Broker MVO Training

Broker training made easy with video…

Many Foodservice Rewards sponsors are now sharing their Most Valuable Operator data with their sales and broker teams.   This information is being supplied directly into the sales teams existing Customer Relationship Management systems to make it easier to access and leverage.   To help launch the Foodservice Rewards data sharing, we’ve developed a training video to showcase how the data is seen and how it can be used.


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Most Valuable Operators – Engaging Brokers to Drive Sales

MVO transactional data is now being transferred directly into broker’s CRM systems…

Foodservice Rewards helps manufacturer partners understand their down the street business.  Most Valuable Operators are the largest customers – the operators a sales team or broker should be visiting.   For the first time, Foodservice Rewards sponsors are now sharing MVO customers and their transactions directly into the sales agent’s own customer relationship management systems.   For the initial test, Foodservice Rewards partnered with Foodservice Enablers at the request of Basic American Foods to deposit the data into the Elite Associates Sales Portal.  King & Prince Seafood quickly saw the value and added their data to the program.  After working with the data for a few months, Phil Ledesma , Corporate Client Manager for Elite Associates, reported during the annual sponsor meeting that the data is helping them be more efficient by:

  1. Identifying declining operators to catch brand switching
  2. Identifying operators to cross-sell to
  3. Providing another tool to close the sale

With permission from sponsors, data will continue to be shared with sales agents through the Foodservice Enablers broker sales portal.  Foodservice Rewards is also working with Easy Operator/AFS Technologies and others to develop similar software providing MVO transactional data to sales agents across the foodservice industry.

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DSR and “Street” Operator loyalty

DSR’s will often will be paid out on a spiff and not even know where it came from…Gain loyalty directly with the operator to protect branded business

The Distributor Sales Representative (DSR) is one of the most trusted resources to the independent “street” operator.   Generally, the DSR is awarded a higher financial incentive for selling their own brands versus a manufacturer brand.  For years, manufacturers have tried to garner loyalty from the DSR by offering “spiffs” for increased case sales.  According to the Association of Foodservice Distributor Representatives DSR Insights, here’s the harsh reality:

Most DSRs have a “default” recommendation in their brain for your product category (likely the house brand). You might distract them with the occasional spiff… but they often have 12-15 spiffs available to them at anytime.  In fact, they often will be paid out on a spiff and not even know where it came from.

AFDR argues that DSR’s can be loyal, however building loyalty should be tied to training (knowledge) about your products, then supplemented with ongoing, consistent communications about your brand. 

Like the previous new products post, AFDR offers great suggestions, but also re-enforces how difficult it is to influence the DSR.   The DSR and distributor are critical to ensuring delivery, however reliance on them to “sell”  manufacturer brands remains fraught with challenges.

So how does a manufacturer reach the “street” operators if you cannot rely on the DSR?  Hopefully, the manufacturer’s sales agents or direct sales force can reach the largest volume “street” operators on a regular basis.  Foodservice Rewards can reach these same Tier 1 customers (regularly and consistently) plus the Tier 2 and Tier 3 operators that can drive manufacturer sales in aggregate.  Foodservice Rewards provides a turn-key ongoing customized communication stream to each of the over 100,000 “street” OPERATOR participants to garner LOYALTY for the brands that feature our yellow reward stickers.  Program sponsors that develop operator loyalty to their brands, then protect their business from distributor/house brand conversion.


The THREE P’s of a Successful Foodservice Product Intro

Using Foodservice Rewards to reach the independent operator directly, will help build awareness and requests to the DSR for your new products…

When listening to the webinar entitled “The Three P’s of a successful Foodservice Product Intro”  from AFDR, I was reminded how difficult it is to rely on the DSR to drive new products for a manufacturer.  There are thousands of products available, but only 950 annually drive 80% of a typical DSR’s volume.  The webinar offered the following 3-P’s to  help DSR’s successfully sell your new products (see chart).

The speakers suggest that neither a foodservice broker nor manfacturer representative can possibly visit the 450,000 or so independent operators that drive sales on the “street”.   That is why sponsors of Foodservice Rewards can use our communication tools including the bi-weekly enewsletter to build awareness at the independent operator so they request the new products from their DSR!

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Consumer Trends and Food Costing Help Needed is a best practice example of supporting brokers and DSR’s with on-trend product information as evidenced by this Technomic study

Tip ‘o the hat to Rick Abraham who organized another informative FSMA top2top Broker summit.

A compelling presentation was this Technomic Study on The Future of the Independent Operator, which he has kindly allowed me to share.

Among the key recommendations:

“Independents are under real pressure. They are willing to listen, so bring them solutions and best practices: menu pricing strategies, cost reduction, margin optimization, waste and yield management.”

Discussions at the conference highlighted how tricky that is to do when you’re relying on the traditional method of telling your Regional to tell his Broker Principal to tell his BSR’s to tell the Sales Manager at the house to tell his MA’s to tell their customers. If you’ve ever played Chinese whispers, you know what we mean.

Interestingly, Todd Hauser, a leading Martin Brothers DSR and panel member, spoke about how he prefers to receive .PDF files describing products so he can e-mail them on to his clients. In fact, there were audible gasps in my row as he referred to a traditional printed marketing materials as “trunk trash.”

If you want to see a best-in-class example of how to capitalize on the operator need for information and the BSR’s and DSR’s desire to deliver it efficiently, take a look at the superb job Leslie Chase and Sara Lee have done with:

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SMA Incentive program going gangbusters!

The Sales and Marketing Agency Incentive has come to a close with positive results…

The pilot phase of the Sales and Marketing Agency Incentive has come to a close with positive results: Your brokered sales forces signed up hundreds of key account operators earning bonus Foodservice Rewards points funded by BI.

Here’s a presentation for use with Sales and Marketing Agencies or internal salespeople. Program Benefits include:

1) Identifying target accounts (your brokers know who they are)
2) Tracking activities to compare agency to agency effectiveness
3) Communicating product features and benefits to salespeople
4) Rewarding specific selling behaviors effectively

A big thank you to Advance, Bunge and Splenda for testing the program. Pricing and implementation details can be found here.

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Basic American Foods Broker Feedback

Helping brokers identify “hot leads” using Foodservice Rewards data…

A quick note of thanks to Jim Hostetler and Hans Kohte of Basic American Foods for inviting me to participate in their recent division meeting and gather feedback from their brokers and salespeople.

1) Many brokers requested that we make a list of operators redeeming reward codes available to them. As I understand it, these reports can be as simple as excel spreadsheets that include the cities and states covered by that broker or as sophisticated as plotting target accounts on a Google map accessible by your brokers. Brokers are given a special login so that they don’t have access to any other functionality.

2) Often, manufacturers/brokers have a “key account” or “top 100” list where they’d like brokers to focus. Why not have us design and mail Manufacturer/Broker co-branded postcards with enrollment or bonus codes to key accounts in each broker’s market?

3) There was considerable interest in Scanners. Each Broker had 2-3 key accounts (usually C&U or Healthcare) for whom scanners would be a great closing tool as they attempt to sell in your product lines.

One broker told me his account had a full-time intern entering codes. Another broker had gone to OfficeMax and purchased scanners for his accounts. A third collects codes from a key account and has someone at the broker’s office enter them as a “value added” service. Why not design a promotion with scanners as the reward?

4) Finally, there were multiple requests for FSR floor mats for local food shows. We’ll pursue bulk pricing and create a corresponding fact sheet. Mats are popular because you can always find booth space for them and the bright yellow reward code is instantly recognizable by operators.


Basic American expands participation

Hans Khote of Basic American Foods reports that “replacing a coupon with the official BAF merchandising program and the FSR loyalty program is not an easy proposition however…”

“BAF used to have a quarterly coupon that went out to 5,000+ operators. I eliminated the quarterly coupon as of July 1 and replaced it with limited but more flexible target coupons that are not linked to any quarterly time period. To help offset any pushback from sales we determined that a series of 3 direct mails playing up our participation in Foodservice Rewards would maintain that link with those operators and provide them with a substitute loyalty incentive.

Most of our direct or broker sales people understand the beauty of the foodservice rewards program. We received a lot of good feedback from our regionals at a recent Western Sales meeting. I have to admit that replacing a coupon with the official BAF merchandising program and the FSR loyalty program is not an easy proposition however as coupons were frequently used as a means to permanently reduce pricing…

Hans Kohte, Senior Marketing Manager
Basic American Foods


Gift cards now available for your sales force

Help your brokers and salespeople get appointments by supplying gift cards to hand out after cuttings…

Help your brokers and salespeople get appointments by supplying gift cards to hand out after cuttings, win-back calls or visits to trade show booths.

This handy fact sheet details pricing and design options.


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