Route to market review

“GSG was able to partner with our team to unlock the insights that has enabled us to increase both our efficiency and effectiveness. Our investment has paid back more than ten fold and enhanced the quality of customer interaction.”
– Andrew McNamara – Sales Director, Brown-Forman Australia

Brown Forman is a diversified producer, wholesaler and distributor of spirits and wines, with notable brands such as Jack Daniels, Southern Comfort and Finlandia Vodka. Brown Forman Australia operates in the spirits market, estimated at approximately $10 billion in retail value, with a market share of 10%.

Brown Forman had recently restructured its sales force and was seeking to review its route to market with a view to developing a sales strategy for sustainable revenue growth. GSG were engaged to review current route to market in order to recommend how it could improve and sustain its performance as one of the most efficient and effective sales force in Australia, with a leadership position for Brown Forman globally.

Identifying opportunities for growth

GSG employed a four-phased approach to this engagement, beginning with an assessment of the market in order to first understand the value of each channel to market and Brown Forman’s current competitive position. Benchmarking the client’s performance against the market allowed for the identification of several growth opportunities for Brown Forman and its brands.

Bringing a customer focus

Once channel opportunities were identified, GSG sought to bring the requirements and key buying factors of the different customers front and centre. Customers operating liquor outlets, for example, have different focuses, clientele and customer value propositions when compared to a high class restaurant, and it was imperative that these be recognised and approached with the appropriate knowledge and skills. Through several customer interviews and comprehensive fieldwork, GSG identified and categorised these differences, allowing for the development of specific sales strategies tailored to the customers’ requirements.

Improving efficiency and effectiveness

The operation of the client’s sales force must therefore necessarily be reflective of this segmented focus, in all aspects, to improve in its efficiency and effectiveness. Current sales force performance was assessed, best practice behaviours identified and a number of improvement options put forward for evaluation. Recommendations covering sales force size, structure, call frequency and support capabilities were developed from this analysis, focused on alleviating existing sales force inefficiencies, and bringing an increased focus on new account acquisition and greater brand penetration.

Positioning for success

The market, channel/customer and sales force assessment activities culminated in the development of a documented strategic sales plan for Brown Forman to position itself for sustainable sales growth through category/channel expertise, and to subsequently restructure, re-align and support the sales force to enable the delivery of this promise to its customers.