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It’s essential that wholesalers engaging in Direct Store Delivery (DSD) get products to their customers quickly and efficiently. As a food distributor, it’s particularly important that you streamline the workflow and minimize error so that you don’t run the risk of perishable goods spoiling, reducing DSD sales.

To help your company succeed, be sure to avoid these five big mistakes in your food distribution strategy:

Mistake #1: Forgetting about your route staff’s selling power

The biggest mistake you can make is to treat your route staff as a simple delivery team. You should instead transform them into sales reps, equipping them with important customer information such as customer order history.

When you empower your route staff with customer data, you enable them to present price lists, discounts, and cross-selling and upselling promotions that are unique to each customer. Using best mobile CRM software, they can provide offers to customers based on the specific situations they find when delivering, for example, ordering based on items that are out of stock or the customer is running low on.

When your route staff don’t just make deliveries, but also take orders, they’ll be able to not only provide high levels of customer service but also optimize sales opportunities. In many cases avoiding the need for sales reps to even visit.

Mistake #2: Making product information inaccessible to route staff

Product information should always be quickly & easily accessible to route staff. They should have all the information they need at their fingertips, to make sales, give product recommendations, and answer customer questions. Route accounting software for distributors can give staff access to all essential product details and more.

Knowing about product details is especially important for food delivery staff, as customers may have questions about dietary specifications of food and beverage products. Your accounting software should be integrated with a product e-catalog so route staff can quickly pull up any product information the customer requests and instantaneously create an order.

In addition, staff should have the information they need to stay up-to-date with best-selling and out-of-stock items. By giving your staff access to real-time data about in-stock and most popular items, you help ensure that they optimize shelf space and quickly replenish goods.

When it comes to providing your route staff with the resources they need, never skimp on product details. A sales team that demonstrates thorough knowledge about the products builds customers’ confidence and trust in the company.

Mistake #3: Wasting time by not taking the most efficient route

Food distributors are also making a big mistake when they fail to map out strategic delivery routes for their field staff. When you don’t provide delivery staff with a map application to optimize their routes, they might miss important delivery stops and fall behind schedule. Not only does this raise the cost of gas and transportation, but it also wastes valuable time that your route staff could instead be using to engage with customers and make sales.

To avoid the risks that come with inefficient routes, food distributors should integrate a mobile route planner app into their direct store delivery software. The app should be connected with popular map applications, such as Google Maps. By shortening driving distances, the app can help your route staff minimize driving time and maximize the number of stops. It can also allow for routes to be adjusted anytime with last-minute changes in schedule, constantly keeping routes up-to-date.

As a food distributor, it’s especially important that your route staff operate efficiently so that food stays fresh until the time of delivery. When you equip your delivery staff with a mobile van sales application, you’re allowing them to better service your customers, all while saving on costs.

Mistake #4: Not tracking your route staff’s activities

Route staff shouldn’t be the only ones keeping track of product deliveries. Without managers carefully monitoring staff activities, deliveries can quickly become disorganized and behind schedule.

In addition to helping route staff, mobile route planner apps are also useful to managers. Managers can use the app to oversee the locations and activities of all route staff, ensuring that they are on time and hitting the correct stops. They can also use the app to keep an organized digital record of all transactions, saving invoices and sales receipts.

Mistake #5: Keeping important sales data confined to the office

It’s a big mistake to keep all your customer and product information on the back-office system. To truly prepare your field staff to act as sales reps, they should have access to important data on the go.

You can give your route staff access to customer and item information by equipping them with a mobile CRM. In addition to enabling your staff to plan efficient delivery routes, a mobile CRM will also help them make sales and be able to from any location, whether they’re on the road, at retail stores, or at conventions or tradeshows.

It’s an added bonus if your mobile CRM is available as a native mobile app on all devices and operating systems. This will allow route staff to work with ease from their personal mobile phones and tablets while ensuring that staff bring their CRM platform with them wherever they go. To further ensure that your route staff can access critical sales data regardless of their location, be sure to choose a CRM platform that works in offline mode so that staff members aren’t dependent on wifi access for up-to-date data.

While all wholesalers engaging in Direct Store Delivery (DSD) should work hard to optimize their van sales system, delivering with accuracy and efficiency are especially important for food distributors. Because many food distributors are confronted with the additional challenge of transporting perishable goods, it’s especially vital that they deliver the right goods to the right customers at the right time.

Adopting a DSD / route accounting software that integrates with your CRM can help you avoid these 5 mistakes, streamlining your workflow and delivery strategy.

Want to know what are the 6 key things to look for in Sales Force Automation in the Food industry? watch this video.

About The Author

Stacey Woods
Stacey Woods
Stacey Woods is the Senior Business Development Manager at Pepperi. She has extensive experience in B2B sales and understands the many benefits that can be gained by automating and syncing the different sales channels in a company.