Helping SMB Contract Food Manufacturers Sell to Food Brands Vs Implementing a CRM

So you are an SMB Contract Food Manufacturer. In the initial stages of the company, you and your co-founders spend a lot of time building out the physical infrastructure to produce the target products and become compliant with the FDA. Demand not being that high, your core team also spent a lot of time building marketing collateral, Website, Sales Pitch Decks and may have tracked most of your outbound calls in some excel sheets and emails. 

Connections you built over the years, if not decades, combined with your deep experience likely landed your first few deals since building a solid brand on the internet and social media takes years to make. When your facility is operating at less than 25% capacity, it’s much easier for your CEO or core team to be engaged in every part of the marketing and sales process and even do the extremely time-consuming “outreach” if necessary. 

The problem starts, however, as soon as the first few customers ramp-up. Unless you have a senior Sales & Marketing wizard among your founding team, your leadership is consumed by the day-to-day operations and keeping your facilities compliant with FDA/SQF. The time-consuming tasks that include outreach, sifting through LinkedIn/Social Media, and following up on leads went by the wayside. I’m sure you get up each day wishing that someone just takes your Sales problem away so you can focus more on Operations and Finance. 

Before I explain how we at Power Central help our contract Food Manufacturers sell, I’d like first to describe the two most common traps most of us, as startups or SMBs, fall into and why they don’t work: at least did not for us. 

1. Hire full-time Sales Development Representative(s) (SDR) 

For the budgets that SMBs allocate to solve the sales problem, it’s nearly impossible to hire that “rock star” SDR. It is common to naively expect a single SDR resource to 

  • Build the marketing and sales collateral. 
  • Create outbound sales and marketing campaigns. 
  • Follow prospects and companies on social media. 
  • Build a brand for the company. 
  • Create and nurture leads and setup “qualified” meetings. 
  • Build the technology infrastructure to enable this process. 
     

The resource is also not as experienced in the field that we founders expect them to. All this results in months of lost time and frustration that the SDR is not producing results. Note that we’re talking about SMBs that budget less than $100K the first year towards Marketing and Sales for every aspect that includes payroll, expenses, and technology infrastructure. 

2. That extremely tempting “Outsourced SDR” and “Magic Lead Generation Marketing” service 

I haven’t met a single entrepreneur who hasn’t gotten sucked into this temptation at least once in their entrepreneurship journey. The idea that someone will parachute in and solve our sales problem is just too tempting to resist for a mere mortal. I admit I’ve been bitten twice with these methods in the last three years and collectively lost over $60-80K in the process. 

I do not claim that any of the folks in these companies are inherently maleficent, but this approach fails, especially early in the sales process because: 

  • The Marketing or Outsourced SDR company has no idea about your company and domain. As a result, the “rebranded website” marketing and sales collateral simply does not land well on your prospects. 
  • The “Outsourced SDR” resource simply isn’t convincing enough as they barely have the time to learn your offering. 

In either case, many founders grossly underestimate the amount of time we need to create the marketing content and educate the Sales and Marketing team, regardless of whether we do the Sales & Marketing in-house or outsource part of the sales function. Little do we realize that we alone are in the best position to make the core marketing and sales collateral. Sure, a consultant can make us sound sophisticated or construct a much better-looking website. Still, it is incredibly difficult impossible to find someone that “just gets your company” and generates the content without significant assistance. 

From the Technology infrastructure perspective, tracking activities in excel and email may be enough when the CEO or founders do the Sales activities themselves, but tracking 1000’s emails and social media campaigns and outreach needs a well-thought-out set of technology infrastructure without breaking the bank. 

At Power Central, we empower our Food Manufacturing customers with the right combination of Sales and Marketing technology infrastructure at an incredibly affordable price point. We invest significantly in you by giving up most of our margins during implementation. With decades of experience in the Food Manufacturing sector, our co-founders help you get the first set of campaigns run and leads flowing into the CRM. We believe that we should be successful in making a profit only when you, our customer, succeed. 

LinkedIn Sales Navigator for Lead Search and Outreach. MailChimp for Email Marketing and Landing Pages. Dynamics 365 for Sales side of CRM as well as Customer Service. Dynamics 365 Business Central for post Sales Finance & Operations.

While we figured out the technology infrastructure that works best for a Food Manufacturing company, which I will explain in detail in a post later, we must warn you; there are no magic bullets here. 

While we provide an easy and reliable Sales and Marketing Technology infrastructure, and guidance on content, we found our customers are in the best position to create the collateral, which does take a significant amount of time and effort. Realize that even if you hire a “Marketing or Outsourced SDR” firm and pay them $30-100K over 6-9 months, you still have to do most of this yourself anyways! 

Genuine content is invaluable. 

We found no escape from doing this homework. Once done, however, we can help: 

  • Connect the right resources to make the content sound incredible in your email campaign and social media outreach. 
  • Make the Website and campaigns drive qualified leads. 
  • Effectively track leads across the Email Marketing Engine, LinkedIn Sales Navigator, and Dynamics 365 for Sales. 
  • Help you run your campaigns on your own seamlessly. 
  • Take qualified meetings. 
     

As cofounders of Contract Food Packaging company ourselves, we started Power Central out of frustration of not finding affordable and effective ERP, Sales and Marketing solutions to scale our businesses. Our mission is to empower every SMB Food Brand and Contract Food Manufacturing company with the right technology infrastructure to scale their business. 

About Power Central

Experience in tackling the Food Manufacturing industry’s most complex problems led the Power Central leadership team to collaborate on creating an affordable, holistic solution for Small-Midsize operations. 

We landed on a superior holistic solution that’s achievable in a short period of time at NO RISK to our customers. The Intelligence-driven Power Central ERP system addresses: 
– End-to-End Traceability for FDA, FSMA, SQF 
– Product Cost & Profitability 
– Actionable Insights on Cash-Flows, Demand, and Resource Planning.
– Streamline Marketing and Sales Operations.

Our leadership team is the right blend of technological, Process, and Domain expertise to stabilize, scale, and grow your Food Packaging Business through advisory, implementation, training, and support. 

About the Author

Vish is President & CTO at Power Central. He is a Senior Analytics leader with a proven track record of applying Data, Artificial, and Business Intelligence techniques to generate tangible and measurable ROI in Business. While working as a Data Scientist, he observed how the gaps between the ERP systems that generate the data, and the Business Intelligence & Data Warehouse/Stores that are used to analyze the data prevented businesses from achieving desirable business outcomes. He co-founded Power Central with veterans in Food Packaging and Manufacturing industry with the objective to provide vertically integrated ERP and Intelligence systems for Food Packaging and Manufacturing. 

Building Knowledge Graphs for Food Brands

Dive into the world of Basil with Power Central’s “Ingredients & Intelligence” Platform 

Brands are on the constant lookout for 

  • Trends in Food and Pop culture 
  • Allergen and Meat substitutes 
  • Taste preference-based recommendations 

Contract Manufacturers also struggle to gain insights into why their customers are ordering specific ingredients, analyzing the larger trends in the industry, and using that information to predict demand and improve their procurement process and price accordingly. 

Power Central’s Artificial Intelligence-driven “Ingredients and Intelligence” platform scours the internet for you, processes tens of thousands of recipes worldwide, and presents the data with an intuitive and natural interface.

Scouring over the internet and analyzing thousands of blogs, Twitter & social media can be too time-consuming and expensive. 

Our Artificial Intelligence-driven “Ingredients and Intelligence” platform scours the internet for you, processes tens of thousands of recipes worldwide, and presents the data with an intuitive and natural interface. 

In this video, dive deep into Basil’s world, understand the various world cuisines basil is associated with, and the key ingredients that differentiate cuisines, for example, Italian Vs. Thai. 

About Power Central

Experience in tackling Food Manufacturing industry’s most complex problems led the Power Central leadership team to collaborate on creating an affordable, holistic solution for Small-Midsize operations. 

We landed on a superior holistic solution that’s achievable in a short period of time at NO RISK to our customers. The Intelligence driven Power Central ERP system addresses: 
– End-to-End Traceability for FDA, FSMA, SQF 
– Product Cost & Profitability 
– Actionable Insights on Cash-Flows, Demand and Resource Planning. 

Our leadership team is the right blend of technological, Process and Domain expertise to stabilize, scale and grow your Food Packaging Business through advisory, implementation, training and support. 

About the Author

Vish is President & CTO at Power Central. He is a Senior Analytics leader with proven track record of applying Data, Artificial and Business Intelligence techniques to generate tangible and measurable ROI in Business. While working as a Data Scientist, he observed how the gaps between the ERP systems that generate the data, and the Business Intelligence & Data Warehouse/Stores that are used to analyze the data prevented businesses from achieving desirable business outcomes. He co-founded Power Central with the objective to provide vertically integrated ERP and Intelligence system for Food Packaging and Manufacturing. 

Maximizing Profit while Balancing Cash Flows in Hyper-Growth Mode

Power Central’s Profitability, Inventory and Cash Flow Strategic reports enabled the leadership team at Pack’n Fresh to raise capital when it mattered most.

We spend tremendous amounts of energy in building up the Manufacturing facility, getting FSMA/SQF compliance certifications, hiring critical human resources… and then we wait…in agony – as the deafening silence of prospects haunts us – for customers to show up at our doorstep. We dream of a day when we’re so busy taking orders we can barely keep up. 

And finally, with grit, prayers, strategy and a tad bit of luck, it happens. But when it does, the next wave of challenges begin. 

As our customer, Pack’n Fresh experienced tremendous growth during the pandemic, they began to run out of one their most critical resource – CASH. 

In this 2-part series, we first explain how we, at Power Central helped Pack’n Fresh  

  1. Increase Profitability by 80% on their high-volume products. 
  2. While balancing Cash Flow with better predictive forecasts, and
  3. Help raise Capital when it mattered most.

using Power BI and Azure Machine Learning Service on top of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central. 

Power Central’s Profitability, Inventory and Cash Flow Strategic reports provided the CEO and leadership team to gain real time visibility into their Profits and Cash Flow

Our ability to give the right interactive Intelligence to the CEO of Pack’n Fresh, so that he could communicate effectively with Investors in real time, was critical in achieving this success. 

In the next video in this series, we explain how Order-to-Cash process works in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, specifically for a Food Manufacturing or Food Production company. Understanding the data that this process workflow generates is essential for the Intelligence to be effective. 

Stay tuned. 

About Power Central 

Experience in tackling Food Manufacturing industry’s most complex problems led the Power Central leadership team to collaborate on creating an affordable, holistic solution for Small-Midsize operations. 

We landed on a superior holistic solution that’s achievable in a short period of time at NO RISK to our customers. The Intelligence driven Power Central ERP system addresses: 
– End-to-End Traceability for FDA, FSMA, SQF 
– Product Cost & Profitability 
– Actionable Insights on Cash-Flows, Demand and Resource Planning. 

Our leadership team is the right blend of technological, Process and Domain expertise to stabilize, scale and grow your Food Packaging Business through advisory, implementation, training and support. 

About the Author 

Vish is President & CTO at Power Central. He is a Senior Analytics leader with proven track record of applying Data, Artificial and Business Intelligence techniques to generate tangible and measurable ROI in Business. While working as a Data Scientist, he observed how the gaps between the ERP systems that generate the data, and the Business Intelligence & Data Warehouse/Stores that are used to analyze the data prevented businesses from achieving desirable business outcomes. He co-founded Power Central with the objective to provide vertically integrated ERP and Intelligence system for Food Packaging and Manufacturing. 

Vish holds a Masters Degree in The University of Texas at Dallas and brings over two decades of global experience in Software and AI in companies that include AT&T and Texas Instruments. 

Tactical Intelligence for Procurement Planning in Food Packaging Food Manufacturing

Power Central’s On-Time-Delivery Tactical Intelligence Reports provides real time actionable intelligence for day-to-day Procurement Operations

Companies implement ERP systems to streamline their day-to-day operations and increase profitability while balancing their cash flow. However, here are the key challenges that stand in the way:

  1. Extended times (4-6 months) implementing the ERP and disruptions to day-to-day operations.
  2. Lack of Tactical Business Intelligence to help their Production, Procurement and Order management staff to optimize their day-to-day mission critical operations.
  3. Lack of Strategic Business Intelligence to help with longer term Profitability and Cash Flow positions.

In most cases, we observed that ERP solution providers do not provide actionable Business Intelligence, either Tactical or Strategic. You are left to rely on the rudimentary built-in reports baked into the ERP system. For example, built in inventory report in the ERP may provide the status of current inventory, but it doesn’t have the capability to analyze all the outstanding orders and recommend how much to order or produce based on priority that matters to your business.

 It takes an additional 4-6 months for most ERP and Business Intelligence providers after the initial ERP implementation to get to mission critical reports, with an additional $250-300K in additional costs.

 At Power Central, we deploy our On-Time-Delivery Tactical Business Intelligence reports with Power BI right along with Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central ERP rapidly in under just 8 weeks. We understand that a deeply committed workforce is essential to utilizing the ERP system effectively, provide accurate data, that is essential for any trustworthy intelligence. We realize that unless we make the day-to-life of the Procurement and Production manager better, the Sales team cannot deliver a delightful experience to the Customer. And long-term strategy matters little when the customer isn’t happy.

In this video, we go over how we helped our Food Packaging customer, Pack’n Fresh increase their On-Time-Delivery from 88% to well over 99% while keeping their operations compliant with FSMA regulations, winning them a grade of “Excellence” in their most recent SQF audit with Tactical Business Intelligence for Procurement Planning.

About Power Central

Experience in tackling Food Manufacturing industry’s most complex problems led the Power Central leadership team to collaborate on creating an affordable, holistic solution for Small-Midsize operations.

We landed on a superior holistic solution that’s achievable in a short period of time. The Intelligence driven Power Central ERP system addresses:

  • End-to-End Traceability for FDA, FSMA, SQF
  • Product Cost & Profitability
  • Actionable Insights on Cash-Flows, Demand and Resource Planning.

Our leadership team is the right blend of technological, Process and Domain expertise to stabilize, scale and grow your Food Packaging Business through advisory, implementation, training and support. Learn more..

About the Author

Vish is President & CTO at Power Central. He is a Senior Analytics leader with proven track record of applying Data, Artificial and Business Intelligence techniques to generate tangible and measurable ROI in Business. While working as a Data Scientist, he observed how the gaps between the ERP systems that generate the data, and the Business Intelligence & Data Warehouse/Stores that are used to analyze the data prevented businesses from achieving desirable business outcomes. He co-founded Power Central with the objective to provide vertically integrated ERP and Intelligence system for Food Packaging and Manufacturing.

 Vish holds a Masters Degree in The University of Texas at Dallas and brings over two decades of global experience in Software and AI in companies that include AT&T and Texas Instruments.