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November 20, 2014 General

Why Food Wholesalers are Changing The Ways They Compete – The Move From Strategic to Tactical

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By Sonja Fridell

Recent trends in the food and beverage industry indicate major players in the food wholesaler industry are changing from a fulfillment model to a predicative planning model. For years, value-based supply chain business relationships have been outlined in win-lose terms — each company strives to buy product as cheaply as possible then turn around and unload that same product as expensively as possible. The problem is, everyone is doing the same thing and to stay competitive the ability to predict market pricing and product demand has been brought into focus.


Wholesalers are starting to realize in order to stay competitive they have to engage customers more, be attentive to what they need and deliver solutions based on predictive market awareness. Forward thinking companies like food giant Sysco have invested in a CRM Solution that is allowing some 45,000+ employees to share information and best practices all from their smartphone or tablets; thus creating a collaborative and proactive sales team.

The right CRM is typically a customized solution, loaded with add-ons that give sales teams the power to manage everything from customers buying history to planning sales visits. Available tools like map-to-lead that display on a map nearby clients in a specific geographic area can give sales people the edge, maximizing client touches.

Mobile technology is also becoming essential in a specific way. The term used is, “Mobile Moments.” A mobile moment is a mobile technology that simply provides and only provides the information the specific field person needs to be more effective. “Nothing more, nothing less” is the concept. For example, if the field person needs information from multiple disparate back end solutions (ERP, CRM, Business Intelligence, etc.) the application used on the mobile device is able to grab information from multiple sources and display that information on the device as well as be the single point of input to the multiple back end sources. Versus the typical CRM mobile is usually information overkill. Too much information displayed, too many clicks and thus information overload for the user.

Slow market growth is said to be a critical business challenge within the food wholesale industry because the US population only grows by 1 percent per year. — Hoovers Market Research

Wholesalers and distributors have to start selling value and not just product while being able to adjust on-the-fly and provide valuable specialized market insight during the next five minute meeting and break the history of having supply chain maturity but juvenile planning.

Now is the time to hit the pause button, look at the strategic process model within your organization and harness the available technology to push past slow market growth and tell your customers what they need before they know it themselves. Business processing management and notation is the next big thing, not only in the food wholesale but in industry as a whole. Before investing in any software it’s necessary to understand what you are trying to achieve and then fit the right solution to your list of needs.

Click here to request an appointment to talk about the future of food wholesale and to learn what technologies are being used by your competition and other industries to help meet the challenge.

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author bio

Sonja Fridell

Sonja is very active in architecting CRM, ERP and marketing automation solutions for clients across North America. As an ex-journalist, she is adept at exploring a client’s needs and coming up with cutting edge, elegant solutions that fit, drive adoption, and create real results.

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