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10
 
Aug
 
2023
 - 
7
 Min Read

How to Build a Top-Performing Catering Sales Team

Explore what it looks like to build an outbound sales organization within an enterprise restaurant. From recruitment and strategy to alignment with operations, learn the secrets from industry expert Jim Rand.

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Now, you're ready to elevate your catering business to the next level by transforming it into a legitimate revenue driver. Building an outbound sales organization within an enterprise restaurant setting is both intricate and multifaceted. Recently, we had an opportunity to sit down with Jim Rand, who has a prolific history of leading and building catering programs for renowned brands like Panera Bread, P.F. Chang's, Act III Holdings, and ezCater. Jim shared his insights on the precise steps needed to construct an efficient outbound sales team and reach the full potential of your catering operations.

Commitment & Planning

As a first step, catering leaders must make a commitment to building the catering sales organization. Acknowledging that you'll be adding resources is crucial, but equally important is the understanding that patience is essential in this journey. Building a highly efficient sales team and a successful catering program doesn't happen overnight. It requires careful planning, iterative improvement, and a dedication to nurturing the development of both people and processes.

Before building out an outbound sales organization for your catering business, do you have these things?

  • Business Plan: Have you created a business plan that includes sales forecasts, along with the corresponding resources needed to achieve those forecasts? This is the foundation for your sales organization.
  • Clear Roadmap: Equally important for the beginning stages is a clear roadmap that allows for gradual enhancement and refinement of strategies and tactics. Do you have a flexible plan that can adapt as your organization grows and changes?

With these foundational elements in place, you can pave the way for a robust and successful outbound sales organization that's primed to elevate your catering business into a genuine source of revenue.

Determining Sales Organization Size, Leadership, and Responsibilities

Once committed to building out an outbound sales organization for your catering channel, you need to decide on the organization's size and structure. 

Here are Jim's key points:

  • Recruit a Sales Leader, Not Merely a Salesperson: Sales abilities are undeniably important, but don't overlook the need for leadership and management skills. A frequent mistake is to hire an outstanding salesperson who excels in selling but lacks the necessary leadership qualities.
  • Hospitality Experience Matters: A sales leader with experience in restaurant or hotel sales is beneficial since selling catering differs significantly from other sales cycles.
  • Aligning Sales Territories: Many brands mistakenly assign sales territories based on geography. Jim recommends allowing salespeople to sell to anyone, anywhere. What matters is where the consumer is and where the restaurant can deliver, not the salesperson's location.
  • Defining Roles and Responsibilities: Ensuring that each team member understands their function and accountability contributes to a more streamlined and effective sales process. Collaborative goal-setting and clear communication of expectations can set the team up for success.

Implementing CRM/Sales Management Tool

A CRM (Customer Relationship Management) or sales management tool is vital for executing sales strategies in your catering business.

Here’s why a CRM is a valuable investment for your catering program: 

  • Tracking and Management: A CRM allows for the tracking and managing of sales efforts across various territories and restaurants.
  • Risk Reduction: Without a CRM, you risk losing accountability and performance management, leading to inconsistencies and missed opportunities.
  • Data Analysis and Customer Engagement: A CRM facilitates data-driven insights and helps build and maintain relationships with clients through personalized communication.
  • Efficiency: A CRM centralizes information and enhances collaboration within the sales team, improving overall efficiency.

In short, a CRM or sales management tool is more than an organizational asset. It's a strategic component that supports sales efforts, enhances customer relationships, and ensures responsiveness and growth.

Team Building

Building a successful sales team for your catering business involves careful planning and strategic alignment with operations. 

Here are four ways you can create a strong and cohesive team:

  1. Recruit the Right Profile: Seek salespeople with a competitive edge and hospitality sales experience.
  2. Sales Reporting Structure: Manage sales through experts, fostering collaboration with operators.
  3. Connecting Sales with Operations: Maintain a strong link with operations leadership, with sales preferably reporting to a growth function.
  4. General Management Approach: Consider a 'business within the business' model, like Panera, to manage both catering operations and sales.

By focusing on these key aspects, you can forge a synergistic relationship between sales and operations, driving your catering business forward.

Foster an Environment of Accountability and Recognition

To thrive, a sales organization needs to balance these three essential components:

  • Accountability: Establish a rhythm of goals, rewarding achievements, and imposing fair consequences for lack of performance.
  • Recognition: Regularly acknowledge and celebrate accomplishments. Recognition fosters a positive environment and motivates the team to continually strive for excellence.
  • Leadership with Tough Love: Balance motivation with accountability. Set up the team for success and remain firm if responsibilities are not met.

By implementing these principles, you’ll create an encouraging yet accountable atmosphere that drives success in your sales team.

Final Thoughts

Building an outbound sales organization within an enterprise restaurant isn't a straightforward process. It involves deliberate planning, understanding the unique nature of restaurant sales, and balancing leadership and accountability.

The insights provided by Jim Rand serve as a practical guide for anyone looking to embark on this journey. Following these principles, restaurant owners can build a sales organization that not only fits their business model but also positions them for sustainable growth and success.

Remember, each organization is unique, and there's no one-size-fits-all approach. Tailor these guidelines to your particular situation, keeping in mind that a well-structured sales organization is a vital component of your enterprise restaurant's continued growth.

Don’t Forget Delivery

Building an effective outbound sales organization is just one part of a thriving catering business. To truly excel, you need a partner that understands the complexities and dynamics of the catering world.

At Nash, we specialize in catering delivery solutions that are designed to streamline operations, enhance customer experience, and boost revenue. From delivery logistics to cutting-edge technology, we provide the tools and support you need to make your catering service a standout success.

Whether you're just starting your journey in the catering world or looking to take your existing business to the next level, Nash is here to assist. Let's work together to create memorable dining experiences and drive your business forward.

Get in touch today to explore how Nash can be your partner in success. Let us help you revolutionize your catering business.If you’ve been reading the Nash Catering Series, you've likely established your catering infrastructure, begun to build a successful brand marketing program, and started navigating the art of off-premises catering.

Deliver catering orders with confidence

Take control of your most complex, high-value catering orders with Nash. Tap into our global provider network for reliable delivery wherever you grow.

Learn More

Deliver catering orders with confidence

Take control of your most complex, high-value catering orders with Nash. Tap into our global provider network for reliable delivery wherever you grow.

Learn More

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