The pandemic has been hard for many association’s members. The International Foodservice Manufacturers Association created a new toolkit to help its members better transition from the in-person sales world of the past to the digital world of the pandemic.
With the pandemic forcing so many business processes to go virtual, the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association knew its members needed help keeping up. With this is mind, IFMA released a new Virtual Operator Engagement Toolkit recently.
“Members are going to be able to more effectively sell in an online world by using the recommendations in the toolkit,” said Charlie McConnell, IFMA’s senior director of insights and best practices.
The toolkit is the first product of a new standing committee IFMA created called the Go-To-Market Planning Program. That group is made up of 30 members and its goal is to tackle important issues members are facing and offer guidance.
“The first section [members] asked for was recommendations on how to improve their capabilities around virtual selling because, of course, their salespeople were not able to meet with foodservice operators face to face in 2020,” McConnell said. “They looked to the association to get them a toolkit they could use and best practices they could implement.”
The engagement toolkit is available to all members and is broken into three components across six different foodservice sectors.
“The first component focuses on the needs of the foodservice operator and how those needs can be met,” McConnell said. “The second part is a maturity model which allows the member to assess themselves on where they are in the level of maturity around virtual selling. The third component is a list of technology providers that companies can use to advance their virtual selling capabilities.”
While the toolkit officially launched March 9, a soft launch happened earlier this year, and the feedback has been good.
“They all gave it a lot of positive reviews, in terms of being able to implement some of the best practices right away,” McConnell said. “Other recommendations, they realized would require a longer-term investment, but they also realized where some of the investments needed to be made if they were going to move up the maturity model.”
IFMA is very pleased with this first resource from the Go-To-Market Program committee and expects the group to offer a variety of useful resources in the future. “The Virtual Operator Engagement toolkit is just the first deliverable among many,” McConnell said. “What they’re going to do at their next meeting is begin to sort through some different ideas on other best practices that can be built.”