In the fast-moving beverage space, significant challenges impacted brands worldwide, forcing them to reconsider how they approach fieldwork. However, Nutrabolt’s VP of Global Sales Capability, Hagen Panton, saw an opportunity – and instead decided to lean in and expand their field team quickly.
In a recent webinar panel hosted by Repsly, Panton discussed his approach to growing Nutrabolt’s brand in retail, including the importance of having a field team, optimizing routes, measuring rep productivity, and constantly innovating with incentives to keep reps motivated. The panel also discussed the challenges and opportunities of working in the fast-moving beverage space, especially in a post-pandemic landscape.
In Panton’s perspective, the pandemic forced brands to either pull back or lean in, and Nutrabolt chose to lean in. The company expanded its field team very quickly through the pandemic for its beverage side of the business. However, Panton notes that there is a labor shortage in the industry, and many companies are still struggling to catch up with hiring.
Panton discussed how Nutrabolt uses incentives to drive the right behavior. He believes that incentives create a competitive environment that motivates team members to swim as a school rather than just swim wherever they want. He cited the example of a contest against an upcoming retailer with $100,000 in prizes in 60 days. Panton believes that using big dollars to incentivize the right behaviors is critical to driving sales and winning in a competitive market.
Panton also emphasizes the importance of having a field team who lean into brand presence and control in stores by building displays, and not just depending on partners to do it for you. He believes that every brand should revisit its approach every few years and become more efficient. For Nutrabolt, this meant getting back to the basics, doing more with less, and optimizing routes to reduce costs.
To measure the productivity of its reps, Nutrabolt uses Repsly to track cases sold, number of off-shelf placements, and other key health metrics. As Nutrabolt added more reps, it was able to show how each rep became more efficient, hitting more stores and building a higher percentage of displays. Panton believes that it's crucial to measure the performance of each rep and make sure they are performing at the maximum level, while driving less.
Panton Panton also shared some exciting data from their dashboard. According to Panton, Nutrabolt has seen a 98 percent increase in sales from the stores that their reps have visited since the beginning of 2022. This data is based on actual sales data from the cash register, which measures the impact of reps' visited stores, against non-visited stores. Panton believes that this increase in sales is a testament to the effectiveness and differentiation of having a field team. He asks rhetorically, "Would you have a field team if you knew you had a 98 percent lift?" and answers his own question with a resounding "Yes!"
Later in the panel, Panton emphasized the importance of inspecting what you expect. He shared an example of a half-full cooler that a rep spotted during a store visit. The rep took pictures and reported it to the distributor, but it turned out that the distributor didn't even know that they serviced that county. This oversight resulted in the discovery of more points of distribution and more stores. Panton stressed that managers must inspect what they expect and coach and mentor their team to ensure that the plan is being executed effectively.
Panton believes that being a young and growing company that uses incentives and fosters a competitive spirit is key to winning in a crowded beverage marketplace. Nutrabolt’s success in growing 10 times in 10 quarters with Repsly is a testament to the effectiveness of this approach.
Panton’s experience provides valuable information for brands in the fast-moving beverage space, especially during these competitive times. It's crucial to lean in, be efficient, optimize your team’s focus, and measure the productivity of reps. By doing so, companies can stay ahead of the pack and continue to grow in this dynamic industry.
The retail industry is constantly evolving, and staying ahead of the competition requires a strategic approach and a willingness to adapt to changing consumer behaviors and market trends. Watch Repsly's on-demand webinar now on "Urgent Advice Your Brand Needs Today To Achieve Retail Success" to hear insights from other top industry leaders from The Good Crisp and Nutrabolt on how to gain valuable insights from experts on the challenges brands like yours are facing every day at retail.