For the last few minutes I’d like to do some rapid fire questions between the two of you. I’ll start with you Chris and then go to Jenny. Chris, you talked about your experience with managing these expansions to different chains, be it grocery stores, restaurants, etc. Do you have any pro tips to share with someone who may be trying to pick up their first chain deal?
Chris: I think put yourself in their shoes and don’t just sell what you think they need or what you think they want. Actually ask them what it is they need and what it is they want. That, to me, is half the battle. I know it sounds overly simplified but, to me, a lot of the bigger chain wins come just from listening rather than just trying to sell.
Jenny, if you were starting a brewery or in an early stage brewery and you were about to hire your first data analyst, what would be the things that you would want that data analysts to focus on first and foremost?
Jenny: Understanding the brewing costs and pricing of your product to retail. Regardless of if you’re self-distributed or working with a distributor, just understanding if you can be profitable would probably be the first thing. How to maximize your profits.
Chris, now that you are the VP of Sales for all of CANarchy and have more reps working with you than ever before, what are some best practices for communicating with all these different teams that are spread out across the country?
Chris: I mean I think Lilypad is a big part of that. We try to plan, direct, and measure people’s daily efforts through that. So, as you are spread out more and more, utilizing technology can certainly bring you together. We have eight regions across the country and we also have a chain department. Every one of those managers has a lot of autonomy to manage their teams the way they want to. There are certain things that are expected and processes that we have people adhere to, but otherwise it’s kind of up to them. It could be conducting a weekly call or a biweekly call to bring everybody together and make sure everybody’s clear on the game plan. That’s a big part of it. We try and get the management team together as much as possible. It becomes complicated when you have people that travel and are spread out, but it is certainly an effort that we try to make.
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Chris: But, you know, I think it’s evolved. We’re trying to figure out better ways to do it. One of the things that makes Eric (Lilypad CEO) laugh every time we bring it up – we had some surveys that we put out a couple of years ago for one of our national sales meetings and one of the questions that somebody came back with was, “When is Lilypad going to be everything?” Eric loved that, obviously. You know, in many ways it has the potential to be everything from the sales organization standpoint – in terms of how you manage and how you communicate and all of those things. So I can see it becoming a bigger and bigger part of what we do because there’s just so many ways you can overcome communication gaps through it. People just have to buy into it and use it.