Category management is a strategic approach in distribution marketing. It consists of a set of methods that allow brands to go beyond their usual industrial strategies by integrating the specific needs of customers, such as their buying behavior in store or their use logic of the products they buy. The purpose is to retain them permanently. But this is more easily said than done, to master the field, it is important to become a performing category manager.

What is a Great Category Manager?

Category expertise is not the only field that an expert in category management has to know. A great category manager is a specialist that is able to manage several categories in retail distribution. Those categories can be related to one another or not. A reliable category manager is an expert who has the ability to get up to speed quickly on everything he is in charge of. The real expertise is actually the capacity to do whatever it takes to become very proficient in category management technology and practices. For that purpose, creativity, team spirit and curiosity are mandatory.

You thirst of knowledge is important because a category manager always has to learn more about their professional domain. Moreover, you will have to be able to communicate easily with different people. As an expert in category management, you should have the ability to build strong relationships with colleagues, customers and partners. Do not hesitate to ask questions, dig deep and work very hard to reach your goal.

Those are the skills a category manager must have to deal with both supply and demand. The best experts know all the ins and outs of the market but they do not just concentrate their attention on the pricing. They always try to understand and look inside every source used with the company. It helps them ensure that the products put in their shelves meet the needs of the end users. In some ways, it allows them bring innovative ideas and solutions.

Essential Skills for Efficient Strategic Category Management

Here are the most important skills and procurement disciplines a great category manager should have. First, there is the analysis because strategic category management or SCM requires the identification of the savings. On the other hand, quantifying and reporting the savings can be very complex and challenging as a process. Thus, the expert has to be able to measure the total cost of ownership improvements and prove the monetary value of the changes to the chief financial officer.

Moreover, a performing expert in category management is a perfect supplier manager. In other words, they must be able to build quality relationships by investing time and energy on it. They have to consider every aspect of supplier management. On another note, a good category manager is a person who can create and govern robust professional relationships with creative contracts. This means that contract management also matters and is a field that needs to be mastered. We can even say that it is the very centerpiece of any successful strategic category management.