Growing your Drinks Brand with On-Trade Field Sales


Growing your drinks brand in the on-trade should be a key part to any drinks brand’s strategy.

At JME Drinks Consultancy, our key service is our on-trade Field Sales Team.

We cover major cities over the UK, selling premium and craft beer, wine and spirit brands to the on-trade.


Our Founder, Jenny Mary Elliott, has enjoyed a successful career in Field Sales, first in the beauty industry, then moving to drinks. Jenny has hired managed, trained and developed Field Sales Teams over the UK and Globally over the last 20 years.


Here are some of Jenny’s top tips to get your brand and your team ready to grow in on-trade Field Sales.


First of all, you need to be clear on your Brand Proposition. Spend time setting out your Brand Story clearly, and creating a visually appealing, impactful sales deck and one-pager for use out in trade.


Who and where are these?

  • Target consumers
  • Target occasions
  • Venue types that can sell your product to fulfil that occasion 
  • Geographies you want to target 



Next you must understand what ‘good looks like’

Scour the bars in your target zones for what I call ‘sales clues’ which are data points that tell you ‘my brand should sell well here’

Also, ensure you learn as much as you can about your competitors. Gather information on everything they do before you set out your own offering. Look at pricing, rate of sale and marketing support offered.


What does good look like?

  • Understand your target bars’ pricing & GP needs
  • What is an average rate of sale of your competitors
  • What marketing support needed to drive growth



Ideally, this work should all be done before you’ve even created your product, thus ensuring that your brand commercials stack up. It’s quite simple if you have all of the above information in front of you.


Will your brand commercials stack up?

  • What are your COGS
  • What is your cost to deliver
  • Have you taken into consideration margins for RTM and bars
  • Have you assigned a marketing budget to drive growth
  • Have you set aside money for additional retros or listing fees
  • Are these commercials sustainable


Now we are clear on our brand’s offering, pricing, and who we want to sell to, the next question is how do we service those bars? In the on-trade long term growth means partnering with local or regional wholesalers. At the least they are your ‘wheels’ enabling the bar to order your product alongside everything else they need for that week, meaning one order – one delivery – one invoice. Some bars will place a direct sale straight from the brand, but to access groups or bigger customers – we need an RTM.


Who do we want to partner with?

  • What RTMs do my target customers currently use
  • What RTMs have reps on the road in my target areas, that I could network with
  • What RTMs actively sell my category successfully
  • What RTMs are open to speaking to me


Next up let’s talk about Team. It might just be you, the founder to start with, but you will grow into needing outside support. That could be a sales agency like JME, or you could hire your own team. Being clear on all of the above, especially what customers you are selling to, should mean it’s clearer to you what level of team experience you need. However, this will also depend on what level of experience you have, as the founder.


  • What level of experience team do you need – this is dependent on your target customers
  • How many team members do you need – what geographies would they cover
  • Create clear JDs and Roles & Responsibilities documents
  • Set clear KPIs that are achievable but stretching
  • Create a plan for recruitment & induction
  • Create a plan for training & coaching 
  • Create a plan for people management ongoing 



The last check point before you hit the bars is to decide exactly where to go. Using all the above information you can build out a strong prospect list for you and your team to use. Using a good, app-based CRM system is essential to keep track of progress both whilst prospecting, and once bars become customers. At JME we use and recommend BOWIMI.

  • Target the right geography / cities  
  • Target the right consumers & drinking occasions by venue type
  • Create a suitable and credible prospect list
  • Keep all customer information, progress and orders up to date in one place







JME Drinks Consultant Consultancy Jenny Mary Elliott field sales teams drinks industry bar on trade off trade

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