Market visits can be the most exhausting part of a wine rep’s job. They take time to prepare, traveling itself can be tiring and if your distributor rep isn’t prepared it can be mentally and emotionally exhausting. And, above all, it’s always expensive. Getting the most out of market visits is crucial to successful distributor management, and to the health of your budget.
Ten years ago, when my family lived in Chicago, my husband ran Printer’s Row Restaurant just south of The Loop. As the GM of a well-respected, white-tablecloth, fine-dining clubby bastion close to McCormick Place, Phil was in the enviable position of hosting tastings and winemaker dinners with some regularity. Distributors sent only their best salesmen to him, and he meted out wine list placements judiciously. Frequently, distributor reps would bring in a winery salesman to meet the wholesaler’s A-list account, and they would basically all congratulate one another on having jobs that allowed them to taste wine at 10 in the morning.
But that was then. Market visits have taken on an import that can scarcely be quantified. In today’s post-recession landscape, budgets have shrunk and any rep worth his or her salt would weigh the value of calling on an A-list account when there are so many more that might be buoyed up by some face-time. Furthermore, there’s the niggling question of whether your distributor sales rep is just squiring you around to a few accounts before promptly forgetting every promise made and follow-up call scheduled.
Having access to account-level depletion data means you don’t have to wonder if the accounts you visited bought your wine. You can see who has been sampled, and who picked up their order. The money you spend in the market is money that goes directly to sales, and no dollar is wasted.
The account-level depletion data we provide via our DarWine application and custom distributor data collection means you are monitoring your distributor sales reps, keeping track of inventory, checking for lost or new accounts, and working from a position of knowledge and strength rather than in a vacuum. But even if you don’t use DarWine, getting this data from your distributor is crucial to your continued success.