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Support for AFDR Increases, New DSR Training Tool Offered

Now in its third year of existence, the association also announced it has launched a new online tool that makes it easy for manufacturers to reach and teach distributor sales representatives (DSRs) about their products.

Tyson, the founding sponsor of AFDR, renewed its partnership for a third consecutive year. Lamb Weston, King & Prince and Sara Lee are also now in their third consecutive years of partnership with AFDR. Foodservice Rewards, General Mills, Rich Products Corporation and Upper Crust all became AFDR partners this year. Also, Ideal Media, publisher of ID Access, Restaurant Business and FoodService Director, and research firm Technomic recently formed strategic alliances with AFDR, enabling the organizations to share content and resources with the association.

AFDR’s registered member base has also grown to more than 3,000 sales reps, with support from more than 400 leading distributors, including Martin Bros. Distributing Company, Ben E. Keith Foods, Buchy Foodservice, Costa Fruit & Produce Company, Food Services of America, Gordon Food Service, J. Kings Foodservice Professionals, Performance Food Group, Saval Foods, Sysco Corp., U.S. Foodservice and Zanios Foods. AFDR has also established relationships with thousands of other distributor sales reps and broker sales reps through its national network.

The expanding list of sponsors, members and partners represents AFDR’s largest base of support in its existence and comes at a time when foodservice manufacturers are seeking new and innovative ways to ensure that DSRs, who influence more than 70 percent of operator buying decisions, are fully trained on their products.

New DSR Smart Training Tool
To make it easy for manufacturers to quickly and cost-effectively reach and teach thousands of DSRs on virtually any product or promotion, AFDR is introducing a new online training tool called DSR Smart. The program enables companies to use a short, show-and-tell-style training video on a private channel to engage and train DSRs -- and then immediately measure their participation and knowledge retention using a simple quiz. The service goes live May 25, 2009, according to AFDR.

Companies can also include a small cash reward to motivate timely participation among sales reps and pass-along to other DSRs, thereby quickly reaching and engaging DSRs across the country. DSRs can use the DSR Smart system from virtually any internet-enabled computer at any time, 24/7.

Several foodservice companies, including General Mills, Sara Lee, and Upper Crust, have piloted the system with great success, says Todd Hauser, president of AFDR and a $10 million DSR with Martin Bros. Distributing Co. “AFDR is providing its business partners with real, measureable value through access and valuable training to thousands of DSRs who influence billions of dollars in sales every year,” he says “Now, more than ever, companies need to ensure that DSRs are well trained and fully versed on their products to maximize every sales opportunity. AFDR and its DSR Smart tool are enabling companies to do that.”

AFDR is the only national, professional, non-profit association for foodservice distributor sales representatives (DSRs), marketing associates (MAs) and territory managers (TMs), with more than 3,000 registered members and access to thousands of additional DSRs through its national network. AFDR’s volunteer Board of Directors is comprised of top-performing DSRs from leading distribution companies.

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