In this blog, we’ll learn how Pilgrim’s is leveraging tools and technology to improve its sales enablement approach.
Sales enablement is a strategic initiative to build opportunities, identify sales gaps, understand the marketplace, and support business goals. Foodservice manufacturers are turning to sales enablement solutions as an effective way to equip salespeople with the tools they need to work efficiently and drive revenue.
A sales enablement solution provides all-encompassing support to sales through process, technology, content, and training. These resources help sales teams engage their target buyers and ultimately increase revenue.
Research from Aberdeen says that 40% of respondents practice technology-based sales enablement. 75% of companies using sales enablement software reported higher sales in the past 12 months, with nearly 40% reporting growth of 25%+.
Pilgrim’s is committed to embracing new tools and technologies to give its team competitive advantages; extending its resources through foodservice sales enablement and an effective go-to-market strategy. It wouldn’t be an overstatement to say technology is at the cornerstone of what Pilgrim’s is doing as a company.
“It’s all about getting more value from the data,” says Bryon Trauscht, Sr. Director – Trade & Sales Ops / Foodservice for Pilgrim’s. “We continue making investments to drive process improvements,” he adds.
Pilgrim’s has implemented Blacksmith Sales Enablement – a solution that provides aggregated data dashboards – enhancing the way the company manages buyer interactions.
Watch Bryon Trauscht of Pilgrim’s chat with Blacksmith’s Nikki Sendlak about operator-centric go-to-market strategies:
Beyond the Fundamentals
When Bryon joined Pilgrim’s back in 2019, he was focused on strategic account management, mainly working with national chains. He explains, “As our team expanded, our roles evolved with the strategy.” That account management role evolved into a trade and sales operations approach. To achieve results, his team focuses on driving value for operator and distributor partners. That’s where Pilgrim’s sees growth and that’s how it takes the foodservice business to the next level.
Before Pilgrim’s implemented Blacksmith Sales Enablement software, their sales strategy relied on “basic blocking and tackling fundamentals,” notes Bryon. “As a company, I think we’ve done a good job at historically providing performance and insights and even whitespace and voids – at the distributor level. That said, the process was extremely manual; spreadsheets, SharePoint. You’ve got to be on your computer to see the data. That takes a lot of non-value added time away from our team. And, fundamentally, we want the sales team in front of customers – identifying their needs, driving value – not spending hours reporting.”
Trade and Sales Operations Team
- Trade strategy
- Sales enablement
According to Seismic, 80% of companies feel their cross-functional team collaboration is informal or non-existent. Foodservice trade and sales teams know that you touch every channel within the foodservice business; working with:
- The street team and independent distributors who are working with our corporates account team
- Region and national chain teams
- School teams – both K-12 and all education
- Contract management group
- Finance & Marketing leadership
- Misc. cross-functional team members
For Pilgrim’s, at the core of implementing sales enablement software was the ability to help the sales team be more effective. Effectiveness means a better understanding of business; insights can be seen on-demand. With more insights, the team can take better care of their customers and drive growth for its brand.
… and the results from investing in technology like Blacksmith Sales Enablement are exciting. ⇩
Technology brings significant value. Sales enablement software is a powerful, singular place for your sales team or brokers to focus. Strong sales start with technology:
- Automating inbound feeds from all core data sets
- Cleaning and harmonizing master data
- Building expanded visibility and display for each team
And, all those divisions the trade and sales ops team works with required data in different formats; they care about different answers.
Pilgrim’s now sees information by:
- Pace / Benchmarks
- Visibility / Timeframes
- Hierarchy Views
Using this solution, Pilgrim’s can easily see how teams are expected to finish the year based on how they’re performing relative to their target(s). Through Blacksmith Sales Enablement, the Pilgrim’s sales team identifies its largest targets that will lead them to achieve the plan. The tool enables salespeople to close gaps by identifying under and overperforming markets, all the way down to the product level.
“We always have GDSN linked so we always have up-to-date specifications and factsheets available. Simple things like this make our team more effective – at home and on the road,” he says.
For Bryon, the conversation is always: How we can drive more value to achieve strong results for our business?
Leveraging the sales enablement tool with Blacksmith TPM shows trade data and customer data sets together in a more visual way. It allows additional customization for the books of business Pilgrim’s team members manage. At the end of the day, Bryon says the expansions they’ve gone through, and what’s coming for the team – it makes the team more effective – helps them better understand their business and add more value for our customers.
And with all that said, Pilgrim’s says there’s still room to improve!
The team is excited about their partnership with Blacksmith Applications because they keep making progress. Bryon adds, “Blacksmith’s going to be the hub of extremely actionable insights displayed in the right way – it’s going to change the game for foodservice manufacturers.”
Operator Level Insights
In the industry, a standard go-to-market practice includes holding region sales managers accountable to reach quotas or budgets based on market performance. The invoice data helps you understand what you’re selling to your distributors. A common challenge of analyzing distributor sales data is that you don’t get the full picture. Without access to well-curated operator purchase data and claims data that confirms purchases – you don’t understand the why behind the distributor buy. What’s influencing the decision to buy?
You can’t direct the sales team in the marketplace to the right opportunities. Without the data, sales is blindfolded.
ENTER: Shift in go-to-market to focus on understanding the operator. ⇩
If you’re trying to grow your brand, in foodservice, you have to understand the operator.
It’s essential that your team has every level of detail possible to understand what you’re selling, in what market, through whom, and to whom.
For Pilgrim’s, the region teams are responsible for all of the business within a particular set of territories that they manage. Region teams are working a complex environment, “they can collaborate with others within that market – operator team or school team – to most effectively manage that book of business,” Bryon continues. Being armed with information allows Pilgrim’s to have more conversations, both with distributor partners and operator teams, to drive growth in the region and continue to penetrate the brands.
Most companies face the problem – assuming you have access to the right information – that there’s too much data. It’s almost impossible to craft it so that it’s tailored to the right team, available at the right time, and customized in a way they need it. Without the right tools – it’s possible to leverage the data – but it’s manual.
Working with Blacksmith, “we knew we could solve for efficiency improvement.” Blackout all the noise and focus on the key data.
With the right data and partners, we’ve enabled on-demand visibility to help region teams and operators.
We arm our teams with information that drives value for their customers…
- What individual operators or customers are driving performance in the market.
- What customers aren’t buying.
- What to expect from a run rate on other products in the portfolio.
- Volume pulled from distribution and from which distributors.
All these data-based details are extremely important. Data is the advantage to solve for opportunities and improvements.
Bryon explains, “If anything, the COVID years taught us that need state will continue to evolve in foodservice.” In general, the problems center around simplifying the complexity into actionable insights that drive value for our team members and managing the backend data in a timely way that gives us information on-demand in support of a strategy.
Rather than a lack of data, manufacturers that are invested in an operator-centric strategy, are going to face a problem with mass production of data. There’s a necessity to take all of the data, harmonize it, standardize it, manage it, and make smarter decisions – internally and externally.
There’s a lot for manufacturers to tackle; even with robust, committed resources – there’s more coming at us every day:
- Managing the implications of direct and indirect sales.
- Focusing on the importance of a redistributor network.
- Mapping product detail across segments within channels.
- Assigning information to the right personnel.
- Building budgets and key performance indicators for teams.
There’s challenges relative to operator master data and the various sources that’s available from. It’s an incredible lift to consolidate and standardize that information – given that it comes from so many different places.
In general, there’s systemic problems with proof of performance and the validation process relative to that.
All the challenges… all that data… make it extremely important to partner with organizations that understand the complexity and can leverage technology based on their experience. Bryon adds, “We’re excited that we found the right partner for these challenges.”
Target Sales Enablement Success
Sales enablement continues to be a huge priority for consumer goods companies. The ultimate goal: Turn data complexities into actionable insights.
Your sales enablement tool should create efficiencies for your team and meet your go-to-market growth goals. The right software will do the work for you – harmonize your data, identify white space, drive growth for your brands, and unlock critical insights.
An integrated sales enablement system pulls purchasing data and transactional data [sales calls, opportunities] then blends that information together to keep the sales team focused on what needs their attention and finish the year strong.
At the end of the day, you want to have the tools in place that drive value for the team and drive results for the business.
“I have nothing but respect for what you bring to the table,” Bryon says. “The Blacksmith team, in general, you have been incredible to work with over the last couple of years. We’re looking forward to where this partnership is going to go.”
Bryon concludes, “It’s going to be a fun ride back to market. We’ve got an extremely strong team and have a lot of opportunities to tackle.”