Many food manufacturers face challenges with getting their products on supermarket shelves, and for a variety of reasons. Even with a strong internal sales team, obstacles may stand in the way. The good news is, often, a retail food broker can help clear some of these hurdles.
In this post, our Director of Sales Gary Royal shares five signs that a manufacturer is ready to hire a retail food broker.
1. You’re expanding into a new territory where you have no contacts
Even manufacturers led by industry veterans may need help expanding into new geographic territories when it’s time to go national.
“You might be comfortable with your existing market and contacts,” said Gary. “But as you expand outside of that, you may not know who to call or what’s expected and required at retailers in other areas of the country.”
Regional food brokers, like Bay Food Brokerage, are regularly calling on the retailers in their particular market. A food manufacturer can tap into those relationships and learn more about the market through their retail food broker.
2. You’re launching a product in an unfamiliar category
Even manufacturers with products on retail shelves may need additional help when launching in a new category.
“Let’s say you have a coffee product that has strong retail distribution,” Gary said. “That doesn’t mean you can apply the same strategy and contact the same buyers to get your new ice cream product in stores.”
The right retail food broker partner will have relationships with retailers’ buyers in all categories. They’ll also know the retailers’ review processes and how best to plan and prepare for them.
3. Your in-house sales team is struggling to manage all their retailers
If your internal team is having trouble keeping up with all their retailers, a retail food broker can help make the workload more manageable.
“Many of the regional sales managers we work with manage 10 to 20 retailers,” Gary said. “If they’re able to give us, say, seven in the Southeast to manage on their behalf, it lightens their load. Then they only have to communicate with us for all updates, instead of seven separate retail contacts.”
The right retail food broker partner can be an extension of the in-house sales team.
4. You need support at the store level
Even manufacturers with strong capabilities at the corporate level of retailers could use boots on the ground at the stores.
“Sometimes manufacturers just need part-time merchandising help or execution of special projects at the store level,” Gary said. “A retail food broker can be that local presence for the brand, even if they have a dedicated in-house sales team for those accounts.”
At Bay Food Brokerage, we maximize in-store opportunities for products to be seen and purchased in stores. This includes special retail projects, such as surveys, couponing and photo opportunities.
5. Your emerging brand is ready to go national
“If you’re a new company and running lean, you may not have a lot of capital to invest in additional sales people or paying a brokerage commission,” Gary said. “So, emerging brands may keep the sales team in house – until they have experienced a certain level of growth where it makes sense for a broker to act as their sales arm.”
Emerging brands that have the expanded to the point of launching a national expansion can leverage a retail food broker to catapult growth. Market knowledge, relationships and experience are just a few of the benefits the right broker partner can bring to the table.
So, if your manufacturing company is experiencing any of these signs, it might be time to hire a retail food broker. Contact us today to learn more.