CHICAGO (July 12, 2010)—On the second day of the joint IFDA/IFMA Sales and Marketing Conference the audience heard a response to the previous day’s message that distributors and manufacturers don’t trust one another, with real world examples of partnerships between the two groups.
In a presentation from McCain Foods and Martin Brothers Distributing, Paul Gere, senior director of customer marketing at McCain, laid out the process by which the two organizations formed, what he called a “next level partnership.”
Step one: Meeting
Gere explained that before anything can happen the two parties have to understand what each others goals are and what each hopes to accomplish through the partnership.
Step two: Data collection and analysis
“Neither company knows it all,” said Gere. “But between us we’ve got all the pieces.” So the next step involves gathering data each party has, organizing it and analyzing it. In their case, McCain and Martin Brothers brought in a third party technology provider, Tilbury, to organize data.
Step three: Assessment
Next, understand the marketplace. Through shared data, McCain and Martin Brothers concluded what appetizers should be marketed, what operators were best to target and quantified the “size of the prize.”
Step 4: Step back
“At this point, most people say, ‘Alright, let’s go sell! But we didn’t,” said Gere. Instead the partners went through an elaborate preparation and evaluation process. “We wanted to learn what ‘best’ [selling practices] looked like,” he said. So they did “pre-call prep,” offering training and support tools and defining the metrics of successful calls. Next, they worked on broker buy in. Only after that is done do actual calls get made. And then, importantly, is a postmortem to review what worked and what didn’t work in the real world.
Step 5 and 6: Launch and review
McCain and Martin Brothers are currently at the launch phase of their partnership. “We are in a true collaboration,” said Gere.