Overview of the Situation

A game-changing health drink was launching in the UK, on the back of some international experience and was looking to drive distribution, and sales growth within the convenience and independent sector, through a programme of direct selling and integration with nominated wholesale groups.

The Problem They Faced

Whilst the brand had significant financial backing and was led by a team of ex-board directors from within the global soft drinks market, they had little “on the ground” knowledge of launching a new product within the convenience and wholesale space. With a product that had a shorter than industry standard shelf life, and significant stock already within the supply chain, getting retail buyers to understand the brand, engage and stock this in their stores was critical – as was the visibility for the wholesalers that the stock they had agreed to buy was selling out of their locations into retailers too.

The Causes of the Problem

The combination of a lack of “field” operational knowledge, along with the assumptions that retailers would buy any product presented to them, especially if it had a health focus was not the correct understanding for the brand. They had also targeted a wholesaler who had passed all the sales risk back to the brand, making it even more important that any field sales operation worked effectively.

The Impact of the Problem

Failing to get the product onto retailers’ shelves would result in the business wasting significant investment, reduce the ability to rely on further private equity finance and ultimately lead to business closure and significant European job losses.

The Promise / Plan

Having understood the initial reasoning for the activity, we focused on two three objectives:

  • To educate retailers about the new product ranges (one listed in C&Cs and another as part of the future roadmap) and gain distribution and visibility across all three initial SKUs in 1,000+ stores in an eight week launch period.
  • To support the client with their first entry into van sales programmes and ensure that the wholesale supply chain and partners all work to the same targets.
  • To fully understand the route to market for the brand and build a “sales story” to present back to non-stocking wholesale groups

Our approach was to:

  • Build a team that were deployed across a base call file throughout key trading areas of London, but had the ability to pioneer good calls from beyond their core estate
  • Leverage that team’s experience and current contacts to gain “quick wins”
  • Consult with the client and the wholesale group to ensure all goals were made common, and that there was not only an impact for the nominated products, but a legacy across the brand

By providing this end-to-end solution, we were looking to gain sales traction within the market quickly, but also ensuring a high degree of sustainably.

The Outcome 

For the project, we delivered:

  • Over 1.5k field visits across the eight weeks
  • 41% sales strike rate (target was 30%)
  • 2,886 cases distributed (target was 1,785)
  • Annualised revenue potential of £311k based on this launch


“We knew that with James’ support we could plug the gap that we could see in our sales operation. With his and his teams’ help we have improved our commercial position, maintained strong relationships with our retail and wholesale partners and gained some stability in our sales figures.”

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