Happy Fourth of July to all my readers. If you are a retailer the big push has come and gone and now comes the ‘dog days’ of summer. If you are a distributor you are now releasing your teams for a needed vacation before the busy season, and if you are a producer – you are likely wondering where are the end of year cases going to come from. Today, it nearly impossible to believe that you will hit EOY sales numbers and rue the fact that 40% of your brands business is done in the last 8 weeks of the year.
I made a decision late last year to re invent all the go to market strategies for the brands that consult for. I made a line in the sand that clearly states that distributors will not build your brand, and it would be up to the producer to control the fate of yet another well distilled vodka.
From that was born BevStrat. Independent sales forces for all the key markets in the USA. NOT BROKERS, as I believe brokers sell for themselves and not the producers but rather sales strategy, selling teams and geo-tracked analytics.
If what is happening now continues then all the brands that are not top 300 will be out of luck. Who will sell your brands for you? If you are a tasting room in Sonoma or a distiller in Allen Town, PA, how can you sell in NYC and CA respectfully. You will need to get some feet on the street. How? How do you manage that? How do you monitor them? Who is good, who is bad? What does success look like? So many questions…
There have been sales and marketing companies as along as the three tier has been in play. Those companies are just really invisible arms for the distributors that carry the portfolio. BevStrat is not that. We are data strategists. Supporting the right goods in market with the right people calling on the right accounts.
I look at the 4th of July as not only America’s Birthday, but also the roughly 1/2 point to go for the year. O.N.D is the MOST critical time of year. If you read me regularly you will know that I highly recommend putting your faith in what you can control from a sales standpoint. Waiting for big 5 distribution to sell you in 4th quarter can be the difference in winning or losing for the year.
Imagine an independent sales force that works for your brand, managed by a brand advocate and calling on the accounts most likely to buy your product. That is the way of the future. The big guys will sell what they need to sell to keep the supplier happy. You are the only one that is responsible for the success of your own brand. Distributors will have a long line of January supplier meetings bitching at them for missing case targets. Missing targets can kill your brand for a year, while the sting of that January meeting only lasts 1 day for the distributor.