Going to market as a food manufacturer is an exciting opportunity that doesn’t come without risk. Once a brand is ready to launch, there are many serious decisions yet to be made. The most important decision of all, is finding a trusted food broker to elevate the brand’s visibility in territory and distribution, while ensuring consistent sales and revenue growth. Convenience store and grocery manufacturers may consider this a daunting task, so let’s break down the process step-by-step. Lastly, we’ll conclude with the number one consideration to keep in mind before hiring a food broker.
Consider the following:
Are you targeting a new territory?
First, when evaluating prospective food brokers it’s essential to ensure their reach within your targeted territory. Ask about relationships with distributors, suppliers, wholesalers, and retailers. Request information regarding their community involvement and reputation within the targeted region. If possible ask to speak with a few different sales team members to get a firm grasp on the company’s culture and values. Never underestimate the quality of interpersonal relationships when entrusting brand representation with a new broker in uncharted territory.
Can you benefit from a network of existing relationships with retailers?
Always visit company websites to determine the quality of relationships with retailers. Food brokers with strong rapport will prominently recognize relationships with retailers and partners on their website. Evaluate retail brands and determine whether the relationships are suited to targets within your demographic and geographic range.
Do you need merchandising support?
Established food brokers will have experience in merchandising and will support manufacturers with planogram implementation and compliance, visibility, and project support.
Have you completed an in-depth market analysis?
Retail analytics, strategic planning, and optimization are in the toolkit of any credible food broker. A quality food broker will support the vision of your brand and conduct in-depth research to narrow any gaps, and identify optimal sales, distribution, and growth opportunities for clients.
Do you have a strategic business plan with well-defined goals?
Strategic sales consulting is an added benefit of hiring a seasoned food broker. The ideal food broker will have a well-established network to influence brand awareness, secure strategic shelf space, and optimize promotional activities. Developing and executing customized business plans will ensure the tracking and monitoring of sales metrics to measure long-term growth over time.
What kind of visibility are you looking for?
If you’re looking for marketing and promotional opportunities, be sure to ask this question up front. Established food brokers will not shy away from providing added services that include retail and wholesale promotions, trade show representation, and content marketing opportunities.
Does your team have a business process management strategy?
If your organization has a need for administrative support, make this request a top-level concern. Providing clients with end-to-end business process management ensures alignment of critical business objectives, including billing and invoicing, data management, order fulfillment, and claims resolution.
Finally, once you’ve done your research and have narrowed your food broker candidates down to top candidates, the number one consideration before hiring a food broker is:
“May I contact your existing clients for reference?”
There is no better reference than a satisfied client. Reputable food brokers should be pleased to offer client references without hesitation.
“The Align Sales Group has been a true Sales Partner with EA Sween, representing us throughout the Midwest for 10 years. Bryan, Amanda and their team were an integral part of our successful DSD to Wholesale transition in 2019 through 2021. Ultimately, their representation and ability to support our Sales Managers has been key in growing our Deli Express, Market Brands and San Luis product lines throughout the Midwest. Their professionalism and healthy representation throughout all their geographic markets, is second to none!”
Lara Gallistel, VP of Convenience & Vending
Align Sales Group has excellent communication when it comes to executing and delivering sales goals and objectives. They go above and beyond for Cheyenne International to ensure the customers needs are met and exceeded. They play a very important role in maintaining and growing our business.
David Brinkley, Regional Manager
Learn more about how Align Sales Group can support your brand in achieving maximum sales growth by contacting our sales team today. Let’s connect!