combine your top-down and bottom-up plans, and analyze and close gaps for one source of truth on the forecast.
  5. Generate promotional predictions all in one place: Increase your ROI on trade spend with artificial intelligence-driven optimization and scenario planning and see the impact on your volume, revenue, and profit immediately.

What Features Does CPGvision Provide?

Some of CPGvision’s"easy buttons" are:

  1. Advanced product search: Utilize Salesforce's powerful search capabilities, including global search, lookup fields for associating records, and the "where is this used" function for comprehensive visibility.
  2. Mass cloning capability: Simplify the cloning process by copying promotion parameters and dynamics, allowing users to clone promotions, plans, or accounts quickly.
  3. Mass approvals: Efficiently review and approve multiple promotions or settlements simultaneously, with automated workflows and auto-settlements for added efficiency.
  4. Predictive planning: Plan promotions using a configurable calculator, customize key performance indicators, and visualize the projected impact of parameter changes on KPIs.
  5. Chatter function: Facilitate collaboration, data sharing, and documentation with audit trails, enabling effective promotion reconciliation and seamless communication.
  6. CRM analytics: CPGvision takes full advantage of this Salesforce Tableau-based functionality for reports, visualizations, and in-app functions as well as collaboration tools and alerts throughout!
  7. Scenario planning: create side-by-side scenarios and immediately see the impact of different promotional strategies on sales, spend, and profit.
Let's Improve Your Trade Promotion ROI Together!

Taking control of your trade promotion spending is a critical aspect of increasing profitability and driving growth in your business.

With the right strategies and TPM software in place, you're well-equipped to handle the demands of trade promotion management, maximize ROI, and carve out a competitive edge in the increasingly competitive consumer packaged goods market.

Remember to:

  • Choose the right trade promotion management software: There are several different TPM software solutions available. It is important to choose a solution that meets the specific needs of your company.
  • Implement software properly: Once you have chosen a TPM software solution, it is important to implement it properly. This includes training employees on how to use the software and ensuring that the data is entered correctly.
  • Use trade promotion software regularly: TPM software is most effective when it is used regularly. This will help you to track the performance of your trade promotions and to identify areas where you can improve.

We are ready to help you improve your trade promotion ROI! To ensure that you're utilizing the right tools and Trade Promotion Management software, reach out to our team of TPM and CPG experts.

By adopting CPGvision’s reliable trade intelligence platform suite, you can harness advanced functionality, real-life problem-solving, and a range of applications that will help drive your promotional success, and keep your customers coming back for more.

At CPGvision, we take pride in our commitment to your goals. Our dedicated team consists of CPG industry professionals who are fully equipped to support you with your trade promotion management.

To learn more about how CPGvision can help you achieve successful trade promotion management, get in touch with us today.

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