Mastering Food Broker Metrics and Staying “Top of Mind”

Last week, I received an excellent email from a reader, inquiring about the metrics used to monitor food brokers and sales performance, as well as how to maintain that critical “top of mind” position.

Two Pillars of Food Broker Success: Broker Accountability and Being “Top of Mind”

The question regarding the broker effectiveness reveals two distinct areas: the accountability of the broker and region manager via a scorecard and KPI’s and the concept of “top of mind.” Understanding that these are separate but essential activities is vital.

The Broker Scorecard: This is indispensable in managing the broker.
Top of Mind: This manifests through actions and interactions between the region manager and the broker.

Below, I’ll offer my insights on these two crucial concepts.

Managing Food Brokers

Managing brokers begins during the contracting phase. Listing their market in terms of buyers and account expectations—as opposed to simply regions or geography—sets the stage for review and scorecard creation.

The Broker Scorecard: An Overview

Here’s a glance at what a broker scorecard might contain:

Review by Account: Volume, Distribution, Promotions, Retails, Key Objectives, Key Account Calls
Sales vs. Quota: Year, Quota, Sales, % Quota
Shipments: Year, Units, % Change vs. Year Ago
Share of Market: %, % Change vs. Year Ago
Shipment and Share Trends By Category: Various analyses
Comparison of Market Development by Product Category: A year-on-year assessment
Sales Rankings: Including Dollar Sales Rank by Item and Unit Sales Rank by Item
Dollar Sales by Category Line: $ Sales, % of Sales

The Internal Sales Team Scorecard

In addition to broker metrics, internal teams are more effective when they keep track of their performance. These include:

Dollar Sales by Channel/Trade Class
Sales by Geographic Area: Various breakdowns
Dollar Sales and Unit Volume by Top 25 Accounts

The USA markets may be divided into regions, divisions, and states, facilitating population-based sales index comparisons. For ease, align your regions and divisions against the already grouped US Census regions and divisions. This organization allows for more accurate and standardized comparisons, ensuring that your analyses are in line with available census counts.

Channel Responsibility

The internal team is tasked with specific channel strategy, such as:

Fresh, Gourmet, and Organic Retailers
Traditional Grocery
Mass, Club Store
Drug Chains, Military, Dollar Stores
Online and Television (QVC)

A Story That Illuminates the Process

Let’s look at a real-life example. Consider a food broker, Jane, working with a new brand. Using the broker scorecard, her performance was evaluated meticulously across various parameters. She met her quotas and even exceeded expectations in certain categories. However, she wasn’t making all of her key account calls.

The region manager, seeing this, chose to focus on the “top of mind” aspect of his relationship with Jane. He met with her, identified opportunities for growth, and collaboratively developed a Thrive! Plan.

Six months later, Jane’s key account calls improved by 30%, and the new brand started to gain traction in a couple of new major retail chains. The combination of a well-designed broker scorecard and being “top of mind” led to collaborative success.

Becoming “Top of Mind”

In my Thrive! Preferred Principal Workshop, I teach the process used by the world’s leading food brands to achieve collaborative market success. These principles include:

Broker Penetration
Business Analysis
Identifying Opportunities
Establishing Objectives
Determining Root Causes
Negotiating and Gaining Commitment
Developing Thrive! Plans

Conclusion: “Let’s Thrive Together”

The monitoring and scoring of broker performance, alongside the actions and methods used to manage brokers, are crucial parts of working with brokers. Remember, the “top of mind” doesn’t just occur with reports and metrics; it’s something cultivated through mindful management.

If you have any additional questions or need further assistance, please reach out or leave a note below. I also provide group workshops on broker management, along with market growth assistance.

Who is Tim“Hi I’m Tim, and I love the food business! I’ve been helping large and small companies and entrepreneurs achieve success for decades. My consulting projects have contributed to major successes for my clients, including many with 100%+ year-over-year growth rates. I enjoy sharing my expertise, and hope you find these blog posts enlightening. Please reach out to me with any questions or comments.”

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