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Selling success

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CPM is famous for its selling expertise in the FMCG sector. “We work with some of the biggest brands in the world, including Mars, PepsiCo, Kimberly-Clark, Procter & Gamble, Nestlé, Apple and Sony to name just a few,” says CEO EMEA Mike Hughes. “They come to us and stay with us because we are able to sell their products more efficiently.”

By outsourcing their sales organization to CPM, clients enjoy the benefits of having a flexible and focused sales resource. “We are paid to achieve results, so we are not distracted by anything else,” says Mr. Hughes. “When a client outsources their sales to us, they can instantly dial up their results. We can pull in additional people for specific projects to guarantee success and plan sales force, demos and merchandising campaigns using our unique experience and understanding of the retail market.”

CPM’s success is based on a business model that uses insights into consumer behaviour to influence future purchasing behaviour and drive sales. The current challenge it faces lies in navigating a market that has grown in complexity, with digital channels competing against and complementing physical stores.

“Digital sales have come of age in the last decade,” says Mr. Hughes. “Online retailing is booming, but to be successful here, physical retailers have to adapt their approach. Merchandising has moved beyond the physical store and into the online domain, where different rules apply.”

CPM helps its clients in the online environment with a range of targeted services including online merchandising. It also produces apps for incentive offers as well as other tools to maintain a dialogue with customers between physical visits to the store, creating dynamic communities and an emotional connection with the brand. “The whole retail sector is moving to cross-channel marketing using the opportunities that new technology offers,” says Mr. Hughes.

The ability to move with the times has kept CPM ahead of the curve throughout its 80-year history. Founded in the UK in 1936, CPM is now a global company with 30,000 employees worldwide. “We were acquired by Omnicom, one of the world’s leading marketing services, in 1987 and began international expansion from that point on.”

Already present in 37 countries, CPM continues to forge strategic partnerships with other sales outsourcing specialists that share its high standards of professionalism. One of its most recently concluded alliances was with Sale Nordic, a retail, sales and staffing agency headquartered in Stockholm and with expertise throughout the Nordic region. “This alliance has allowed us to increase the geographic reach we can offer our clients and is part of an ongoing strategy of expansion,” says Mr. Hughes, who joined CPM UK as a Client Service Director in 1993 and progressed through the company to become Managing Director of CPM UK in 2002.

Since 2010, he has taken on international responsibilities as CEO EMEA of CPM International. “The European economy has really picked up, and that is benefitting us enormously,” Mr. Hughes adds. “70% of our business is in Europe, where we are winning more and more big clients with major strategic projects.”

The potential in the market is still huge. Less than 10% of sales teams are outsourced at present. “If you compare sales outsourcing to IT outsourcing, the market is still relatively small, which is why we are confident that we will continue to grow strongly in the future,” Mr. Hughes concludes.

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