Thursday, May 5, 2011

Would you hand a hot piece of iron to a distributor?

Salespeople sell. Sales managers want salespeople to sell. It's in their DNA. Selling more wine can ultimately solve all problems. So why would anyone want to deal with "branding"? Simply put-the strength of your portfolio is often determined by how well your wines are branded. The success of many distributors is built by their branding efforts. Branding is the image and perception that you influence. Distributors have input into the packaging or language on the label, but the guerrilla branding is done by the distributor. The accounts you sell to, the way the wines are displayed. The waiters and clerks that sell to the end-user, and their training. This all helps or hurts your brands. Taking the time to execute this well is the most important thing a distributor can do for the long term health of a winery.

So why is it seemingly so hard to execute? Reread the first line of this post. Branding slows down sales. Branding can get in the way of a commission check. Salespeople, by culture (Pavlov's dog. Higher sales=bigger check=conditioning) are single minded, you probably can't change this. Frankly-you probably shouldn't change this. While writing this I keep seeing images from "One flew over the cuckoo's nest" for some reason. In order to brand a winery, someone, with authority, needs to devise a branding strategy, and set a road map for salespeople to execute while increasing sales. There is a nimble balance, but at the end of the day, it adds value to the portfolio and long term brand equity. Your wineries will thank you for taking the time to do this.

1 comment:

  1. Branding is your reputation. Sales is your livelihood. A good salesperson, not only has to be in the right place at the right time, but also have the right product. Branding aside, if your buyer doesn't need a cabernet, they're not going to buy a cabernet, no matter how good or how well branded. Tastes and needs change constantly. A buyer is faced with a multitude of options every day. Branding can be a distraction if a sales person prefers to only sell something with a fancy bottle and high ratings because they may over look the true needs of the person(s) that they are selling to. It is better to brand yourself as a reputable salesperson then be an ambassador of branded items.