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An inside look at what it takes to sell to big chains

If you’re in business development, marketing or sales, you may be interested in an inside look at what it takes to sell to big chains. You have to know the foodservice landscape, know how to do your research on your key targets, be able to succinctly describe your value proposition and have the right presentation approach.

Just doing the same thing you’re doing for retail or for industrial won’t work. Foodservice is a different animal altogether!

My current business model is to help clients create a robust foodservice entry market strategy, and then help them implement it through business development and sometimes directly helping them sell. I’ve been extremely fortunate over the past few years to have a pretty full slate of clients and work! A goal of mine has been to find a way to help more people who want to understand how to get into large chains, what’s expected of them as a supplier, and how to accelerate their success.

A very innovative client I did some work with in the past gave me the idea to scale this knowledge using an online course, or program. He explained to me that my process was unique and informative and helped him earn business at a large account fairly quickly, and that there was a way to create an online, self-paced program that more people could subscribe to and apply to their own businesses or segment.

We went to work on it, and now I’m extremely excited about the launch of my new online program, 3 Simple Steps to Turbocharge your Foodservice Sales. This program is composed of 22 videos, with associated downloads and worksheets, and takes the average person about 5-6 hours to complete. We recommend doing on step per week over 3 weeks.

The program was designed for both those who are new to foodservice, as well as foodservice veterans to teach and reinforce the fundamentals of approaching this segment. We’ve had interest from people in sales, business development, marketing, across a variety of industries whether they are ingredient or finished goods suppliers, commodity boards, investment groups looking to learn more or even students. I had one veteran salesperson tell me that more than 25% of the program content was brand new to him, and he used the course tactics to earn 4 new projects at a client meeting the week after he took the course!

The program is broken down into 3 simple steps, and as mentioned it’s self-paced. Here’s an overview of the content:

Program Introduction

3 quick videos to get you started and set the stage on what to expect.

  • Watch this First! - An overview of what to expect and how to properly pace yourself for the three steps

  • About your Instructor – A bit about my background and experience, and why it's relevant to what you'll learn.

  • Outline & Objectives – We walk through the program together on the screen, and discuss the outline and objectives.

Step 1: The Fundamentals - Understanding the Foodservice Industry’s Unique Needs

This step consists of 8 videos with summaries and downloads to educate you on the foodservice landscape.

  • Foodservice 101 – An industry overview - This video gives you an overarching view of the industry, how different segments and restaurants are categorized, and why foodservice is important.

  • Reasons National Accounts are Key - This is where we cover the tremendous advantages to selling into the largest national chains. You can use this information to build an internal business case for the resources needed when you target foodservice as a new sector in your business.

  • Why Foodservice is a Different Animal - Here we'll cover why national accounts are a different animal compared to other channels you may be selling in today such as CPG or Industrial.

  • Current challenges facing product development - In this video we'll cover some current and ongoing challenges that are unique to the foodservice industry. It helps to have this perspective as you decide how to approach your target customers.

  • How Products go to Market at Big Chains - This is a basic overview of the go to market process for big chains - how that take an idea from concept to customer. You may be familiar with this process in your own business or other channels, and we'll talk about what is unique to foodservice.

  • The Front and Back End of Supplier Support - The front and back end of supplier support is an important concept to internalize as you decide what type of supplier you will be in foodservice. We cover this idea in outline form here, and go into more detail in the next two videos.

  • Supplier Support Detail - Front End & Back End - These two videos cover the support you can provide at the front end and back end of the innovation to market process in detail with examples.

Step 2: Your Guide - How to Research Your Best Targets

This step consists of 6 videos with summaries, worksheets and downloads on the most efficient way to research your key target companies

  • Understanding a Customer's Brand Strategy and Vision - Do you know your customer's brand strategy and core values? We'll review what a brand strategy is and how to do important research on a target customer with specific examples.

  • Menu Strategy Overview - This segment covers what a menu strategy is, and common ways they're developed and implemented across chain types.

  • The Importance of Limited Time Offers - Often overlooked by newcomers to foodservice, LTO's are a great opportunity to get your foot in the door.

  • Menu Strategy Examples - Download the menu evaluation worksheet and follow along as we share 2 specific examples on how to break down your target chains menu strategy.

  • Restaurant Visits and Product Evaluation - Download the two guides and have them in hand when you watch this video. We'll cover how to do a restaurant visit and evaluate your target customer's products.

  • Wrap up – We’ll take a few minutes to review everything we learned in step 2!

Step 3: Learn how to pitch to them so they say YES!

These three videos and associated downloads are probably the most important part of the program. Several students have told me they watch these multiple times. They will teach you how to define your value differentiation and create a world class presentation to pitch your product at national accounts

  • Value Proposition: Defining Your Unique Points of Differentiation - In this important step we'll take the time to explain what a value proposition is, and show you how to define your companies’ value. We'll give you specific examples, as well as a fun exercise you can do with your team to complete this critical part of the program.

  • Applying Your Products or Services to the Target Account - Now that you can articulate your company value proposition, let's apply that unique offering to what you learned in step 2 about your target. This is where you take what you've learned and the insights you've found to create meaningful and relevant innovation to share.

  • Creating the Perfect Pitch - Putting it all Together - You've learned about foodservice, you've done your homework, you've defined your value, and you've applied that to the account - now it's time to put everything into a compelling presentation to create that perfect pitch!

BONUS - Common Pet Peeves and How to Avoid Them!

This bonus content is a fun and lighthearted look at pet peeves direct from those who work at big chains. I’ll show you how to avoid them!

Wrapping Things Up – At the end of the program, we take a moment to reflect on what you've learned, and how to apply it to Turbocharge Your Foodservice Sales.

A 4 minute video overview of the program is available here, as well as the program overview and a link to purchase. The program investment is $1997, and is well worth it if you even get one product placement at national accounts. If you’re serious about this segment, sign up now and Turbocharge your Foodservice Sales!

Thanks, and please reach out with any questions!


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