Strong Bonds Seal the Deal

As the foodservice market continues to evolve, rep groups and manufacturers are seeking new ways to better support channel partners and end users. We’ve asked Dr. Revenue – nationally-known sales and marketing consultant John Haskell – to share his thoughts on potential best-practice considerations. Following is Part 3 in our four-part series, focusing on how strong bonds seal a long-term relationship.

How much is enough to attract top Reps? Money talks!

There is no doubt commission is the key to the relationship between manufacturer and Rep.  If the manufacturer has a very small piece of a given market—either geographic or by market segment, then the large powerful well equipped and well managed rep firms will not be interested.

If the manufacturer is bringing a lot to the party, then the manufacturer can court and secure the services of a major Rep firm.   Will the manufacturer automatically see huge gains in sales and profits?

Traditional manufacturer positions like national account managers and major account support managers may be no longer necessary with the right Rep partner.

Nothing is automatic:

Retaining a large, sophisticated Rep group is only going to be successful, if the manufacturer, no matter how much commission they can start the Rep with, has a powerful, well organized and well structured sales and marketing plan.

Manufacturers who are simply throwing product, no matter how good and no matter how well priced are kidding themselves.   To work with a major Rep firm the manufacturer has to bring more than product and price to the party.

The manufacturer has to have a complete program for managing the Reps and for maximizing the return on investment in the Rep organizations.

The manufacturer has to be ready to support the Reps across the board.   

Regional management may not be necessary:

One major source of savings by being a major manufacturer with a sophisticated, professional sales and marketing organization is that there is very little need for field sales management.  The big Rep firms do all the management tasks that manufacturers previously thought they had to supply.

In addition, several other functions that manufacturers have deemed vital to their sales efforts can be eliminated when a Power Rep is retained.   Positions like national account managers and major account support managers are no longer necessary.  The large, powerful Rep firm has individuals assigned to these customers and these top managers are assigned to continuous dialogue and dealings with all of them.

Eliminate the curse of turnover.

Manufacturers need to recognize the entrepreneurial nature of the Rep business and understand the difference between their personnel and the Rep firm’s personnel.

Many of the managers working for the Rep firm have been high ranking managers for manufacturers.   Why did they jump the fence?  In most cases because this type of manager is an entrepreneur. 

Let me out!

They want to escape the structure and strictures of working for a big company.  Although the Rep firm may be a big business, it is an entrepreneurial environment with many privledges and benefits these managers can’t receive working for a manufacturer.  This entrepreneurial environment results in a very significant reduction in turn-over.   These managers are lifers.  They love their work and they work for many many years—a huge benefit to the manufacturers they represent.

About Dr. Revenue

John Haskell, Dr. Revenue® is a professional speaker and marketing/sales consultant with more than 40 years of experience working with companies utilizing manufacturers’ reps and helping rep firms.  He has created the Principal Relations X-Ray, spoken to hundreds of rep associations and groups, including many programs for MANA and MAFSI.  He is also a regular contributor to Agency Sales and other trade magazines.  For more information see or contact John at

Next Time:  Power Reps Deliver

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