Your Sales Strategy Is Not Enough To Win

The vast majority of CPG startups operate as B2B businesses. They don’t interact with their consumers. They aren’t curious about how they receive and use their products. As long as case volumes grow, they’re happy. As long as their wholesale price can float operations and their salary, they’re good.

They rely on their sales staff to grow the business by adding accounts. Then another. Then another. Then another. For them, stable velocities that retain their shelf space are a good enough outcome. They only worry about velocities when they’re declining and threatening access to an account. It’s all about “accounts.”

All the time. And nothing else.

For these kinds of brands, the ‘strategy’ is a theory behind account sequencing based purely on the company’s ability to service the account and the cost of servicing it.

I’m not saying you can’t become a $5-20M business this way, especially if you are a gifted sales negotiator with a good reputation in the conventional retail trade.

You can.

You can even grow bigger than $20M. Look at Waterloo water (the brand is so weak, it took me ten minutes of internet searching to recall the name).

But you’ll never scale the business this way, let alone build a brand that keeps growing at double-digit rates in the nine figures.


You haven’t got a strategy at all. Your strategy reduces competition to an account-level shelf battle if you even focus on competition. Without a consumer-centric competitive frame, though, you aren’t strategically managing the business at all. A competitive frame forces you to decide on a competitive position in the market tied to some consumer audience, niche, or broad. The anchoring of your thinking in the end consumer is the key difference.

Once every decision is made at the company because it supports a strategy to delight the ideal, predisposed consumers, you have the potential to run an exponential growth brand. Skate Ramp brands draw their exponential growth rate directly from consumer enthusiasm, not from stacking accounts one after the other. However, you must ensure you’ve co-completed the product line with your early consumers. Something is usually off. In most cases, your sales guy can’t help you figure it out because she is NOT in touch with the end consumer. 

Look, the retail buyer meetings are over now. Your 2023 fate is set in terms of accounts. There is no better time to step back and update your competitive strategy for exponential growth. If you spend time understanding your fans this winter, use that insight to plan 2023 marketing efforts to build persuasive awareness

Your sales team will thank you a ton! It’s the best way to take the strategy baton away from them without noticing. Wink.

Dr. James Richardson

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