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Case studies

Case Study #1 – Mid-Sized Brand Looking for More Profitability

A problem that many successful small- to medium-sized wineries face is that they are really good at producing high quality wines, yet they don’t have the time or expertise to develop an impactful “go to market” strategy with their channel partners. These types of wineries generally have passionate sales professionals who are terrific at selling wine, building and sustaining relationships, and talking about the brand, but they were never taught how to successfully manage the distributor to maximize their brand’s full potential. This scenario typically results in above-average profits for channel partners and only average returns for the winery.

The benchmark for a successful winery is to produce high quality, profitable wines that become (or remain) important to the consumer.

A prominent, blue chip, mid-sized California winery was selling its production every year, but was concerned that its sales and marketing departments were not maximizing the brand’s potential in the market. The winery did not have the expertise to leverage its brand strength with its distributor network (sound familiar?).

They looked to Palmateer Wine Group to adjust their marketing and sales strategy so that their team could be more successful building their brand profitably with their distributors.
Over the course of the engagement, Palmateer Consulting:

  • Analyzed and studied their current strategy and tactics (or methodology).
  • Identified how their brand was performing relative to their direct competitors.
  • Interviewed several of their key channel partners to gain perspective about what was working and what could be improved.
  • Provided new tools and techniques to the winery owner so that he could be a more competent manager.
  • Worked with and mentored their sales team to enable them to become more successful sales managers and establish profitable relationships with their channel partners.

After one year, the winery sales and marketing teams were able to successfully:

  • Expect a higher level of performance from their channel partners.
  • Become stronger negotiators, so that both the winery and distributor could experience above average returns.
  • Become more directive and specific about the goals and objectives.
  • Become more communicative with their distributors to keep them current and informed.
  • Add value to their distributor relationships by knowing how to sell wine to trade accounts on their own, without being completely dependent on their distributor.

Case Study #2 – Newly Created Imported Brand

Many international producers struggle with selling their wines in the United States. Our complicated alcohol beverage laws, along with a diverse marketplace, make it very difficult for European, South American, South African, or Australian producers to gain a foothold. We’ve helped many clients overcome the basic obstacles and become quite successful selling their wines in the U.S.

Palmateer Wine Group was approached by one such client, who was looking to launch a new brand to the U.S. market. They had no track record in the country, and needed guidance. With our help, they were able to:

  • Establish a target list of distributors and importers that would become long term partners.
  • Gain access to this target list of channel partners to negotiate and secure meaningful and long term relationships.
  • Recruit and hire a sales team to support distributors effectively. (This initiative would coincide with the growth of the brand.)
  • Secure distributor partners in 32 states with important medium- to large-sized distributors within nine months.
  • Secure a national program with two major retail chains, within 12 months.

Case Study #3 – Established Imported Brand

It can be easy at times for foreign wineries to lose their momentum in the United States if they don’t stay diligent. Sometimes the causes for declined sales are obvious, but often enough, they seem elusive.

Palmateer Wine Group was approached by a foreign winery with one of the top 10 brands in its country. It had been faced with several challenges and its U.S. sales had steadily declined for five years. This was despite the fact that its category experienced exceptional growth and its sales to other export countries remained strong. The company turned to us for help to determine the reasons for the sales decline and recommend how it could be revived. The producer also wanted us to determine if its importer was the right fit, and if it was, how to improve the relationship and get its distribution network focused on growing the brand. With our help, they were able to:

  • Increase sales by 50%, and improve winery and importer profitability by 10%, within 18 months.
  • Improve the relationship and communication between the winery and importer. They agreed on an action plan to address the areas of weakness and are now more responsive to one another.
  • Reestablish the brand’s messaging and key features, forgoing price as the only selling point.

Case Study #4 – Domestic Winery with Aggressive Sales Goals

Just because you’re a domestic winery, doesn’t make it any easier to navigate the complicated waters of the alcohol beverage sales channel. Sometimes, despite all they do, and all their experience in the U.S. marketplace, domestic wineries need a little help to get to the next level.

Palmateer Wine Group was approached by an established domestic winery, with distribution in 32 markets. The bulk of this winery’s sales came from brands positioned at a very hot price point ($10-$12 retail), while its competitors were priced much higher. In spite of its great value proposition, its growth rate was low relative to its competitors and market opportunities. The winery hired us to help it reach its goal of accelerated sales and increased distribution to 10 markets over two years. With our help, they were able to:

  • Secure 10 new distributors that have compatible and resourceful channel partners.
  • Increase profits by 10% due to the increased focus on higher-priced wines.
  • Hire two new sales managers who have had a great impact on the bottom line.
  • Double sales by the end of Year Three.
  • palmateer wine group
  • san rafael, ca
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