The Olam sales team was struggling to come up with unique, easy to put together demonstrations for their sales calls. The team wanted to elevate their presentations beyond showing samples in portion cups. Several obstacles were in their way – limited time, limited space, very little to no cooking equipment and varying levels of cooking acumen. To further challenge the sales team, each buyer wanted to see something relevant to his or her business (of course). CuliNex’s challenge was to come up with easily adaptable recipes that showcase Olam’s vegetable and capsicum purees.
We started by assessing the target audience for this particular sales force. In this case, the sales team was focused on industrial applications. We asked a handful of questions to further narrow down cooking options – Were sales team members staying in suite-style rooms that might have a refrigerator? A microwave? What about access to cooking tools? Did the sales team have enough time to grocery shop just before the presentation, or was it more realistic to assume they’d have to hand carry items? In addition, the recipes had to reflect industrial usage. Focusing on industrial buyers and product developers, how would a client view Olam vegetable products and how could we best highlight their attributes? Knowing that ingredients, cooking tools and time were at a premium, we developed four recipes that utilized high quality pre-made or packaged food stuffs that the sales team could enhance using the Olam product(s) of their choosing. The resulting recipes were well received by the sales team – a marinade for sales meetings that allowed a little cooking either in a hotel kitchen or on-site at the buying office, a hummus dip flavored with any variety of Olam’s aromatic vegetable purees, a vinaigrette for vegetables and salad and a barbecue sauce that was easily adaptable to the client’s needs. All four recipes had variations listed for a wide variety of ethnic, seasonal and home meal replacement products. We took the recipes with us to California and spent a day with the sales team, discussing the attributes of their products and teaching them the new presentation recipes. To add a little fun to the session, after we finished the demonstration portion of the program, we split the group into 4 teams, gave them a mystery box of ingredients and asked them to use the four newly developed base recipes to create variations of their own, making lunch for the participants.
In today’s market, sales teams have to have more in their arsenal than unadorned product samples. When talking with buyers and product developers, as was the case with Olam, in-application demonstrations can set a company above the competition. After this brief training session, the Olam sales team is now equipped with easy to execute recipes that allow them to showcase Olam products rather than merely sampling them.