How to Grow Sales: Questions you should ask your data and what to do with the answers

Getting product, sales, and customer information into the hands of a supplier rep or broker is getting easier, as the Foodservice industry takes strides to embrace true data collaboration. Now that the data is flowing, what should we be doing with it? Attribytes is helping suppliers answer these common questions, that help suppliers protect their business and drive growth.

In order to leverage BIG DATA you need to THINK SMALL

Suppliers have access to more data than they can shake a stick at. Sales by cases, dollars, pounds, by customer, by sales segment, by sales area, by division or branch… but wait, there’s more! Sales by sales rep, lost sales reports, customer voids, distribution voids, cross-sell/up-sell opportunities. Need I go on?

Big data is great, but there is one problem: IT’S BIG! Gigantic sets of information can be paralyzing, especially for local support teams, who are constantly putting out fire after fire. To narrow the focus – and really get the most out of your data – start with these basic questions each month.

“Which are my top-5 selling areas and what are my bottom-5 selling areas?”

Seems simple enough. However, if you find yourself pouring over data related to ALL sales areas and ALL product groups, you will find yourself getting lost.

When suppliers instead target top and bottom selling areas within each distribution center, they can keep their finger on the pulse of what’s happening, and on where their immediate focus should be. Once you understand these main areas you know in which sales regions the top-selling reps are continuing to drive growth, and should be top-of-mind for any imminent sales initiatives.

Conversely, the bottom selling areas should be in constant evolution: as you work with brokers and district sales teams, you should see shifts in product groups or areas that need focus. Tap these teams on the shoulder and let them know you are there for support. For those that are declining, maybe schedule a training session at their next meeting, or a complete a ride along for a day. Remember, you are not their only focus, and you need to be bringing value.

“Which are my 10 largest lost accounts and which are my 20 medium-sized lost accounts?”

There will always be lost accounts. It’s OK. You can’t save them all! What you can do is protect your business by taking appropriate action in a timely manner. Every month, get answers on the top 10 accounts by volume. Why did we lose the?! Then get answers on the larger subset that are not as big – but equally important!

Note: I said GET ANSWERS! All too often local reps and brokers do the research and move on to the next thing without letting the rest of the supplier or distributor teams know the specific reason the account was lost . Getting answers to these questions will help your analysts provide more intelligent data when you ask for it the next month. And – importantly – getting answers will also help your team better eliminate the root cause of the churn.

“Based on the products I want to sell, which are my 3 biggest opportunities customer segment?”

Getting your hands on a distributor’s customer segment information is critical to how every DSR and Broker is being tasked with approaching customers. Getting aligned with the distributor’s customer segment focus means that a broker or DSR can walk into a customer with a basket of materials that make sense to sell alongside yours, increasing the likelihood of sale!

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