9+ years of Bonjour & FieldAssist: Stronger
together with next-gen automation

9+ years of Bonjour & FieldAssist: Stronger
together with next-gen automation

9+ years of Bonjour & FieldAssist: Stronger
together with next-gen automation

Bonjour Socks

20 years ago, socks were relegated to being a boring, drab accessory for your school uniform, sports, or office formals. No wonder we never saw them in colors other than white, black, blue, grey, and brown. Considered a utility item, not a fashion item, they were meant to be worn, not seen.

For Zonac Knitting Machines, makers of Bonjour Socks, things were no different. But something changed in the early 2000s. Greater exposure to Western trends, higher acceptance of branded apparel/accessories, and a change in consumer demands led Mr Raj Kumar Jain, CMD of Zonac Knitting Machines, to evolve not just their manufacturing but also their product designs. However, to achieve the same kind of transformation in his sales and distribution strategy, he knew he needed a strong technology partner to become the first ‘organized’ brand in a completely unorganized industry.

Back in 2014, at a time when using automation in his industry was unheard of, Raj Jain took a bold decision to adopt a salesforce automation solution that is helping him achieve growth, profitability, and long-lasting relationships with his distributors for the last 9 years and counting.

Let’s find out how Mr. Jain used technology to make his vast portfolio of products available to thousands of consumers across small and big cities in India.

Bonjour (Zonac Knitting Machines)

Bonjour was founded in 1988, with the goal of establishing itself as a one-stop solution for socks, tights, and handkerchiefs, catering to a wide clientele with 100% customer satisfaction. In the early 2000s when the socks and leggings industry was largely unorganized, Zonac Knitting Machines launched India’s first branded leggings brand called Vami.

Bonjour is the only brand that uses imported patented technologies to provide the most durable products to its consumers. Anti-microbial treatment is used which offers long-lasting freshness, anti-odor, and bacteria-free products. The company has 400 state-of-the-art, fully computerized socks knitting machines that produce over 70,000 pairs/day.

Banner Socks
Bonjour Story

So why was Bonjour unable to expand deeper into the Indian market?

  1. Manual data capturing led to delayed decisions: At the beginning, there were no structured beats for the salesmen to follow nor was there regular monitoring of field activities. Data was collected manually from the field and the physical reports were couriered to the sales leaders, which caused delays in taking the right decisions to implement Bonjour’s GTM strategy.
  2. Inability to showcase entire product portfolio to retailers: Over the years, Bonjour’s portfolio has grown into 14 product categories with nearly 3000+ SKUs that come in a wide range of colors, sizes, and other characteristics. It was humanly impossible for the salesmen to carry thousands of samples or heavy photographic catalogs to each retail outlet. Hence, the salesmen preferred to sell the low-hanging fruits and sell the ones which anyway had decent demand. Therefore, many customers remained unaware that Bonjour makes a lot of product categories other than socks, like activewear, loungewear, casual wear, other accessories, travel bags, etc.
  3. No visibility on secondary sales: Socks traditionally get clubbed under innerwear, and the distribution of innerwear is very different from typical FMCG products. For Bonjour’s sales leaders, the visibility of product movement did not extend to the retailers.
Testimonial Bonjour

How has Bonjour been using sales force automation for the past 9 years to chart YoY growth?

Initially, there was a lot of resistance from the frontline salespeople to use the app, and for the first few weeks adoption numbers were fairly low. However, since the project had full backing from the CMD, Mr. Raj Kumar Jain, the team slowly started to get comfortable with the idea of working on the app, which helped Bonjour achieve the following:

 

  1. Real-time data & crisp analytics: When other innerwear and accessory manufacturers were happy to get visibility upto the distributor’s level, Bonjour armed its salespeople with the FA app (SFA) to get traction in the field, craft proper beats, improve retailing time, get better read of the market and ensure high outlet coverage.
Target vs Achievement Bonjour

Today Bonjour regularly uses Quick Viz to keep track of daily sales and productivity on its key KPIs and take immediate course corrective measures at an individual, territory, or outlet level. The brand also uses a lot of Flexible Reports like

  • Beat Adherence,
  • Scheduled calls vs Covered calls (Outlet Coverage)
  • Productivity
  • Target Achievement etc.

 to identify red flags and get a drilled-down analysis of top-performing and low-performing salespeople as well as outlets, product categories, and SKUs.

2. Digital Catalogue: As FieldAssist’s sales force automation solution continuously evolved as Bonjour’s business also scaled up, the sales team was able to showcase the entire catalogue digitally on their hand-held device, thus helping the long-tail cluster get traction in the market and start performing better. The Outlet Health Card feature helps the salesman see the historical data of each outlet and assess which SKUs are already in stock and which products can be pushed further.

3. ‘Focus’ Products and ‘Promoted’ Products: In the apparel and accessories industry, fashion trends change quickly, therefore some items get discontinued and the company stops manufacturing them. To help liquidate the stock of such items from the company to the distributor, Raj Jain’s mid-managers define the ‘Focus Product’ feature to highlight the SKUs or the product categories that the team needs to aggressively push. They can also define ‘Promoted Products’ which lets the salesmen sell newly launched products better. Mid Managers use Joint Manager Working feature to shadow the on-ground SOs and identify areas of improvement e.g. how to forge a better personal relationship with the retailer, how to push a category that a retailer does not currently keep etc.

4. Visibility on secondary sales: Before deploying FieldAssist, Bonjour’s mid-managers  did not know the extent of their retailer universe. Therefore they were totally dependent on the on-ground sales team to feed them data. Today, with FieldAssist, the salesmen sit with the distributor at the end of the day and ensure secondary sales validation to know how many orders have been punched in and how many have been fulfilled. This helps the brand get a better sense of how inventory is being managed for every distributor.

MTD Mockup
Battleground Bonjour

5. User-to-Distributor Mapping: Traditionally, apparel and innerwear companies used to assign distributors according to geographies. Therefore distributors were mapped against sales beats. In such cases, orders could get delayed in getting fulfilled if the distributor did not have the requisite stock. To avoid this situation, FieldAssist has created User-to-Distributors mapping. This means, when a salesman receives an order, he can choose the distributor for assigning that order, basis his current stock availability. This has helped Bonjour streamline the entire fulfillment process and provide a good brand experience to its retailers.

6. Gamification of sales: Bonjour’s senior leaders wanted to bring about rigour and discipline in its frontline sales team similar to that of FMCG companies. With FieldAssist Battleground, they have created daily and monthly contests, assigned category-level targets, and are monitoring key KPIs like TC target, daily target, and total retail time. Now that different teams can see how others are performing, they are even more motivated and pumped to spend their retailing time more effectively and improve their sales numbers, and get rewarded and recognized in front of the whole team!

Bonjour has pulled up its socks and how!!

  • 133% increase in team size
  • 50% improvement in Unique Total Calls
  • 36% boost in Unique Productive Calls
  • 16% hike in Average Lines Cut per Call

For FieldAssist, these achievements and the entire journey is more special because Bonjour was one of the first brands we partnered with. The partnership that began almost 9 years ago is a testament to their faith in us, as well as our commitment to establishing long-term, profitable relationships with all our brand partners.