We’ve all been taught since grade school that success follows a predictable pattern. Set goals. Pursue said goals. Measure performance. Succeed! However, setting goals alone is not enough to ensure your success. In fact, setting the “right” goals is equally as important as the achievement thereof. Setting the wrong goals can have seriously negative implications for your success (i.e., wasted time and money). Here are some simple best practices I’ve observed for setting the proper goals for success in beverage alcohol sales.
First, define the strategic aim or reason behind the goal with as much detail as you can to ensure it is being applied properly and with the most chance of success. “Sell Brand X to 5 new/ unsold accounts – because we need more sales” is not a strategic initiative. “Sell Brand X to 80% of Latin nightclubs” is a much better way to define, build and assign a goal that delivers against a well thought out strategy, which has potential to build sustainable sales and brand equity.
No more assigning goals to sales reps by simply dividing the total sales target by the number of reps in the organization (the old “5 per”). Setting the same goal for each sales representative wrongly assumes each sales person has the exact same opportunity to achieve said goal. And by opportunity, we do not mean “skill or capability”. This is simply not true, and you probably already know it. Why continue to assign the same goals to Reps who likely have completely different types of accounts with different types consumers who visit those accounts. Instead, reference historical sales data by account types, segments and attributes with the product strategy in mind and assign relevant goals to each Rep accordingly. While easy to administer, setting a single/same goal quantity for all reps fails to take into consideration the current state of the business and opportunity each Rep has to achieve the strategic imperative the goal is trying to leverage. This demoralizes some with seemingly unattainable goals and rewards others for layups while doing little to improve a products long-term viability and potential.
Look for opportunities to group like products together for more effective promotional bundling. Nothing succeeds like success. By pairing or bundling proven sellers with similar products, you increase the positive association consumers have with known labels. This helps promote less well-known, but similar product lines. For example, “Sell New Cognac X to all accounts that carry Top Selling Cognac Y”.
Like the GreatVines motto says, “Sell More. Better.” The “sell more” part is the volume piece of the equation. The “better” part refers to selling it in a sustainable “brand building” manner by focusing on strategic leading indicators of sales. The first to consider is Distribution itself. It’s a good idea to reference not only “account sold” data, but re-orders and volume at the same time to form a more nuanced perspective on where the best opportunities lie. Look at all of these metrics in context together, and you’ll find you’re able to live up to the GreatVines motto.
Speaking of those leading indicators of sales, distribution isn’t the only one! Assigning goals for strategic leading indicators like execution of displays, menus and staff trainings are a proven method to build sustainable volume. These metrics, while not as concrete as cases depleted, sow the seeds of future sales growth. They are an investment in growth and should be regarded with as much value as any other goal. The Rep who secures the most displays is the one most likely to sell the most cases into a store, AND the most likely to secure a repeat order in the shortest time period. Selling five cases on a deep discount is much easier than getting five cases stacked in the front of a targeted store with proper signage and a trained staff to sell it through. Goal and reward Reps for the latter and you will get at least the former, plus a reorder next month.
Give your team all the tools and support it needs to succeed. That means giving them a beverage-industry-native technology they can use to plan, execute and measure against all the goals you set forth. Solutions like ours not only help management set smart goals, but also provide visibility to reps into the goals they’re assigned and the results they are achieving in real-time. Scorecarding in a tool such as GreatVines delivers clarity in pursuit of well-conceived goals.
Take these suggestions to heart and start maximizing your most valuable resources, your sales force and your cash. Be done with the wasted time and money resulting from having reps execute in the wrong accounts that aren’t strategically going to grow your business in a sustainable manner. For those with a solid goal methodology in mind but unable to carry out, a powerful tool such as GreatVines can help plan, execute and measure the way to Selling More. Better.