In today’s issue, I’ll share my experience and insights about what happens to your sales and to your brand's P&L when you start selling to more average bars.
By adopting this approach, you’ll spend time better. You’ll likely increase your distribution while growing your rate of sale.
Unfortunately, most people think that only cool outlets can build brands. They fear that widening distribution to more standard venues will ruin their brand's image and they refuse to grasp opportunities. That's a big mistake.
They forget that the consumers that only go to the world's best bars and cool restaurants all the time are just a handful in each city. Most people are normal consumers that want to trade up, enjoy premium products sometimes and use more mainstream products most days. There are many so-called "premium consumers" that visit normal, average bars and look for some trade-up option.
When I started in sales, I did the same mistake. I came from marketing and I only wanted to focus on cool outlets. I remember not wanting to let my brand be sold in average bars as it would alienate those trendy consumers that were buying my product.
Of course, every salesperson prefers to hang out in a cool bar than in an average bar. It's human. But if you get their targets and KPIs right, it's easy to change your opinion.
I also soon realized that my brand was growing at a much slower pace than it could and I was sitting on a huge opportunity that I had not seen before.
I decided to grow distribution in the outlets that resonated with the brand's commercial proposition and occasion but that were more average. Those outlets wanted the brand, were able to afford it and they were pushing sales to drive their margins.
• Target Occasion: how does your core occasion fit with theirs? If your occasion is a "shot", a fine dining venue won't be right for you, even if it's on all the guides as the best place in town.
• Commercial Proposition: what's your purpose, what values does your brand represent? How would you translate your brand positioning into 3 types of outlets? Those are the outlets where your brand would perfectly fit their drinks range.
It's not about how cool a bar is but about if the bar to which you "sell in" will manage to "sell out" your product.
The most successful brands are the ones that manage to grow their distribution while also growing their rate of sale. They widen the distribution when they feel there is traction and not only because they have a strong Route-to -Market to make it happen.
After their first moves in the market, selling 1 bottle to 1 bar, they understand they need to focus on those bars buying and selling 1 case.
This may sound like a chicken-and-egg dilemma but it is actually the secret sauce to growth. This is not only better from a marketing and sales perspective but also from a logistics one. No wholesaler will want to make all those small deliveries so the more customers you have that sell a reasonable amount, the better.