In the early days of 2016, with Auld Lang Syne still ringing in our ears, we put forth a post designed to offer concrete steps that beverage producers should take toward making 2016 their best year of sales ever. We offered three key objectives to execute in pursuit of that exciting goal. Today, just beyond the midpoint of the year and just before we begin the acceleration toward the busy holiday season, let’s make a spot check of your progress in each of these three areas to see how well your sales organization has been able to execute these ideas and, if needed, how to get the whole initiative back on track.
Objective 1 – Set Better Goals and Establish Strong Metrics for Reporting on Results
- How well have you focused goals on leading indicators that strategically drive your sales – like National Account Authorizations, Displays, Menu Features, or Staff Trainings?
- Did you make results vs goals visible to reps and execs?
- What was ultimately the definition of your brand’s “Perfect Account”? What has been done to support this methodology? Have you developed surveys to drive the execution toward perfection, and reviewed survey scores and goals to measure progress?
If you’ve not refocused goals on leading indicators or haven’t yet fully defined the “perfect account” using hard data from surveys, now is the time. Take the opportunity during the next three to four weeks of the summer lull to make strides in these areas in preparation for peak season at the end of the year.
Objective 2 – Improve Trade Marketing Activities
- Did you prod sales and marketing teams to plan and detail their trade and distributor programming in advance? How well did these plans provide visibility to everyone in the organization? Were you able to tie all activities to budgets?
- Have names and email addresses of key people in the trade been identified and captured? If so, make sure to continue to email them relevant content, e.g., seasonal recipes, new product information, invitations to events, etc., on a regular basis to build stronger relationships. If not, get cracking!
- What results have you seen so far through analysis of the activities you’ve executed versus account sales data? Have you been able to determine which activities are driving your business and which ones are just eating up time and budget?
So much of trade marketing activity relies on metrics and analysis for success. If you’ve been crushing this function, we’d love to hear about your results in the comments. If not, there’s still time to take these steps and still see results by the end of 2016.
Objective 3 – Exert Greater Control over Pricing
- What hidden incremental profits were you able to identify with planning from FOB to Shelf Price? Did you optimize deal levels for each market? Did the dashboards and reports help you to “find money” you had potentially been leaving on the table?
- How has your understanding of your pricing data and your distributors’ financials empowered you to engage in more effective negotiations with wholesale partners? Were you able to visualize this data using BI tools?
- How successful have you been at eliminating excessive price supports and surprise bill backs from distributors?
- Has there been a satisfactory increase in visibility after you simplified the collection of pricing for national accounts for each market?
Even if you’ve not been able to achieve any of these pricing related goals, there is never a bad time to embrace these changes and move your organization toward more effective, efficient and profitable pricing.
As we said at the beginning of 2016, we all had to crawl before we could walk. The most important thing is to start. Start with one best practice and build from it. You and your team can do this, take advantage of technology!