You’ve made a decision about your sales technology: It’s time for a change or major upgrade in capabilities. There are two common strategies to finding a solution that will work for your business, building your own or buying into an existing service. Each choice carries its own set of pros and cons to be considered before making the next decision on how to best proceed.
Let us guide you in what to look for in your beverage sales technology, as well as explain the difference between building or buying a solution to address your technology needs.
Getting Started with Beverage Sales Technology
Identify the Problem
First, identify the problem you’re having or need for technology that you’re seeing within your company. Things to consider: Is this need highly specialized? Does it relate to your core business functions or is it a service that another company has already mastered?
For the beverage industry, one of the main problems we’ve seen is that companies need help growing to be able to compete. As larger companies move more into the tech space it’s important to keep up with the latest tools to stay competitive, like data sharing through the three tiers, promotional analytics, CRM, retail surveys, and trade promotion management.
What to Look for in Your Technology
Choosing the right sales technology for your beverage company should revolve around strengthening your brand(s) and position within the market by way of excellent sales execution.
We’ve found the following attributes to be essential:
- Automated – saves you valuable time on processes
- Focused – pinpoints the right products and activities and when to perform them
- Informed – provides calculated and strategic direction
It’s important to remember that it’s not necessarily the best product that wins at retail, it’s the best execution in the market. Your technology should help you perform strategic activities, facilitate opportunities that bring value to your business, and be able to measure the success of your initiatives.
Build or Buy
Build Your Own Solution
Building your own in-house platform or app is a great deal of responsibility, but can be the right solution depending on your needs. The cost and time it takes to develop an integrated platform are typically the most intense aspect of building something yourself, and a main point of consideration with buying licenses from an existing SaaS platform.
While you’ll have complete control and ownership over what goes into your product, the best scenario for building your own is if a comprehensive solution doesn’t already exist, you have a specialized customer base with particular needs and a well documented design to address those needs, capital to invest in the build of the new solution, and have professional IT resources or financial means for ongoing support.
Understanding your project scope, the commonality of scope creep, and ongoing enhancements/maintenance after completion will prepare you for the road ahead. Time-to-value is typically longer than buying a solution.
Factors to Consider when Building Technology:
Invest in an Established, Ideally Industry-Specific Solution
Buying into an existing SaaS platform is another other option for solving problems and addressing your company needs. If you’ve done your research and found that someone else has already created a solution and worked out the bugs, it’s definitely worth it to consider this path. This is especially true if you can find an option that is vertically industry-specific.
While buying into an existing solution may not give you full control over the product roadmap, it’s likely that you’ll find more than 80% of the features you need. Most SaaS solutions value product input from their customers and integrate new features into upcoming releases. You will receive strong benefit from the ideas of others in your industry and not limit your solution to your own experiences. You also may be able to have your vendor build specific capabilities for your use only as funded enhancements if this is something you need.
All of the product updates, maintenance, scalability, and security measures are in the hands of the vendor, allowing you to focus on using the product. Your time-to-value will be much faster, with initial priority placed on integration, implementation, and training.
Factors to Consider when Buying Technology:
How Does GreatVines Stack Up?
Vertically-focused feature set based on Beverage Alcohol with a combined feature set generated by a large number of clients
Leverages Salesforce with benefits of automation and workflow, email integration, direct marketing, and comprehensive API services
Manages the entire 3-tier sales process
Built-in BI and Analytics tools that let you analyze sales trends and projections
Data integration with leading beverage alcohol depletion and account providers, such as Nielsen TDLinx, BDN or Equinox
Integration with your supply chain management solution or ERP
User-friendly field sales mobile app that works on all devices and browsers
Scalable to thousands of users
Continuous upgrades from GreatVines, and three automatic updates from Salesforce at no extra cost
Now that you have an overview of how to identify your needs, what your technology should look like, and whether or not you should build or buy a solution, there’s only one thing left to note. Regardless of how you go about solving your technology need, its effectiveness is entirely dependent on how you use it. It’s important to remain focused on strengthening your sales execution to enhance your position in the market.