- “For your sales team to grow sales, then you have to show that accountability and you have to be relentless on that follow-up and holding people accountable.”-Bridget [17:42]
- “People are there to do a job and people want to do a great job, but you have to give them that opportunity to do the great job.”-Bridget [15:55]
- “Nothing’s perfect but it certainly helps start up the conversation and drive accountability.”-Bridget [29:20]
How to Drive for Sales Teams’ Accountability and Distributor Sales with Bridget Lasda
How are you driving for good sales leadership and accountability in your company? A great sales team is able to account for their progress and challenges with each other.
In this episode of the Page One Podcast, Luke Peters interviews Bridget McCarthy Lasda, the Chief Customer Officer of King Juice Company- the owner of Calypso brand of lemonades, limeades, and teas. She’s a knowledgeable executive with a demonstrated history of working in the food and beverage industry and brings 18 years of experience to her current role. She talks about her tremendous experience having worked with big companies like Coca Cola and Heineken sales teams.
Listen in to learn the importance of delegating tasks and giving people opportunities to do a great job as a sales leader. You will also learn why a small company like Calypso finds it advantageous to work directly with distributors over retailers.
- Creating sales teams’ accountability tools to share their progress and the challenges they’re facing.
- The importance of delegating tasks as a good sales leader and giving people opportunities to do the job.
- The difference between working with a big company and a small company’s sales team.
- The infrastructure benefits of distributors over retailers for a small sales team.
Speaker 1: Welcome to the Page 1 podcast, a podcast featuring a variety of guests and thought leaders on topics ranging from digital marketing, sales channel strategies, influencer marketing, best in class product launches, and all the details about how to accelerate sales. Now here’s your host, Luke Peters.
Luke Peters: Thanks for joining us on the Stage 1 podcast. I’m your host, Luke Peters, CEO of NewAir Appliances and Retail Band Digital Strategy Agency. Business owners, do you wish you had someone to create a custom strategic plan to grow your online sales, someone who can show you how to execute it with your team? That’s what we do at Retail Band. If you’re lost, we can help you. Find me on LinkedIn, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. In this episode, you’re going to hear from Bridget Lasda on how to lead sales teams and create a culture of accountability in your sales team. Bridget has done just that firsthand with teams over 100 employees.
Luke Peters: Then we’re going to zero in on how you get the most from your distributors, how you drive distributor sales. Bridget is the chief customer officer of King Juice Company, owner of the Calypso brand of lemonades, limeades, and teas. She is a knowledgeable executive with demonstrated history of working in the food and beverage industry, brings 18 years of experience to her current role, lives in Stanford, Connecticut with her husband, Jeff and two kids, Cameron five and Harper three. Bridget, welcome to the Page 1 podcast.
Bridget Lasda: All right. Thanks, Luke, for having me.
Luke Peters: And hey Bridget, I didn’t get into your background too much there, but you’ve got some awesome experience that I think is great for the audience to share. Can you just name a couple of the companies you’ve worked for in the past?
Bridget Lasda: Sure, sure. So I started my career out of college with Coca-Cola. I actually went into college thinking I was going to be a special education teacher, but decided midway through college that I wanted something more in business. And so out of college, I networked with a handful of different companies, and I was able to get an entry level sales role with Coke outside Chicago, so up and down the streets of Chicago taking orders, which was awesome. It’s been about 14 years at Coke, Chicago. I spent about five years in Atlanta doing some category commercialization work, where I really got to work with the brands and see how whole global operation works. And then my last role at Coke, I spent about a year and a half in Minneapolis where I was calling on Target.
Bridget Lasda: From there, I moved to Connecticut and joined Heineken USA, which is based in New York. And at Heineken, I was leading the national customer team, so a team of about 100 people, calling on customers such as Walmart, Kroger, 7/11 to Buffalo Wild Wings and Hilton, and a really awesome experiences at both of those companies. And I spent a lot of time in big company and was looking for something a little different, and the King Juice opportunity came, and I’m thrilled that it did
Luke Peters: Good to have you here. And like I said in the intro, we’re going to focus on sales leadership and accountability. Well, we’ll get into it, but it’s so important, because I think when communication is clear and objectives are understood, a leader, if they can bring accountability to an organization, it just makes a world of difference. So we’ll dive into that. And first, why don’t we talk a little bit about Calypso, your current role, and maybe just talk about the products you sell and who you’re selling to?
Bridget Lasda: Sure, sure. So Calypso Lemonades, Limeades and Teas. We are the fastest turning lemonade in the category. So Calypso is on fire. We’ve got a sales team of 22. We’re spread out across the country. We do have quite a good international business as well. And so our folks, domestically, they’re spread out from California to Florida up to New Hampshire. And our team is broken out by geography through the Northeast, Southeast, Central, and West team. I actually double up on leading the Northeast team as well and hired a region sales manager for the New York Metro market.
Bridget Lasda: So we’ve got a region sales managers that call directly on our distributors and on regional chains in their geography. We also have three mass merch specialists. Their roles are to call on primarily to Walmart. And it started out as a role where we weren’t on the shelf at Walmart, but we’re getting some success locally selling in, working with the distributors. So we’ve got three mass merch specialists that focus primarily on Walmart. And then we have a business development rep on Florida as Florida’s one of our key markets to strategically grow. And then they report up to the directors, Southeast, Central, and West. And then we also have two key account directors, one for the East and one for the West. And then our central director, he also calls on our Kroger business and QuikTrip business.
Luke Peters: Okay. And quickly about customer concentration, I’m sure you can’t give away exact numbers, but I guess the reason I’m asking that is you have, like you said, I think about 22 people, and then that goes up to regional leads. How much of the business is mostly Kroger and in larger stores, or is it actually pretty diverse with the smaller businesses? And I think the reason I’m asking that, just the context might be helpful, is because obviously we have a lot of business owners listening, and now there’s been a lot of consolidation, especially online with five, or six, or seven big sites who dominate online. And then some of the smaller stores have lost a little bit of that strength. So it’s like, how much of your team is focused just on a few large accounts, or is there actually a big opportunity that you have on building a lot of these smaller accounts?
Bridget Lasda: Tremendous opportunity building on the smaller accounts. The majority of our business is all off-premise. So for those that aren’t familiar, off-premise would be your convenience, your grocery stores, et cetera, and on-premise would be restaurants, et cetera. So there is a very small percentage of our business which is on. We do very little online also because we’re glass bottle and we’ve really been focused on the brick and mortar. And probably, maybe get the chance to talk about this later, but that is how we are working differently with customers now as a lot of their business, and especially as that’s been ramped up through COVID, has moved to order online, pickup in store or delivery. We’re trying to work with our customers on that. But to your question, we have tremendous, tremendous opportunity in the regional small chain.
Bridget Lasda: We have fantastic distribution at Kroger. We have a ton of opportunity with Walmart, and then a few of the other larger convenience players. Wawa, Casey’s, for example, we have great distribution. But as it relates to regional chains, we have not really been able to take advantage of as much of that. But I’d say over the last 18 months, it’s really been a huge focus of ours where we have started to evolve both the director of sales and the region sales manager’s role to be more of a hybrid on not only managing the distributor business, but managing those regional chains within that geography as well. I like to refer to it as a mayor of that geography. And so they’re already working closely with the distributors and then can work even that much more with, say the distributors chain person that probably has great relationships with some of those regional chains, and then us building that capability on our end, evolving from working just with the distributors to broadening that and calling on regional chains as well.
Luke Peters: How do you manage that? So let’s talk about the accountability question here. Do you have maybe a sales strategy type of document? Or how is it with all the accounts and the number of people that you’re managing? Is there some sort of meeting cadence that you’re having weekly and then some sort of reporting structure?It’d be great to understand how you put all that together.
Bridget Lasda: Sure, sure. I’m really excited about the tools and resources that we are enabling our team with. So we use a system called Shelf Space. It actually started, or the way that we were using the tool originally, it was for those mass merch specialist roles, the MMS roles that I mentioned that were primarily focused on Walmart, and the business development reps going into individual stores, and logging that information, and then being able to use that as a followup with a distributor. Well, in speaking with Shelf Space, we wanted to have something that was more of a CRM, a customer relationship management tool. And so we worked with Shelf Space for a couple months to evolve from just using it as a store-by-store, tactical selling execution tool to more of a CRM where we have loaded every possible customer that we know, whether we do business with them or we don’t. And we’ve got what we call a headquarter dashboard tracker, which would give all the information about that retailer as well: who’s the buyer, what’s their email, what’s their address? And so-
Luke Peters: And where do you get all that information from? All the data, the buyer information, where to get all the target details from?
Bridget Lasda: Yeah. So some of that we had. Some of that we would honestly find online. Some of that we would work with our distributors on who’s that contact and updating that information there. And so from there, our team is using that to update. So right now we’re just in the middle of 2021 sell-in. So the team’s responsibility is to go in and be updating this information. And then there are a couple of ways that we track this and discuss it as a team to drive that accountability that you talked about. Through Shelf Space, we’re actually able to get reports. So as the team is filling out that information, I’ll get a weekly report that is just sent to my inbox that will give me all of the updates that were put into the system. And so from that, I’ll use that to follow back up with the team.
Bridget Lasda: And now, before we even got to that, we did launch this with the team, set out what the expectations were, went through the tool, and then gave everybody a couple weeks time periods to be able to go into the system and update the information. And then what they do, there’s a second part of Shelf Space where then they log the weekly calls that they have. So every time they meet with a buyer, they’ll put the details of what happened during that call. And there’s a separate report that I actually get every day that gives me all the logged information from the team. And again, I’ll use that with the team. So if I see some really awesome progress that’s been made on some chains that we’ve talked about, I’ll either call them or send it to them in an email, congratulate them, or if they post a challenge that’s come up, I’ll do the same there.
Bridget Lasda: And then finally, another way that we’ve used this is we have two sales meetings a month. It started out as a monthly, formal sales meeting. And then through COVID, because we’re spread out all across the country and we weren’t able to travel, I wanted the team to still feel part of something. So we actually added a second informal call. And so on the one that we had just a couple of weeks ago, I asked the team to come prepared to the call that each region sales manager, RSM, would share their three regional chains that they were working on and their progress. So we’ve got the tool, but then this also gives people and our sales team the opportunity to share the progress that they were making with the rest of the team, and also the opportunity, if they were running into a hurdle, to pose what that was and to see if anybody had some suggestions for them. So we’ve made tremendous amount of progress. And I feel really confident about going into this next selling season.
Luke Peters: That’s great. And does the company have any formal, strategic plan that uses a specific kind of software or a specific framework on strategy planning? And if so, does that kind of fit into how the sales team plans, or is it mainly just using this one software product and tracking the leads and the progress there?
Bridget Lasda: Last year developed, quite honestly, it’s not Excel, but a planning document. And then we have a few others. Another one is called our CPW, or our customer planning workbook. So we start with a planning document, the huge built out Excel spreadsheet that’s got many, many tabs and lots of formulas in there, where the information from Shelf Space, all that customer and resell customer and distributor information is in this planning workbook. And so we’ll plan down to the skew level, how many expected skews we think we’re going to get, the projected rate of sale or velocity by week. And then this year, we actually added a probability factor in there to really give us an idea of what our volume and distribution targets could be for 2021. And then we have a couple of different components where it’s new distribution of a new customer. It could be existing distribution with a current customer. And then we have some amazing innovation to show that we launched Calypso Light. And so we also are projecting out or forecasting how much Calypso Light business and volume and distribution that we could get for 2021.
Luke Peters: What about how many total customers, unique customers? Because it sounds like the way you’re talking about it, that even if it’s a chain, that could be counted as one customer, or is each store, if they’re making individual decisions at the store level, is that counted as a customer? And however you look at it, how many total customers? And just to give listeners a scale of how many leads you’re going after.
Bridget Lasda: Sure. So there are hundreds of chains out there, especially if you take the regional chains out there. So we’ll look at a chain and consider that, call it 10 outlets. So there are hundreds out there. And then you also look at a massive chain like 7/11, which there’s a headquarter of 7/11 in Dallas, Texas, but so much of the selling with 7/11 is done at a store by store basis. So there are thousands of outlets that we’re actually in and probably hundreds when you think about the actual chain. So you’ve got your big grocers, and you’ve got your regional chains, convenience store chains, and then, like I said, down to the 10 store regional chains that we’re going after.
Luke Peters: Yeah, no, that’s super helpful. I bring it up just because everybody’s business is different. And sometimes, like I said earlier on, some businesses, the way they’re built or the categories they’re in, they’re only focusing on five, or seven, or eight big customers. And it looks like having that CRM and all of that data is so important in your business because there’s just huge potential for additional customers, and you already have a ton of customers. So it just fits into that business model. As we started, you have a ton of with Coke and Heineken, and I think VP of sales at both of those companies. What was maybe a mistake or an area that you failed in early on and something that you learned in sales leadership, or just building the sales team?
Bridget Lasda: I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There.
Luke Peters: Yeah, I have.
Bridget Lasda: I love that book. And I think early on when I got into sales leadership, I just continued to do the work that I was doing when I was a individual contributor and didn’t delegate as much. And so by not delegating that, I was taking on more. And then what I realized on later is that I wasn’t giving people the opportunity to succeed or make mistakes on their own. And when I think about my career progression and the opportunities that I’ve been given, it’s because people have delegated their work to me and given me that opportunity to do an awesome job or make mistakes and grow from that. And so that’s something that I really think about a lot, is, how do I just continue to give people those experiences and delegate more, because people are there to do a job and people want to do a great job, but you have to give them that opportunity to do the great job.
Luke Peters: Yeah. That makes a lot of sense. And going from that question, what are one to two key skills that you think most sales leaders could improve on or something that you’ve learned over time? Obviously you talk about delegation. Sales leadership, it can be such a vague term. What does it really mean? I really feel accountability is so important, because it improves communication and clarity, but I’d love to hear from you what you think are some areas that sales leaders, or even aspiring sales leaders can look to or try to work on.
Bridget Lasda: On leading a team, I think the biggest thing, and it probably sounds easy, but honestly it takes a lot of work is building a process and a routine to track, rank, and publish on the initiatives that you want to hold your team accountable to and yourself. And I’ll give this away, if anybody from King Juice, Calypso ends up listening to this podcast: I’ll put reminders in my calendar on when to follow up on certain things, because that’s my way of holding myself accountable, saying that I asked someone to do something, and I need to hold them accountable, and then here’s my follow up to do that. So we do that through a couple of different ways. We actually have a scorecard for our distributors, which drives accountability for our region sales managers. And we have a scorecard for our region sales managers as well.
Bridget Lasda: And I think most sales people are really, really competitive, and nobody wants to be on the bottom of the list. But being consistent with that. So as a leader, if you’re requesting something, or you’re saying you’re going to hold people accountable, or this is a an initiative for your sales team to grow sales, then you have to show that accountability and you have to just be relentless on that followup, and holding people accountable, and making people know that these are the expectations, and then people see you following through on that.
Luke Peters: Well, I can echo that. And I kind of like what you started with, which is, and I think you said, “Well, maybe it’s obvious.” Trust me, it isn’t obvious. You talk about building a process, tracking and ranking. Listen, I’ve had many levels of sales teams, and most recently we are much more process driven and definitely can see the results of that. And I just think all parts of business need to be process driven. So I couldn’t agree with that one more. And I’m glad you brought that up. Why don’t we talk about key learnings on going from, again, you were with large companies and now you’re with a smaller company? What are the key learnings that you’ve had navigating and making that change?
Bridget Lasda: Oh, I would say first, it is more work than I have done since probably I started working a long time ago, but I love it. I absolutely love it, but I definitely underestimated the amount of work. Because there could be some days when I am the key account manager for Walmart, and I’m also working on our international strategy and how we’re going to call on customers and grow the business internationally. I think that there are so many benefits for me from having come from a big company and now working with King Juice. And where we’ve got a ton of momentum and just a lot of growth opportunity is seeing what could be possible.
Bridget Lasda: I’ve worked with fantastic leaders at both Coke and Heineken, and to be on customer meetings or different projects with people there and all the resources that are available at those types of companies, and then to come here where our resources are obviously going to be much less, but you know what’s possible. You can see what excellent business development is, what excellent product launches look like in marketing and all of that. And so to be able to take those experiences and then bring it here. And although we don’t have the same amount of resources, you learn to do more with less, and you find ways to get it done. And it’s really been the most fun, and it’s also been the most work that I’ve done in many, many years.
Luke Peters: Two young kids. It’d be fun to hear like a secret on maybe how you organize your day, or any productivity tools, or just how you make that work obviously, and probably even doubly hard with COVID, right?
Bridget Lasda: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Luke Peters: Because I think your kids, were they three and five?
Bridget Lasda: Yeah, yeah.
Luke Peters: So maybe they’re in preschool, but I know preschool was shut down for a while. How do you make that part work?
Bridget Lasda: I am really obsessed with my time. And if a meeting is scheduled for an hour and it starts to go over an hour, it starts to make me anxious, because I am, like I said, really obsessed with my time and doing the most within the hours that I’m working as possible. But these also aren’t nine to five jobs. My husband and I have a really awesome team relationship where it’s a lot of communication on, “Look, I’ve got to be working here.” And then I also try to make the time to take Cameron, my son to school in the mornings.
Bridget Lasda: And so I wouldn’t say it’s a balance, because it’s definitely not a balance. I consider it integration of my life and my work. And so I’ve tried to make time for the kids and be there for dinner. And then if I need to jump on the computer later, I’ll do that. But early in the morning, I do like to take the kids to school, and it’s been challenging. But I’d say during the typical working hours, I try to cram as much as I can and I try to just stay really organized with what I need to do. And that’s why things get prioritized. And stuff that’s just not going to help us sell more Calypso is just not going to get done.
Luke Peters: Yeah. There you go. You definitely have to prioritize the time, but that’s the sign of a leader. You know where to spend your time and where not to spend your time. And a lot of younger people, it takes them a while to kind of understand that part and how to prioritize. And another good thing or something I really agree with, actually I like the word you used. You said you’re not worried about it being like a work-life balance; it’s an integration. And that’s the same way I see it as well. It should be fun, and you should work on the things that are important. And when you need to do something personal, you should be able to do that as well. I kind of like that a term and how you describe that.
Bridget Lasda: Yeah. If I could bring something up real quick, we did a product launch with BJ, and it started in the spring. And so obviously that was with COVID, and things were really crazy. But there were some BJ’s. There were a few on Long Island, which is about an hour from me. There was one about 30 minutes north of me. And I had the family drive with me to Long Island. They would sit in the parking lot, and I ran into the BJ’s, and checked on our eight packs that we launched with them, and talked to the manager if they were available, and came back. So there was a bit of a needing to think differently about how I was going to work too and just knowing that everyone was stuck inside the house, but it was really cool. My kids know what I do. They love Calypso Lemonade, and it’s fun to bring them on some of the stuff that I’m working on, because they find it really exciting and fun for them too.
Luke Peters: Story. Look, why don’t we move now from the sales leadership and accountability over to the distribution conversation? And the first thing is, just kind of a question or a thought that I had is, why even use distributors? And maybe this will take a little bit more explanation of your business and the distributor supply chain and how that works in the sales side, but why use distributors? Are you able to go direct? Or if not, you can talk about why it’s important in some cases to us them.
Bridget Lasda: First, I would say our distributors are an enormous part of our business, and so they are critically important to our success. We are able to go direct with some, and we do go direct with some retailers, but I will tell you, it’s really not our priority. And really that’s because the distributors have the infrastructure. They have the people, the resources. Quite honestly, they have the strong relationships in the market where they do business that we just wouldn’t have as a sales team of 22. So where we do go direct, it’s really because it’s customer requirements and it was the only way that we’d be able to get the business, but more it’s because we may not have had the distributor coverage. So there could be some counties out there that just don’t have a lot of retailers, and so there just hadn’t been a distributor for us. For the most part, across the US, we have most of the geographies covered, but for some counties that just don’t have the population, we might not have a distributor there, but there’s still a retail outlet.
Bridget Lasda: And so if we didn’t have the distribution there, then we wouldn’t have gotten the business. And so that would be another reason why we need to go direct. But really I’d say the distributors are so important for us. And I’ll just go back to, they’re the ones with the people, the feet on the street that are in and out of these stores every day that can help promote our business and the relationships. And we’re finding that even more available as we are going after these regional chains and that, again, as a sales team of 22, they’re going to have these stronger relationships that will help us get meetings. And I would say over the last couple of weeks, we’ve probably gotten a dozen meetings because of the distributor, us working with the distributor; the distributors got the relationship with the regional buyer, and they’ve opened the door for us to get a meeting and share the Calypso story.
Luke Peters: Got it. So they get the meeting. Your team goes and closes maybe with the distributor in the meeting. Is that usually how it works?
Bridget Lasda: Yep, yep.
Luke Peters: Oh, that’s cool. So I get it, and it makes total sense. And they have the infrastructure. And then are you managing the accounts afterwards, or is it a thing where the distributor manages the accounts? Who’s actually making the calls afterwards, and who’s having to handle questions from the costumer?
Bridget Lasda: It could vary, but I would say a lot of times, once we’ve made the connection, since we then have identified ourselves with a customer lead, then that business could be moved over to us. There are a few instances where the retailers, because the distributor has so many other products that they’re working with that customer on that they just want everything to funnel through the distributor, but as the chains get bigger, that’s less the case and more that we would then take over the business, which is also something that we prefer just so we can be there and be able to support the Calypso business. But we have a ton of faith in our distributor partners. So it kind of varies, but ultimately we’ve got a chain infrastructure where we would be able to handle those customer calls and business development.
Luke Peters: Awesome. And are you able to lay out maybe a playbook to win with distributors? You could break it down to like three steps or three actions. And just to give it more context, the hard part with distributors is sometimes you don’t know what the right distributor is. Let’s just take, say a Walmart. there could be many distributors that will call on a Walmart, or they might be distributors, or they might be rep companies, or they might be both. And then the other thing is, how do you grade them after you’ve signed a contract or a deal with them? So it’d be great to hear on your end, if you just lay out a quick little playbook and how that looks.
Bridget Lasda: Sure. So to break it out to a couple of steps and what has been working for us over the last, call it two years or so, is setting up a frequency with the distributors. So we are one of thousands of skews that they have in their warehouse. Everyone is buying for time from the distributor to make sure that you can get your priorities heard and get the buy-in from the distributor. So the one thing was setting some type of frequency. So we have done some work on distributor segmentation. How often should we be working with the distributors? And before COVID, how often should we be face-to-face? We’ve obviously evolved that now to video calls, and phone calls, and obviously utilizing email as well. So the first would be frequency and figuring out what’s the frequency level that we should be meeting with the distributors.
Bridget Lasda: And the next one is on the content that we’d be providing distributors, utilizing the different datasets that we’ve got, whether it’s using our Shelf Space. We also use a few other data sets. One is called VIP, Vermont information Processing. It gets all of our sales from the distributors. We have our own shipment data in what we’ve shipped to distributors. And then we also have syndicated data like IRI that we use. So putting our story together for distributors and having some consistent content that we’d be providing us updates to the distributors to give them even more competent on them distributing Calypso and seeing the growth that we’ve got has been a real big help.
Bridget Lasda: And then third, and this goes to driving accountability for your sales team as well, is on the follow-up and follow-through. So you set the frequency. How often are we going to meet with the distributors? Once a month, once a quarter, twice a year. What’s the content in getting our Calypso story straight, utilizing data, because we’ve got such a great story? And then finally, following up and following through with the distributors on what we both have said that we’re going to do.
Bridget Lasda: And then you ask, how do we grade? We actually have a distributor scorecard that we use a few of these different data sets that I mentioned. So it could be volume, distribution, innovation, Walmart sell-in, and we update this every month. And that’s another way that we use to communicate to distributors. And again, distributors are very competitive also. So they could see within their other group of distributors how they’re ranking based on the scorecard. So nothing’s perfect, but it certainly helps set up the conversation. And again, it goes to driving accountability and us being partners on how we’re going to grow the business.
Luke Peters: Yeah. And that’s really process-driven. How much of these processes were set up before you came in? Or did you kind of put the majority of these processes in place?
Bridget Lasda: Starting. David Klavsons is our CEO. He had had experience with some these tools that I had mentioned, but some like the distributor scorecard he had been talking about. And then when I came on, we were able to really put it together and execute it with the team. Shelf Space, as I mentioned, that was something that the team was just using as an in-store execution tracker. And then when I came on, we talked more about this business development, and going out to these regional chains, and realizing that we needed more of a CRM type tool or something like that. So we evolved that there. So I would say some were starting. And then when I came in, I was able to help provide that support, and that more closely linked to the team to set up the process and the routines around using these tools and what we expected.
Luke Peters: Yeah. And Bridget, I’ll make a statement, and then I’d love to hear your opinion, but this is kind of for the business owners out there that are listening. Some of them are smaller; some of them are bigger. And just one thing that I’ve seen and actually with a lot of my friend’s companies is there’s always this question of, “If we’re bringing in key hires or key executives into certain positions,” and then you’re looking at, “Okay, they’re coming from a big company,” or they’re coming from a company like yours, “And how are they going to fit in if they’re from a big company?” There’s so many questions, and we did talk a little bit about that with you integrating with Calypso. But one thing I have seen is that people that come from bigger companies, they are more process driven and more organized, for lack of maybe a better word, but just really focused on process, because that probably born in the big companies. And there’s more of a need for that, whereas smaller companies, maybe they’re more entrepreneurial and they’re a little bit more scattered. So I’ve seen that benefit of bringing in leaders from larger companies because they can bring that structure. And it sounds, that’s kind of exactly what you’re doing at Calypso.
Bridget Lasda: Yeah. I would agree with that. I think the expectations on what the sales team had before and what they moved to as, we were really looking for this growth acceleration on Calypso. And so in order to do that, you’ve got to change the behaviors to see those results. So I would definitely say that. Though I would tell you that, even if someone is coming from a smaller company and maybe doesn’t have that experience with the process and all of that, the marriage of this hungry, don’t take no for an answer, then coupled with the process and the routines really makes for an awesome sales force. And I think that that’s what we have been putting together. But with that, coming from a big company or knowing that I’m very process oriented, and if that wasn’t the way that the culture was before, it’s figuring out and bringing people along and being able to show them those benefits. Because you want to be able to keep the institutional knowledge, but then evolve to help support a growing business like ours.
Luke Peters: Yep. Couldn’t agree more. It makes just perfect sense there. Why don’t we finish up with a question, because you gave a really nice playbook on how to win with distributors, how to grade them, how often you interface with them, and how much there should be. Why don’t we finish here with, what are some promotional and pricing strategies that have helped you at Calypso?
Bridget Lasda: We’ve done a lot of work on that more recently where we’ve tried to take more ownership on what our promotional and pricing strategy was going to look like, because in our industry, you can sell a bottle for a dollar, and of course it’s going to sell, but that’s not what we want to do. So we took some time to look at the calendar and figure out what months did we want to run some promotions, and looking at it from a channel perspective too, and what retails made sense, and trying to have quarterly promotions, but then also not trying to run promotions on top of each other, call it in the summer months, but those are the best months to go after. But I’d say the biggest point for us as it relates to promotional and pricing strategy is to couple that with the executional element, because for us, just to have a pricing component on the shelf, if we don’t have that supplemental display component with it as well, we’ll just run into out of stocks on the shelf, disappointed consumers, and ultimately an angry retailer if you’ve run out of stock.
Bridget Lasda: So we’ve looked at our calendar, and I think we continue to do better with that. We’re also looking more at the digital coupon space and how we can do more with. We just started a little bit about this year with a few retailers, some more to come. But having a single serve lemonade really helps. And just making sure that we’ve got the right pricing strategies out there that drives the most growth and margin for the retailer, the distributor, and us, our is our goal.
Luke Peters: And ow many distributors do you have? And the reason I’m asking this is because we’re talking about promotional pricing. You have lots of customers. It’s hard enough to do promotional pricing when you have 10 or 15 customers. I don’t know how you do it when you have hundreds of them and try to synchronize that. Are you having to do that? Or is it actually less because you’re working through a distributor and you can do it at that level?
Bridget Lasda: [inaudible 00:34:37] your question about distributors, we’ve got over 160, I would say. But one of the great things when I came in, there was a bit of a national pricing that was already set up that the team had aligned to. It does get very administrative heavy, sorry, as we think about working with the distributors and meeting margin requirements. But for the most part, that hasn’t been a huge challenge for us as it was something that was a bit set in for us already. And again, having a portfolio that doesn’t have a bunch of different package types and needing to work on that, which we’ll definitely have to work on in the future, it doesn’t make it as complex. And so working through the distributors, I would say, there’s already been good working with them on pricing, but that hasn’t been as complex for us.
Luke Peters: Listen, this is a great conversation. I love the accountability part, and then talking about the processes, and then diving into your business, and just understanding how the distributors work. And hopefully the listeners got a lot of value out of that. How can listeners connect with you or learn more about you, Bridget?
Bridget Lasda: LinkedIn. So Bridget Lasda, please. And then for Calypso, drink Calypso, @drinkcalypso, also on LinkedIn, our website, our Instagram and Facebook. Would love to have more likes and followers.
Luke Peters: Awesome. Well, listen, it’s been a pleasure having you here, and I want to thank everybody for listening to this episode of the Page 1 podcast, sponsored by Retail Band, and really appreciate your reviews on Apple and all the other outlets online for the podcast. And we’ll see you on the next interview.
Speaker 1: Thanks for listening to the Page 1 podcast with Luke Peters. If you enjoyed this episode, please help us out by leaving us a rating on iTunes. Want to double your online sales? Check out www.retailband.com. And don’t forget to join us next week with our next amazing guest.
Get a FREE evaluation of your online sales strategy
Contact Bridget Lasda: LinkedIn