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. 

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