If you’re like us, it feels like each successive year comes around more quickly than the last. Whether it’s just a function of aging or because time is elastic, the phenomenon makes us focus on the fact that, if time is anything, it is short. There are no extra hours, days or weeks to waste if you want to get ahead of your competition in the beverage selling game. So, with this somewhat unsettling idea in mind, we’ve taken the opportunity to build this list of four things you must focus on to achieve better sales and increased depletions in 2017.

Improve focus on Sales Execution and Management

This can be achieved by improving processes for tracking market goals by account segment or territory so that sales representatives can choose the right account and the right activity to improve sales volume and quality. By tracking all sales and trade marketing activity you can easily replicate high performing activities and ditch the efforts that fail to yield results. Track the efficacy of activities such as displays, menus, POS materials, presentations/tastings, surveys and more.

Tracking should be coupled with the setting of specific account objectives for every account, complete with target time frames. When you set objectives, and track the status of efforts to reach those objectives, you improve the probability of succeeding. After all, as Peter Drucker once said, “You cannot manage what you cannot measure”!

Design and Deploy Budget Planning Strategies for Successful Trade Programming

Trade promotion management (or TPM) strategies involve building strong controls around spending on activities like tastings, agency activity, incentives to distributors, and other promotions. Embark on a plan to draft budgets for all trade promotion activity. Make sure to capture data on results so you can determine where spending is providing return and where it is not. The best planning in this regard involves tracking by spending type such as by brand/label, market, distributor, retailer and national account. Segmentation like this helps reveal where your best ROI is on trade promotion. Just be sure to offset expenses like chargebacks from distributors and vendors against your program spend or your metrics may not be 100% accurate.

Transform Survey Activity from Passive to Active

Ditch the spreadsheets and emails. By the time you finally compile all the survey data, it has already begun to age out. Establish criteria for your “perfect outlet” and leverage technology to immediately home in on missed opportunities so the gaps can be closed. Better survey design focuses on collaborating with distributors to associate questions with individual products and produce more effective, efficient survey groups and question clusters. Not only will this be more convenient for your distributor partners (driving increased completions) but it will also yield more and better insight for actionable response to what the data reveals.

Leverage Cloud Computing for Superior Pricing

Sure, everyone knows using spreadsheets for pricing is an obsolete (not to mention tedious, inefficient and frustrating) practice. But even many legacy tech solutions used by numerous producers have reached the end of their useful lives. Cloud solutions for pricing deliver the power to manage and optimize market level pricing in a way that is easy and intuitive to use. Today’s leading cloud solutions for pricing provide friendly interfaces for ease of use in driving pricing workflow standardization across all the markets in which you operate. Powerful computing helps suppliers optimize volume/profit scenarios and zero in on the spread between distributor and retail costs. Exert full control over markups, margins and depletion allowances while optimizing from FOB to shelf.

All these actions and more are supported by leading beverage selling solution, GreatVines. Get more information on how you can adopt any or all these strategies in 2017 by reaching out today!