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How to Build a Brewery Sales Team

04/12/2014


All too often as brewers open up, many of the decisions made with the aim of creating a successful sales team seem haphazard, at best.

The brewery industry has changed significantly in the last 20 years and is continually evolving. Sales used to be based on relationships only – but customers are now demanding more than ever from your sales team. Selecting and building your sales team is an essential part of your brewery’s long-term success. Below are five tips to help you build an effective brewery sales team.

1. Create a Sales Plan

A sales plan is an evolution of your vision and mission statement. It should be an extension of your products and encompass ethics, morals and a clear strategy. Your plan should list what your expectations are of each person who is representing your brand, including call planning, sales tactics, tools and compensation plans. The brewing industry is dynamic and a valuable salesperson will increase profitability and open up channels of distribution.

2. Look For and Develop Great Sales People

Great sales people are not born, they are created. This means you can’t rely solely on a great personality. You need to implement training programs to prepare your staff members and create an organization that thrives on success. In this day and age, craft beer is a hot commodity. Assuming you are entitled to a listing or shelf space just because you are part of this sector is flawed.

Since new styles and flavours are constantly being introduced, brewers are now being challenged on creating unique selling propositions (USPs) that help define who they are. Your salesperson needs to understand and reflect your USP.

3. Hire the Right Sales People

Although it’s important to find the right salesperson, it shouldn’t be looked at as an impossible task. Given that the brewing industry is growing in leaps and bounds, there are plenty of people out there with relevant sales experience. Ideally, your sales people should exhibit some or all of the following characteristics:

  • Outgoing
  • Organized and able to create a call schedule
  • Interested in continuous learning
  • Able to articulate the key characteristics of your brand
  • An understanding of the industry (retail and on-premise)
  • A history of being able to achieve results

If you’re concerned about the cost of hiring a sales team, a number of government grants are available to potentially help fund your hiring.

4. Retain Your Sales Team

Once you’ve hired a great sales team, it’s up to you to provide incentives for them to stay. Make sure you are creating opportunities for growth and development for each of your sales team members. This includes educational programming, personal development and portfolio growth. It’s also great to get them involved in the business to make them feel more invested in what you’re doing – ask for their input on the brewery’s business goals and objectives.

Take the time to handpick your sales team. Remember, they are the face of your business.