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12 Things We Learned from Trade Spend Experts


A much-anticipated agenda item for Smoke Jumpers XVI was the discussion table segment.

Topics were led by trade spend management experts from customer companies and partners:

  • Trade Effectiveness & Buying Group Promotions
  • Strategies for Commodity Proteins
  • Budgeting Best Practices
  • Category Management Negotiations


Read below for the top three takeaways from each conversation.


Trade Effectiveness: Buying Group Promotions
Himanshu Deoskar, Conagra Foods

Himanshu Conagra


  1. Quantitatively analyze the performance of trade promotions and ascertain if the trade promotions truly generate positive ROI for the business.
  2. Build an evaluation methodology to estimate true incrementality for each promotion and work with sales to understand anomalies (like competitive promotions with similar price points running in the same market). Improvements can be made with data points spanning 18-24 months.
  3. Blacksmith Applications trade promotion software allows companies to have a deeper understanding of trade spend with all existing programs. The TPM facilitates fast and large data pulls, making complex analyses possible.



Price Discovery, Market Analysis & Negotiating Strategies for Commodity Proteins
Russ Whitman, Urner Barry


  1. Successful and effective negotiating strategies can be implemented through comprehensive price discovery and analysis of the commodity protein markets.
  2. Supply and demand, seasonality and other external influences dictate the extent to which price discovery is conducted.
  3. Protein processors and manufacturers need (or use) a trade application that stores market price changes, provides exact margin analysis and facilitates better budget planning.


Read More: 3 Questions to Ask when Choosing a TPM Solution for Your Protein Business



Budgets: Best Practices & Implementations
Gina Schupanitz, General Mills


  1. Empower your sales team to have full control over their budgets. Use variable, fixed and accrual budgets depending on the business need. With accrual budgets, sales volume creates the budget.
  2. Creating guidelines and guardrails for sales to stay within authorized spending makes it simple to track budgets, committed and actual dollars at any point throughout the year.
  3. Most companies are using offline trackers to handle their budgets and wish they implemented budgeting from the beginning with their trade application.

Watch the webinar: Budgeting in TPM with General Mills



Sysco CatMan Negotiation
Amy Clark & Ann Perry, J.R. Simplot

JR Simplot, Sysco CatMan


  1. Negotiate! Clearly define your agreement and remember that everything is negotiable.
  2. Long-term agreements allow for strategic planning and operational excellence. Deviated programs often cause invalid deductions – resulting in additional administrative costs to gain recovery.
  3. Trade promotion management tools help companies deal with the complex reality of billbacks.