Post by Guest Blogger, Chip Sellarole

There’s only six weeks left in the first quarter of 2017. Yikes! I know you are knee deep in the daily business of production, in addition to marketing, trade shows, tastings, and mopping the floor. Now I’m going to give you a list of 10 more things to plan for the second quarter. (Thanks, Chip.)

These10 bare bones best practices will keep your brand on course and growing. Many startups (and frankly, some established brands) neglect these basic sales strategies.

Ignoring these issues would be like building a state of the art sailboat, and saying I don’t have the time to make the sails (sales pun intended). You think you can’t afford to hire someone to make the sails — then wonder why your boat is adrift.

Here is a quick bullet list of best practices for established brands with distributors for the coming second quarter:

  1. Establish next quarter goals using distributor input and/or depletion reports. 80/20 rule. Focus on the 20% that are doing 80% of the business.
  2. Ask your distributors for input. Distributors like to be asked. If you get one good idea, you win.
  3. Plan for second quarter selling holidays. There are four. Are you ready?
  4. Make sure your POS materials are in order, relevant and in supply.
  5. Plan key market visits, distributor sales meetings and ride withs. Minimum two per year. Distributors want to know your plans. Are you adding a line extension with a new product or size? Do you have any sales incentives?
  6. Goals and targets for staff trainings at on-premise and off-premise accounts.
  7. Goals and targets for menu features.
  8. Goals and targeting of unsold accounts (key accounts not selling your brand).
  9. Placement drives, where reps get bonuses on placements of a new size or type.
  1. Turn up the social media campaigns to engage with key sales reps. Acknowledge them on relevant platforms with short clips, pictures or compliments.

This kind of active sales program may be the most unromantic and mind-boggling side of owning a brand, but brand managers and consultants thrive on it. That’s why owners hire us.

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