Automatic Merchandiser

AUG 2015

Automatic Merchandiser serves the business management, marketing, technology and product information needs of its readers including vending operators, coffee service operators, product brokers, and product and equipment distributors in print.

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"We are just at 30 percent cashless. We fnd that we don't have to cover every machine to get the full beneft. It's more the 80-20 rule." Over the next fve years, Rosenberg plans to migrate to all vending machines accepting cashless payments. In the meantime, he is balancing his investment in this area and more importantly, the company's bandwidth in backing and sustaining other processes that will deliver greater synergies or returns. Offering the total package In an environment with broad con- sumer demands and large numbers of locations that are price conscious, it's important for Accent to sell on the fact that they are a total refreshment solution company. "We do everything we can to focus on bundled solu- tions to drive total value," explained Rosenberg. "We have retention man- agement, channel management and our team asks the location to give us everything, not just the coffee. We can usually sell against low price and commission with our total value proposition. And where we can't, we have to make a conscious decision if we want to do business and whether it's the right ft." Accent's reputation for excellent service supports the bundled solu- tions concept. "First and foremost, your clients have to be able to speak for you," said Rosenberg. Accent has some fagship clients that make very strong references. "We are big on saying 'Don't ask us, ask our current partners.'" Accent promotes tours to allow potential customers to ask questions of existing locations. Rosenberg has confdence in what his existing cli- ents will say in part because Accent has made strategic investments in nontraditional areas. "We have key account retention specialists in every market that are frst respond- ers and manage our client portfolios. We have channel management in our OCS and market divisions. [And] we have customer care teams to support immediate response to customer needs," said Rosenberg. "We've tried to create a culture of inclusion and a model which puts our most important asset frst: people," said Rosenberg. "Our people and our customers are our most valu- able assets. And we operate with the highest level of respect and account- ability to both." Its dedication to ser- vice fts well with technology, which allows Accent to see real-time data, be nimble and proactively manage the operation. "In 2014 we added $9 million in sales, 2.5 times what we have ever done," said Rosenberg. He plans to expand further through acquisitions and organic growth. No need to look elsewhere for profts, Rosenberg is investing in his team's success to cre- ate his own. How To Win New Business Accent dedicated a substantial amount of time and money to adding a sales tool and regular sales training. It's a strategy many in the industry overlook. "Two years ago when I got here, we invested in Salesforce and we doubled our new business sales for that year," said Rosenberg. Salesforce is a type of customer relationship management (CRM) software, available on the computer and as a mobile device app. Rosenberg spent the capital to customize the Salesforce tool to work with Accent's specifc market and needs. "We brought in consultants, product mapping and two years in we're still seeking full adoption. It's just like with RMM, it doesn't happen overnight. It's takes time to change and ad- just perceptions of value," he explained. It's still a worthwhile investment as it provides business leads, unprecedented ability to discuss sales, customer care strategies in real-time and many other benefts. TRAINING & MARKETING ARE A MUST In addition to having the hardware and software to succeed, training is a high priority for Rosenberg. "We invest heavily in training from call discovery and creating big ideas to negotiating for value and collaborative sales approaches with clients." To go along with sales approaches, Accent has created collateral market- ing materials from presentations on iPads to a one-minute promotional video which shows a customer everything Accent can offer. "The video was a year in production — interviewing clients and doing onsite im- age and videography," said Rosenberg. "However, it changes the game when one of our team members is competing against a stapled packet of papers during a bidding process." 38 Automatic Merchandiser August 2015 O P E R A T I O N P R O F I L E

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