The new year is fast approaching, and the speed of change in wine and spirits sales has never been more startling.
Many wine and spirits companies are operating if little has changed, and unfortunately, this is causing a significant separation between those who keep pace and those who fall far behind.
So that you can stay ahead of the curve and on top of trends, we’ve assembled a list of what we see as the top 9 trends to know.
1. “Digital” 3-tier comes of age
The neon “no vacancy” sign has been flashing for years regarding wineries and distilleries trying to wedge their way into distributor portfolios.
Distributors large, medium, and small are all at total capacity. We constantly hear stories from suppliers being turned away.
To say that wholesalers have reached “maximum capacity” would be a colossal understatement.
But the good news is that alternatives DO exist.
Consider exploring the web-based, on-demand distribution system of LibDib. This all-digital platform connects alcoholic beverage “Makers” to restaurants, bars, and retailers in fourteen US states. LibDib expects to add three more states soon, bringing the total available markets to seventeen. More states are soon to follow.
This web-based distribution platform is ideal for new brands just launching or about to launch. “No room at the inn?” No problem! LibDib has unlimited capacity to take on new brands!
This high-tech alternative is also perfect for suppliers already working with traditional distributors but desiring to launch new brands or products.
We recently heard of a successful Sonoma County wine producer (currently doing over 100,000 cases a year in traditional 3-tier) being turned down by their current, active distributor partners when asked to take on their newest brand. But the “always open” sign is blazing away at LibDib. Not only are there absolutely no barriers to entry, but LibDib has an unlimited capacity. Such is the power of digital 3-tier!
One of the best things about LibDib is they are full-on partners with Republic National Distributing Company. Hence, the potential always exists to “graduate” to the full capabilities of RNDC’s mighty sales strength.
2. Technology advancements
Digital 3-tier is not the only technology advancement impacting the wine and spirits industry. Other tech-enabled sales and marketing platforms are available now to help accelerate sales growth. These include:
- Powerful CRM platforms
- Data collection, processing, and analytics software
- Pricing management
- Retain space management
- Trade promotion spending management
- Platforms that enable collaboration between suppliers, distributors, and agency partners.
Everyone is looking for an “edge” these days, and the first place to look should be software tools and platforms!
The benefits of leveraging technology in sales and marketing are enormous and include:
✔️ Automation of repetitive tasks
✔️ Lead generation
✔️ Inventory management and forecasting
✔️ Sales execution with KPIs
✔️ Account segmentation and targeting
✔️ Tracking store displays and by-the-glass programs
✔️ Sales team training
✔️ Retail ads, scans, and incentives
✔️ Tracking ROI of trade spending and promotions
✔️ Goals and objectives
✔️ National account management
✔️ Retail surveys
✔️ Product finder maps
✔️ And much more!
Out-of-the-box, fully integrated, industry-specific platforms that provide advanced insights and ROI analysis are ready to go NOW.
3. Use of Artificial Intelligence
There is no better way to take your sales and marketing to new levels than by leveraging AI.
Very few wine and spirits manufacturers are fully leveraging these tools. Therefore, submitting to the learning curve as soon as possible holds tremendous competitive advantages.
The goals of AI’s use in sales and marketing should include
- Improving efficiency
- Eliminating time-consuming administrative tasks
- The use of predictive analytics in sales planning
- Increasing customer service and satisfaction
- Enhancing job satisfaction among employees
- Optimizing sales team effectiveness
- Pipeline Management
- Sales and marketing content creation
There are so many ways AI can be used in your sales and marketing processes it can be overwhelming. So start small and expand from there.
The challenge we are putting forth is to make a conscious commitment in 2024 to learn more about artificial intelligence and start incorporating it in your sales and marketing processes.
4. The allocation of sales resources
In today’s hyper-competitive business landscape, few companies (large or small) can afford to waste time, money, and human resources. And yet “waste” abounds!
Here is a short list of some of the most egregious misallocations of financial and human capital:
- Unnecessary and poorly planned in-person meetings
- Undisciplined use of email
- Travel and entertainment budgets
- Paying people to “manage” distributors
- Confusing sales team activity with achievement
- Allowing important decisions to be made by gut feel and “experience” versus objective data and analytics
- Clinging to inefficient, manual processes
- Failure to balance product knowledge with solid business acumen
- No system for managing out of stocks
- Clumsy, ineffective communication and collaboration with distributor partners
- Manually managing pricing and promotional budgets
- Failure to measure the right things (KPIs)
- Feeble hiring, onboarding, and training practices
In many ways, our industry is living in the past. Here are a few indisputable truths as we move forward toward the future.
☑️ Today’s sales teams require fewer people “managing distributors” and many more “feet on the street.”
☑️ Anything that requires the physical presence of a human being cannot be scaled.
☑️ Technology is the “great equalizer.” It allows even the smallest brands to steal market share from larger companies.
☑️ Whatever you measure, you get more of.
☑️ Technology is now everyone’s business.
☑️ You cannot save your way to prosperity, you must SELL your way there.
5. Focus on sustainability
This is a “trend” that is accelerating at a breathtaking pace. Wine and spirits producers need to keep pace. Not in an ad hoc way but in a strategic, systemic, and impactful way.
Here are some of the specific things to watch in 2024:
🍃 Reducing bottle weight is the “low-hanging fruit” for wineries and distilleries looking to reduce their carbon footprint significantly.
🍃 75% of millennials (the coveted quarry of many wine and spirits brands) say they would change their buying habits to favor environmentally friendly products.
🍃 “Luxury” means different things to different people. For example, many people consider portability to be a luxury. Thus, cans and lightweight, break-proof packaging are popular.
🍃 Taking action! People are tired of talking about sustainability. They want to see brands taking meaningful actions.
🍃 The development of sustainable business practices not only helps the planet but makes good business sense. It’s more than just a good “selling point.” It’s financially lucrative as well!
🍃 A business’s sustainability practices are becoming a huge driver of which jobs top talent prioritizes and seeks.
Adopting software that reduces inefficiency and waste is one of the best places to start. This includes sales and marketing teams.
Your customers and prospects have certain expectations when it comes to sustainability. Some will even pay a premium for “greener” options.
Salespeople are the eyes and ears of the organization. They are the customer-facing conduit that can provide insights and feedback. But ONLY if you have the systems in place to leverage them.
6. New job roles and skills in wine and spirits
If you are not already doing this, start paying close attention to the job ads being posted each week. Here are some of the NEW roles we’ve seen (taken from actual job postings specific to our industry):
- Data Scientists and Engineers
- Data Analysts
- Manager of Data Analytics and Insights
- Sales Strategy Analysts
- Non-traditional Trade Marketing Managers
- Inbound Digital Marketing Specialists
- Project Manager – Statistics
- CRM Specialists
- Supply Chain Analysts
- Technical Manager – Controls and Integration
- Pricing Specialists
- Logistics Coordinators
- Demand Planning Managers
- Manager of Sales and Operations Execution
- Sales Analyst, National Accounts
In 2024 and beyond, the skills required for success in a sales role go well beyond product knowledge and selling skills and include:
✅ Proficient use of CRM systems, including pipeline management
✅ Interpretation of data
✅ Solid business acumen
✅ Social selling
✅ Prioritization and time management
✅ Research skills
✅ Digital selling
This might shock a lot of people but here are the skills that will no longer be in demand (or much less in demand):
🗙 Holding distributors accountable for results
🗙 “Motivating” distributor sales teams
🗙 Creating PowerPoint presentations
🗙 Ability to travel extensively
🗙 Creating weekly reports
🗙 Conducting wine dinners
🗙 Organizing sales blitzes
The world is changing. Many will be left behind.
In the rapidly evolving landscape of wine and spirits sales, the impending new year brings a host of transformative trends.
This article delves into the top 7 trends 2024, offering a comprehensive overview of the shifts and innovations shaping the industry.
From web-based distribution alternatives to the power of technology and artificial intelligence to the rising importance of sustainability and the emergence of new job roles, wine and spirits professionals must adapt and thrive in this dynamic environment.
By embracing these trends and honing essential skills, industry players can position themselves for success and stay ahead of the competition as they navigate the changing terrain of wine and spirits sales in the years to come.”
ABOUT ANDAVI SOLUTIONS:
Andavi Solutions is building an integrated suite of technology solutions to provide insights and drive superior decision-making and ROI across the beverage alcohol and CPG supply chain.
Our Vision is to invest in leading software and technology companies, partner with best-in-class management talent, accelerate innovation and build an integrated technology platform providing connected insights to suppliers, distributors, and retailers.
At Andavi Solutions, we have the knowledge and resources to help your sales team. We invite you to reach out today!