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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Newsletter, DSR Program, Scanners, KPIs

This month’s Sponsor Update covers our newsletter redesign, the winding down of the DSR incentive, new scanners and updated KPI’s…

This sponsor update covers a number of topics, among them the decision taken at the September Sponsor Meeting to phase out the DSR incentive portion of our program. Over the years, we’ve worked hard to enroll and engage DSRs in Foodservice Rewards. In fact, you may recall that for about three years, we had a full-time person working on DSR enrollment and engagement.

However, only a few thousand DSRs enrolled in the program and a small percentage of them actively engaged. Going forward, existing DSRs can continue to earn points through Sponsor promotions and overrides and can redeem their points for merchandise (their points don’t expire). With the upcoming website re-design, DSR’s ability to enroll will be eliminated and points override earnings will end April 30th, 2011.


ConAgra Operator Success DSR Incentive(?)

ConAgra’s solo DSR incentive effort lacks critical success factors…

ConAgra Operator Success DSR incentive program? Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery… In this enrollment form, you’ll find ConAgra using the “earn 10% of your operators’ quarterly redemptions” principle that drives success in the Foodservice Rewards distributor incentive program. However, it lacks three critical success factors:

1) Lack of earning power: When DSR’s represent thousands of brands but can only earn from a handful from ConAgra vs. hundreds of brands from the FSR coalition, the promise of “unlimited earning potential” rings a little hollow…

2) Newly enrolled operators only: One can empathize with ConAgra’s desire to only drive incrementality – but there are better ways of doing it without alienating reps – for example, setting a base override of 10%, but adding the functionality to change that percentage during focus selling periods.

3) No Reach/Reach Vehicles: How many DSR’s can one realistically expect their brokers to enroll? And why not ask for an email address on the form so one can cost effectively promote program updates? How about a cell phone number to text updates?

Sponsors, we have YOU to thank for helping us build those innovations (and more to be announced at the Sept. 23rd/24th Sponsor meeting) into our program. As a result of focus on the participant, the Foodservice Rewards DSR incentive has now attracted over 400 houses and 3,000+ DSR’s.


May’s DSR All-Stars™

May’s DSR All-Stars™ report: “I’ll continue to promote it because it’s been good for my business!”

Congratulations to John C. from Philadelphia, PA (City of Brotherly Love) AND Mike R. from International Falls, MN (Icebox of the Nation). They both enrolled the most new operators in the month of May, and both have been crowned “DSR All-Stars” and been recognized in this month’s DSR Newsletter.

John C. stepped out from the shadow of the Rocky statue, long enough to tell us what he thought of Foodservice Rewards: “It really is a great way to help sell specific items. There is no downside. I have been very happy with the program and my customers are very impressed.”

Meanwhile, while dodging moose, Mike R. was grateful enough to add: “I explain to (my customers) that it’s free money just waiting for them. Thank you for a great program, I’ll continue to promote it because it’s been good for my business!”


DSR Program Improvements

Later this week, we are dropping a postcard to nearly 12,000 operators. It will announce a 3 month promotion which will give sweepstakes entries to operators for referring their DSRs….

referralmadnessMany of you may have heard about or been a part of planning the upcoing improvements to the DSR Incentive Program including the first major change, elimination of the Distributor Program Manager requirement, took place on 5/8/09. Since then, we have already seen a noticable increase in the number of DSRs joining overall.

However, we’ve also seen DSRs joining from 6 new Distributorships we’ve never been able to penetrate through other efforts. These include 3 new Sysco branches (Philly, East Texas and Lankford), 2 new PFG houses (Hale and AFI), and an additional Reinhart brach (Cedar Rapids).

Later this week, we are dropping a postcard to nearly 12,000 operators and an eBlast to the entire base announcing a 3 month promotion giving sweepstakes entries to operators referring their DSRs.

I thank everyone for their help, insight, and hard work through this transition. Any questions, let me know.


Over 50 Pro Group Members Now Participating

Over 50 Progressive Group Alliance distributor houses now participate in the DSR portion of Foodservice Rewards…

Here’s the latest version of the Progressive Group Alliance Service Provider Newsletter. Foodservice Rewards got front page placement.

This newsletter is sent to all 400+ distributor members who belong to PGA. Since our relationship began with PGA (in late 2007), over 50 of their Distributor partners have enrolled in the DSR program.


Distributor Update: Federated Show

We’re considering adding a “tell my DSR I’m interested” link next to your products, that would trigger an e-mail…

Big Mike and Foodservice Rewards exhibited at the Federated Foodservice member conference in Las Vegas November 5th-7th in a one-on-one meetings format and enrolled 11 new distributors at the booth.

Current Distributor/DSR program counts follow:

  • 374 Distributors (14 in October)
  • 2,658 distributor sales reps (34 in October)
  • 4,172 new operators (129 in October)
  • Several sponsors have suggested that we open the program up to any DSR who wants to enroll (they would accept terms and conditions, just like operators do, agreeing not to violate their employer’s policies) as a way to boost participation.

    In addition, we’re floating the idea of adding a “tell my DSR I’m interestedlink next to your products throughout the website and in newsletters. Operators clicking on the link would trigger an email to their linked DSR.

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    Are You A DSR All-Star?

    Are you a DSR All Star? asks Mike Z. in the innovative channel engagement strategy…

    Big Mike has launched a clever engagement campaign aimed at our 2,600+ participating DSR’s that highlights a monthy winner for enrolling the most operators, like Jerry Carelly of Sysco Food Services of Houston who enrolled 22 new accounts last month.

    As Mike Zoladkiewicz, Distributor Marketing Manager, writes:

    “Attached are the list of prizes that a winner can choose, the e-blast that explains the promo and reminds the DSR of their enrollment code, and the postcard explaining the promo.

    In past months, we’d average 10-12 DSRs who enrolled more than one operator in any given month. Since we started the DSR All-Star program, the number of DSRs enrolling multiple operators has averaged 25.

    Overall operator enrollments through DSRs have increased 29% over the prior 3 months (from 314 to 407.)”

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    ProGroup Service Matters Coverage

    Great Foodservice Rewards coverage in Progressive Group’ July member newsletter…

    “This is the Progressive Group Alliance quarterly newsletter dedicated to the Service Provider and PRO-Vision Market Programs” Writes Callie Redford.

    See Foodservice Rewards’ coverage on page 4 of the July issue to all of Progressive Group’s distributor members.

    In addition, here are Big Mike’s July ’08 distributor program updates:

    Current Counts:

  • 340 Distributors (50 in June)
  • 2,536 Distributor Sales Reps (44 in June)
  • 3,658 New Operators (120 in June)
  • 1,130 Additional Operators Attached to DSR Accounts
  • Recent Travels/Presentations:

  • Dot Foods Show – St. Louis, MO
  • Sysco Albany Sales Meeting – Albany, NY
  • Merchants – SC Sales Meeting – Newberry, SC
  • FSA Corporate – Scottsdale, AZ
  • Pate Dawson Sales Meeting – Clinton, NC
  • Martin Brothers Sales Meeting – Cedar Rapids, IA
  • Ettline Foods Show – York, PA
  • News:

    Golbon: Offered to have us at their member trade show and featured on their newsletter

    Federated: Conversations continue

    Food Services of America: Met on 6/19. Great feedback. They want to roll the DSR program out to all DSRs at all 12 houses and back it through corporate communications

    Institutional Food House (#14 in the US) and Sysco Pittsburgh joined FSR

    P&G has decided to offer local distributor promos to their Tier A distributors

    Nestle Canada DSR promotion from 4/1-6/30/08 resulted in a significant increase in participating operators and incremental cases redeemed

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