Supply chain management, marketing, and sales are the cornerstones to any CPG business. Nobody knows this better than Dan Morad of Critical Mass Group, a startup founder and beverage industry expert.
Dan started his own beverage company, Invigorade, about five years ago. He quickly realized how hard it can be to juggle managing, selling, and marketing all at once. After selling Invigorade, Dan founded Critical Mass Group, a partnership of industry experts that helps CPG brands like his own optimize their supply chain management, marketing and sales.Many of the brands Dan works with at Critical Mass Group are in the DSD (Direct Store Delivery) environment, meaning they bypass third parties like wholesalers or retail distributors. While this allows companies to have more control over their product and take charge of their supply chain, it also adds a substantial amount of extra work, which can be tough for smaller companies to take on.
We had a chance to chat with Dan at our Power Hour event at Expo East, and he shared with us the keys to his success in the industry, his single most important piece of advice, and even his favorite new brand. Check out our coversation in the video below!
Key 1: Back Office Support
Dan says of the challenges faced by CPG companies that “to operate in a DSD environment with field sales reps takes a lot of management and back office support [for reps] to be efficient in their roles -- and that’s where Repsly comes in.”
Especially with DSD businesses, management and back office support are paramount to success. If your sales team is still fumbling around with written forms and countless Excel data sheets, it may be time to consider other options.
Using a mobile CRM tool is what works best for Dan -- he is able to monitor field activity from the office, and receive seamless, real time information from his reps. In the fast moving category of consumer goods, keeping data organized and having that direct connection between reps and their managers is a major key.
Key 2: Channel Selection
While Dan works with a lot of DSD companies, there are many other distribution channel options out there. For businesses in smaller geographic areas or that move high volumes of perishable goods, DSD might be the best option. Brands that sell nationally or carry products with a longer shelf life may be better off going with a 3-tier distribution system and utilizing a distributor. Doing the research to decide which strategy is best for your company is critical to success.
Key 3: Geography
As far as geography goes, Dan suggested it’s best to “go an inch wide and a mile deep.” When companies try to capture market share in a wide range of locations at once, they can often fail to make a strong, sustainable impact in any one place. It is best to focus on one small geographic region at a time, and put massive effort into building your brand presence there. Developing retailer and customer relationships in one region will give you more credibility when you decide to expand into others.
Key 4: Shelf Placement
We all know that shelf placement is important, but this is even more so for the food and beverage industry. Having strong retailer relationships can help you get more shelf space and better placement, essential to making sales and increasing brand recognition. These close ties will also benefit you if you have to negotiate slotting fees.
Bonus! What Is Your Favorite New Product?
Dan was quick with his answer: Goldthread Herbal Tonics. "They have a portfolio of whole herb beverages that I think is going to be the next big thing!" Check out Goldthread below!
#MeetTheIngredients: Lavender Blossom! 🌿🌿 One of the potent ingredients in our #Clarity tonic. Did you know? Lavender has been used to help fight anxiety, insomnia, depression, and restlessness. This tonic is a great choice to support your mental focus and clarity when working, studying, or simply be-ing. #DrinkHealth #GoldthreadHerbs
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Melissa is a Content Marketing Intern at Repsly, Inc. and is currently studying International Affairs, Environmental Studies, and Law at Northeastern University. She loves the opportunity Repsly provides her to help some of her favorite brands grow by creating quality content. Outside of work, Melissa enjoys practicing yoga, making music, and anything dog-related. She has traveled to multiple countries in Latin America to work on reforestation and agriculture projects, and uses her marketing and advocacy skills to try to make the world a better place.