The evolution of consumer tastes over the last decade has spawned an explosion of brands – beer, wine and spirits – resulting in an already crowded field becoming nearly unmanageable without some kind of technology. Plus, as the competition grows fiercer, producers are becoming more reliant on their distributors to play a more prominent role in the sales process. It is for this reason that forward thinking distributors are now realizing the benefits yielded using technology to aid in the execution of sales strategies dictated by the suppliers they serve. Here’s some information on why the need has grown so acute for solutions to this business challenge and how contemporary solutions are helping distributors play a stepped up role in the sales process.
First, the “why” the need has grown. As the beverage industry grows increasingly diversified, there are simply too many moving parts to be managed casually. These days, it’s not uncommon for a large supplier to own 20 brands. Should the supplier develop, say, five strategic initiatives to execute per brand/per quarter that translates to 100 different executable programs (each with its own performance indicators or ‘KPIs’ to be tracked) per quarter or 400 for the entire year! Multiply the number of initiatives by the number of accounts a sales rep services and the number of KPIs to be executed and managed by a single salesperson easily grows to more than 2,000 per year! As distributors are pressed into service in this way, suppliers are demanding their distributors take steps to assure accountability.
But don’t imagine for a moment that distributors are adopting technology like GreatVines under duress or less-than-willingly. For most distributors, there is a well-documented need to optimize the strength and effectiveness of their portfolios involving all their suppliers. With niche products/brands finding ways to penetrate the market effectively, distributors are hungry for any tools they can use to protect their innate advantage. Tools to help drive sales by exploiting leading indicators are very attractive to distributors.
Next, let’s examine how distributors are leveraging technology tools according to contemporary best practices. Much like their suppliers, distributors are finding tools like GreatVines invaluable for a number of reasons. First and foremost, technology solutions provide processes and methodologies – built into their applications – which are flexible enough to manage the disparate needs of a wide array of product lines. The processes, which are replicable and even more importantly, scalable, provide improved control over workflows through permissions/approvals and allow the enforcement of KPIs for trade spend budgets. Plus, being cloud-based and designed for use on mobile devices all salespeople rely on today, these tools enable collaboration in real time. They’re perfect for keeping sales forces in the field informed, up to the minute, on all relevant measures of success. Meanwhile, management gets timely reporting and improved control over strategies and correlated spend.
With the right tools and processes in place, distributors are seeing increased sales volumes. This in turn supports stronger, more positive relationships with the suppliers/producers and healthier, more consistent brand management. For more detailed information on the positive effects of technology solutions for distributors in particular, you should read GreatVines newest white paper on this very subject. It’s called, Why Distributors Need a Solution to Execute their Suppliers Leading Indicators (KPIs) and it is available for download on the sidebar of this article.