Sales: Establishing Strong Bonds with Beer Buyers

Emboldening your brewery’s sales force to reach out to new clients to help dig into their territory can be paramount to growth. Building that relationship and identifying the right clients with the right brands can be tricky.

“It all depends on the day and the account,” said Matt Neuman, the National Sales Director for SanTan Brewing. “Many buyers have their guard up when any sales person approaches them: ‘What do you want to sell me today?’ We take the approach of being the accounts’ Brand Ambassador and partner … we’re all in this together.

“At the end of the day, our goal is to help accounts sell more beer. We also believe that building a relationship with that decision-maker takes time. There are times when we say … go see your top 10 accounts and simply say, ‘thanks for the business.’ ”

You can’t use the same sales pitch at every account, Neuman said, pointing out that SanTan uses a classification system so that its Brand Ambassadors know about the buyer: what they have bought in the last month and year, their current point of sales and consumer preferences, along with what competitors have in terms of handles or distributors, before walking into an account.

“The last thing we want to do is waste a buyer’s time,” Neuman said. “If a buyer refuses to carry beers where the ABV is above 7 percent, we know what to lead the sales presentation with and not present something that does not fit with our customers need.”

SanTan feels all on and off-premise accounts have the ability to get more involved in the craft beer movement.

“Whether the account is classified as a ‘blue collar’ bar or ‘Craft Centric’ bar or chain grocery store,” Neuman said. “With all the styles of beer we offer, we have the ability to appeal to an ‘entry level’ craft beer drinker and to ‘Hop Heads.’ ”

New opportunities do come up all the time. The blue-collared bar down the road may have never served anything but macros before, but tap handles have increased, giving a sales rep an opportunity.

“Our goal at SanTan is to educate our customers, whether the decision maker is from a bar/Independent/chain grocery store, we want them to walk away with a better understanding of the true craft that goes into making amazing beers…consistently,” Neuman pointed out.

“When our buying partners believe in a brand…they are your best sales person after our reps leave an account,” he added. “Our reps are to provide a service to everyone of their accounts, from education of new/existing styles of our beers, ensuring our quality standards are in place, to at times…just saying hi.”

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