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4 Ways to Sell to Foodservice Operators Without Wasting Their Time

4 Ways to Sell to Foodservice Operators Without Wasting Their Time

According to Datassential, the No. 1 annoyance for foodservice operators is getting sales calls from people who don’t understand their business.

Who has time for that? Not you, as a marketing pro leading multiple priorities. Not your sales reps. And certainly not the longtime foodservice veterans who comprise a majority of the industry’s decision-makers.

Avoid the No. 1 annoyance by taking an integrated approach to sales and marketing. When you ensure sales and marketing are in lockstep, your sales force can have more constructive conversations with better prospects.

Prospects of gold

If your brand is new to foodservice channels, or simply looking to grow within them, achieving airtight relevancy between your offerings and the needs of foodservice buyers is a must.

The first crucial step – understanding who you’re talking to – may seem elusive. Foodservice decision-makers are notoriously time-strapped and hard to reach. Have no fear. Throughout the years we’ve honed some trusted best practices for securing qualified lead gen without getting bogged down by unknowns.

1. Reach the most relevant buyers.

Drilling down to the right audience is much more than using standard demographics. It’s also looking at buyer behaviors, lifestyle considerations, switcher opportunities and more.

As you list out each product category you want to grow – including the key value proposition – identify which segment would benefit most. C-store or healthcare? Coffeeshop or QSR? Then think in terms of relating tangible ROI to the operator’s lifestyle. Each highly relevant segment is worthy of a tailored campaign platform that understands unique behaviors and opportunities, including a seamless way to track metrics.

Whether tactics are ultimately outbound or inbound; owned, paid or earned – they’re only as good as the goal behind them. So invest in strategic thinking upfront.

2. Champion smart campaigns rooted in insight.

Remember that most operators have 20 or more years of industry experience. Strategy with blind spots or phrases that feel off can diminish your chances of selling even the most innovative product-solution. Partner with an agency that understands and speaks the language of the operator with each foodservice segment you target.

3. Show up at the right tradeshows.

Tradeshows remain a top channel for new product discovery among foodservice operators. Maybe it’s related to the inherent physicality of making and sharing food. There’s still nothing like connecting person to person and allowing a chef or operator to experience your product firsthand. Plan to attend the right shows with the right message to make the most of your investment.

4. Leverage your CRM to follow the prospective buyer from interest to advocacy.

Your sales team is the most valuable point of connection to lead the conversation with a primed buyer. Cement that connection by equipping your sales force with the most relevant talking points and campaign collateral. Offer practical steps and timely promotions to enable their success.


Better conversations

Move the talking points beyond product and price to offer meaningful business solutions. Whether served up as digital content to prime your target audience or shared directly between rep and operator, content rich with insights can entice operators to make the next move. Here are some effective formats to consider.

Training content, playbooks

Tools that support solution-based selling for sales and broker teams

Merchandising kits

Helping your customers sell to their customers

Recipe and menuing inspiration

Featuring recipes low on labor and high on innovation

Consumer/competitor insights

Making it easy for operators to decide on a product backed by research


Connect with NK to create solid lead gen and sales enablement strategies that move the needle.


Posted in: Thoughts
Tags: marketing
November 02, 2022

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