In the last week alone I or someone on my team has used Uber, TaskRabbit, Uber Eats, and Handy from an app on our collective phone(s). We use these services because buying a car and having a driver is more expensive than Uber. We use these services because using Handy is cheaper and more effective than having a full time handyman on my staff in case the need arrises.
The Globe has become accustomed to using pay as needed services as a normal course of labor because owning and managing a full time service professional to accomplish the tasks you need done is costly and inefficient. Look at what we are doing at BevStrat and I welcome you to tell us and our hundreds of clients how it doesn’t make sense?
We use a combination of data points, call center inside and sales people around America to market (sell) wine, beer and spirits. We charge a fee that is considerably less than one full time sales person in one market and we manage the whole process. It is high time that the adult beverage industry matures into 2018 methodology and a 2018 way of thinking about sales and marketing. The data tells the entire tale and the data tells the truth.
A junior sales rep at a Big 3 distributor has roughly 116 accounts in their route book. Using the theory of “tallest guy gets the most baskets” it would reason that the sales rep, because of a commission structure, will pay more attention to the best buying accounts and diminished attention to the lesser accounts. It also stands to reason that the best buying accounts will buy the best selling items across all categories. So I ask you, my faithful reader, how do smaller, independent brands ever get shelf time? How do lesser buying accounts ever get a sales person’s time and how does a market shift ever occur? This pragmatic example plays out all over America every day. The small independent brand needs to forge their own path as sales people within the distribution channel are almost disincentivized to sell goods that have no shelf pull or are not known. This is why we invented BevStrat years ago and why we represent over a 100 brands nationally.
I see it all the time on job boards that brands are looking for market leaders, regional support, chain players and key account managers. The pay range is $100,000+bonus and the resumes are flying in. The reality and I am shocked that this does not get mentioned more is that a single person in a single market hits singles. (Keeping with the sports theme). 16 stops a week, 4 a day over 4 days, and Friday is for GSM meetings. Account universe is roughly 100 miles from the distributor epicenter and sales are limited. Why would any brand opt for this antiquated model. A 100K sales person needs to sell 1M in goods to be a sound investment.
We have created a sustainable model that is both cheaper, more efficient and covers more territory than what a small, independent brand can or would want to afford on their own. We use our sales people as a shared resource. They work for the brand (thus not brokers) and are accountable to both BevStrat and the maker. More people are available for less money and can travel and hit more territory than a single person could ever hope to achieve. The team members in our office are likely cringing now as I talk about what we do and how we do it, but I am not afraid. It is hard, painful and internally expensive to do what we do. So much so that I am happy to share trade secrets as I know that 99.9% of the people would rather buy it than recreate it.
We have created a model that works for dozens of makers across the USA, Australia, South America and Europe and is active in 22 states in our fine country. We feel obligated to help the independent brand to success as the deck is stacked against them from day 1. That is part of our company culture.
We, Americans, were slow to adopt to Uber. We all thought, especially in NYC, that no one would use the app as the Yellow Cab culture is plentiful there. Well you know what? Uber is now worth $10B and yellow taxis across America are struggling. The Uber customer decided that they are willing to value time more than any other commodity. When we are approached by a brand, say in Memphis, it is no different. How can two distillery workers in Memphis sell in California, well now they can. They can sell their goods there, they can get data, and they can move cases. With BevStrat, they have time back, less travel, less expense, and more cases moved. Mission accomplished!
Times they are a changing and selling your beverage brand is changing too. Having a sales person(s) all over america selling your goods, accountable to you and using your marketing material is a valuable commodity at an very valuable time in your brands life cycle.