Seven Business Practices to Prepare for 2013
I’ve worked with major wine corporations, medium sized privately held companies and tiny, family owned wineries, and while there are many differences between the case volumes sold and the sales channels (distributors, trade and consumers) they ALL share the same need for business practices that guide their respective teams each year. We have now officially entered OND – the fourth and typically most important selling period for the calendar year. There’s not much, if anything, that can be put in place now to change the course of the business trends through the end of the year.
However, now is the time to begin putting in place these SEVEN Business Practices to prepare for 2013:
- An annual sales plan with clearly defined objectives – volume by wine type by channel mapped out with weekly, monthly and quarterly goals. Everyone in the company should be cognizant of the sales plan. Update the numbers in January once the OND results are in.
- A three to five year production forecast with planned release and vintage transition dates. This is essential information when partnering with major accounts for long term placement programs as well as for wine club selections since these smaller amounts can often be overlooked if not projected properly. Whether you grow your own, purchase fruit or bulk wine, you should be securing your future supply options.
- An accessible, online Inventory and depletion management system that captures not only winery inventory but all warehouse and distributor inventories, and a person that stays on top of vintages so that transitions are balanced through all channels including consumer direct sales.
- Update your winery story, give it a fresh voice. Make it a sincerely crafted, emotionally compelling and authentic story about your wine, the people and vineyards behind it, with some entertaining anecdotes about real enjoyment occasions. It should be scripted for winery staff and include soft-selling scenarios and tips to help staff gently and comfortably ask for the order. Engage your team to get real examples of successful sales pitches and anecdotes about how customers have enjoyed the wines. For example "Jill received her engagement ring in a glass of our Sauvignon Blanc."
- Put in place a schedule of regular website updates, that includes access to new fact sheets, accolades, bios, recipes, food pairing tips, blogs, vineyard and winemaking videos. Today it is essential to keep content fresh and accessible from all platforms – smart phones and tablets. Here’s a short list from www.dummies.com on establishing a website update schedule.
- A company-wide calendar that ties to release dates, major winery, industry and consumer events. A fully integrated calendar that is updated in real time can save critical time for sales people setting up trade visits as well as pointing visitors to events at the winery and near their homes. Fortunately, there are now calendar systems available to plug into websites that allow public and private views.
- Branded collateral pieces such as a simple, pocket-sized wine label cards that offer wine list descriptions, food pairing suggestions and the basic winemaking details and statistics – these are great for sales people to use with distributors, restaurants and retailers, as well as for winery visitors and to hand out at tastings.
Schedule time now with the appropriate teams and departments to assign the responsibilities and due dates for these key practices so they are in place by January 1st.