Go Back Homepage Print
Insights to Accelerate International Expansion
Scorecard Guide
Our Mission: Help Manufacturers “Spend time Selling to Distributors versus Searching for Distributors”
In This Issue
Sell to 96 Countries
Looking for new customers and
distributors in international markets?
Export Solutions’ distributor database
covers more than 9,200 distributors
in 96 countries. Our database features
extensive coverage of leading food,
confectionery, and beverage distributors.
New! Export Solutions’ retailer database
now tracks 2,700 retailers in 96 countries.
Order now at www.exportsolutions.com.
Export development has evolved from
opportunistic shipments to foreign
countries to strategic brand building.
This requires a new level of business
management for companies desiring to
take their international business to the
next level. The distributor community
experienced radical changes, with
a big gap between “Best in Class”
performers and old school traders who
just buy and resell. Export Solutions’
new guide provides valuable
scorecards and templates to calibrate
performance by your distributor teams.
Each distributor includes functional
experts responsible for key account
sales, brand management, logistics,
and merchandising. Export Solutions’
scorecards supply assessment templates
analyzing performance across a
minimum of fifteen key attributes
required for succeeding in each area.
All distributors claim good relationships
with their largest customers. Our
scorecard provides metrics to calibrate
distributor effectiveness at translating
buyer contacts into tangible results.
Establishing a network of strong
distributors is “job one” for most export
managers. Our scorecards provide a
practical methodology to recognize your
top distributor performers as well as
underachievers who impact your ability
to achieve your own personal targets.
This guide shares detailed criteria for
evaluating potential new distributors .
A listing map is the one form required
for each country. This chart captures
authorized listings by sku at the top 8-10
customers in each country. Companies
record sales at the moment they secure
in-store placement. Listing maps focus
and track this essential element in the
store coverage cycle. Coming soon:
Export Solutions’ Retailer Database
tracking 2,700 retailers in 96 countries,
including store counts by customer.
3 Distributor respects what the principal inspects.
3 KPI’s separate boardroom promises from retail reality.
3 Listing map: critical one page road map for every country.
3 Good news travels fast. Bad news travels sloooooowly.
3 The shelf doesn’t lie!
Greg's Guidance
Page 2
Distributor Market Review
Page 3
Distributor Capability Assessment
Page 10
Customer Relationship Assessment
Page 19
Ten Questions:
Developing your Cooperation Model
Page 23
Field Sales
Capability Assessment
Page 31
FAQ’s – Retailer Database
Page 36
Cost Calculation Assessment
Page 38
Preferred Supplier Scorecard
Page 48
Introduction to Export Catalyst
Scorecard: What’s Measured is Treasured!
Criteria Rating Evaluation Factors
Shipment Results
Overall growth for our industry in your market?
Distributor company wide sales performance (all
Distributor sales results for my brand?
Change vs. benchmarks?
Brand Performance
Key brand performance versus overall category.
Shipment growth, market share, weighted distribution.
New item success.
Key Account Results
Results at top 3-5 accounts (or channels).
Improvements: new items, shelf presence,
Are we getting “fair share” of retailers growth?
What Worked?
Strategies or performance that achieved results.
Ideas that delivered incremental sales.
Key Issues?
Problems or barriers to achieving results.
Pricing, investment, competition.
Performance by key people touching our business.
Organizational changes? Who made a difference?
Distributors financial health. Planned investments.
Efficiency opportunities in Partnership.
2022 Requirements
Resources required to achieve 2022 shipment expectations.
Critical activities, timelines, changes to structure/plan.
Distributor Market Review
Greg’s Ten Tips
1. Good news travels fast and bad news
travels slowly
2. If you want to know what’s really going
on, spend a day visiting stores
3. Pick up the phone and call a friend or business
partner versus email
4. Be positive. Think, “why not?”
5. Results are directly proportionate to your
investment: Marketing, People, Focus, Time
6. A distributor (or Broker) “respects” what the
Brand owner “inspects”
7. Shipment numbers rarely lie
8. Put it in writing
9. If two people agree on the principle of a deal,
you can usually work out the financial terms
10. There is more in common with industry
practices across the globe than differences.
Brand owners everywhere desire more shelf
presence and retailers demand more discounts.
Recognize the differences, but focus on the
universal requirement for superior products,
marketed at a fair price.
Distributor Capability Assessment
Export Solutions established 15 assessment criteria to identify “Best in Class” performers as well as “under
achievers.” Many distributor relationships extend 10 years or more. Is your distributor network still a “good fit”
for your current business requirements? Template can also be used as New Distributor Reference Check form
Assessment Criteria Rating: (10 = Best)
Category Expertise/Critical Mass
Focus/Time Dedicated to your Business
Joint Business Plan Development, Execution, Delivery
Alignment with Brand Owners Vision. Relationship.
Cost to Serve (fair margin, extra costs)
Assortment/Shelf Space
Promotion Creativity, Effectiveness, and Efficiency
Key Account Relations (Senior level, buyer)
Leadership/Owner (engaged & committed to us?)
Brand Manager (seniority, clout,creativity)
Multi Channel, Multi Regional Coverage
Financial Stability, Payment Record
Supply Chain Management & Forecasting
Problem Solving: rapid response?
Sales Results versus Budget, Market, Category (CY, PY, 3 Years)
Criteria (weighting) Rating Evaluation Factors
Corporate Credentials 30%
Size, sales force, logistics, # employees.
Reputation (reference check existing brands).
National coverage.
Multi-channel coverage.
Category Expertise 20%
Sells brands in my category.
Shelf space for existing brands.
Current brands selling to target retailer.
Category analysis and insights.
Brand Building 15%
Ideas to build or launch my brand?
Marketing plan, cost, timing.
Success stories.
Cost to Serve 15%
Fair, transparent model relative to size
of business, brand investment, and
work required.
Enthusiasm for
My Brand 20%
Advance preparation, CEO involvement.
Follow-up on commitments.
Alignment with your vision.
X Factors: People, Admin.,
Professionalism, etc.
CPG/FMCG background for leaders.
Efficiency of scheduling meeting.
Office environment.
Do you enjoy the people?
Rating System
Rating Score
Excellent 5
Very Good 4
Average 3
Fair 2
Poor 1
Contact Greg Seminara at (001)-404-255-8387 to discuss your distributor search project.
Export Solutions Distributor Assessment Grid
How to be Distributor of the Year
Assessment Criteria Considerations
(10 = Best)
Results vs Plan, Market, Category • Reliable, 5 to 10% + growth
Retail Store Conditions • Brand presence exceeds market share
Brand Manager • “A” player, dedicated resource
Cost to Serve • Fair margin, based upon size, complexity
Omni Channel • Channel teams, e-commerce focus
Fun • Do you enjoy the people, country?
Financial • Prompt payments, accurate billbacks
Problem Solving – Response Time • Same day service, sense of urgency
CEO • Loves your brand, engaged
Pioneers New Business • From concept to cases
Supply Chain Management & Forecasting • Accurate, efficient
Customer Relations • Senior access at top retailers
Category Knowledge • Viewed as expert by buyers
Profitable Partner • Sells profitable cases
Analytical Skills: Shipments, Nielsen • Trends, opportunities, plan
Team (Finance, IT, Logistics) • Cross functional expertise
Digital Savvy • Social Media team, pioneers new tools
Reporting • On time, complete, accurate
Best Practices • Creative idea source for other markets
Cultural Alignment • Perfect fit with brand owner’s vision
Export Manager Report Card
Assessment Criteria Considerations
(10 = Best)
Annual Plan Development, Execution, Delivery Aligned, reliable, committed
Export Experience – Food/Consumer Products • New to 20 years +
Ability to Influence Distributors • Focus on your priorities
Pioneers New Business • From concept to containers
Work Ethic • Office time vs. overseas trips?
International Citizenship • Language skills, cultural alignment
Category Knowledge • Viewed as expert: buyers, distributors
Business Leadership • Partners with internal functions
Distributor Relationships • From sales reps. to owner
Thought Leadership • Creates and shares best practices
Export Strategy • Logical vision and road map
Profitable, Sustainable, Exports • Sells profitable cases
Retail Store Conditions • Brand presence vs. market share?
Brand Building – Promotions • Creativity, effectiveness, efficiency
Problem Solving – Response Time • Same day to one week?
Customer Relations • Senior access at top retailers
Analytical Skills: Shipments, Nielsen • Trends, opportunities, plan
Digital Savvy • E-commerce, social media
Supply Chain Management & Forecasting Accuracy and efficiency
Results vs Budget, Market,
Category (CY, PY, 3 Years)
• Flat to 10% +
The Right Way New Country Launch
Retail buyers and distributors are receptive to brand launches from multinationals. Why?
Multinationals succeed, as they introduce new products “The Right Way.” Export Solutions recaps
30 components of launching “The Right Way.” Exporters create magic with limited budgets!
Winners check as many boxes as possible on “The Right Way” scorecard.
Product Retailer
o Meaningful innovation – not “me too” o Boost category sales, margin, and profit
o Consumer market research insights o Syndicated data (Nielsen) – category facts
o Technical confirmation of product differentiation o Invest in retailer “push” programs
o Reasonable retail price – premium (not sky high) o 4-6 high value promotional events per year
o Test market results – similar country or retailer o Retailer VP, distributor CEO at intro call
Marketing Excitement
o 360 marketing plan: TV, in-store, social, PR o Launch party – memorable location
o Sampling o PR, social media, trade press
o Social media o Celebrity endorsement
o Displays: end of aisle and shelf blocks o Distributor sales contest
o Special offers – retailer fliers o Donation to local charity
Team Scorecard
o Distributor – best in class, category expert o Year 1: invest; year 2: break even; year 3: profit
o Local manager – launch oversight o Sales volume (retail sell-out)
o Marketing, social media, PR agencies o Market share
o Brand/technical resource from headquarters o Retail availability (weighted distribution)
o Total distributor engagement: reps. to CEO o Year 2 commitment and enthusiasm
Searching for New Distributors?
Export Solutions makes life a little easier for more than 3,000 export managers.
Our time saving distributor database serves as a “helper” for identifying more
than 9,200 qualified, local brand builders in 96 countries.
Select Your Distributors,
Do Not Let Your Distributors Select You
Search by Country, Category, or Country of Origin
Local Experts
Distributor Coverage
Asia: 2,030
Europe: 3,139
Latin America: 1,574
Middle East: 937
USA/Canada: 1,464
Category Experts
Distributor Coverage
Beverage: 1,691
Candy/Snack: 2,713
International Food: 3,276
Health & Beauty: 1,800
Natural Food: 837
Country Experts
Distributor Coverage
German Brands: 648
Italian Brands: 1,397
UK Brands: 682
USA Brands: 1,189
Distributor E-Commerce Scorecard
Assessment Criteria Considerations
(10 = Best)
Distributor CEO Commitment • Investment, engagement, and patience
E-Commerce as Percent Total Sales • How big is e-commerce for distributor?
E-Commerce 2021 Growth Rate • Results: 2022 trends? 3 year CAGR?
2022 E-Commerce Growth Objective • Benchmark versus overall country growth
E-Commerce Team • Dedicated? Experience? “A Players?”
E-Commerce Analysts • Dedicated or shared?
Digital Marketing Manager • Experience? Budget? Examples?
Logistics: Fulfillment Capability • Solution to deliver by unit?
Top E-Commerce Customers • Coverage, penetration?
Amazon: Treated as Key Account? • 2021 sales, trends, items listed
# Items Sold: Your Brand • Listed items at major retailer like Amazon
# Items on Page 1 or 2: Your Brand • Listed items on page 1 or page 2?
Your Brand Share: Page 1 or 2 • Category share of items on page 1 or page 2?
Category Sales Ranking: Your Brand • Sales rank for key items
# Customer Reviews: Your Brand • Total number of reviews for your brand
# Positive Reviews: Your Brand • Number/percent of 4 and 5 star reviews
Reputation Management • Responsiveness to consumer feedback
Percent Third Party Sales: Your Brand • Sales trends through 3rd party merchants
Special Packs • Capability to create e-commerce packs
Pricing: E-Commerce vs. Retail • Pricing equilibrium: retail and e-commerce
E-commerce development and digital marketing expertise is a top priority.
International distributors must establish a plan and demonstrate patience.
Are your distributors e-commerce leaders, performers, or laggards?
Customer Relationship Assessment
All distributors claim strong relationships with their biggest customers. Below is Export Solutions’ template
for evaluating distributor key account relationships. Best way to evaluate distributor relationships? Your
company’s market share and volume growth at the customer versus the balance of the market!
Assessment Criteria Rating: (10 = Best)
Distributor viewed as an important supplier to the retailer/buyer
Open to bringing brand owner to customer meetings.
Ability to schedule buyer meetings outside the office.
Can negotiate discounted listing fees and other program costs.
Pricing: access to price coordinator. Ability to make changes.
Shelf: access to decision maker. Space in excess of market share.
Merchandising Flier/Catalog: Ability to get prime feature space.
Relationship/access to retailer owners, senior executives.
Problem solving: rapid response? Emergency orders etc.
Payment terms.
Access to retailer movement data.
Category captain or “advisor” for my category.
Vendor awards?
Knowledge of retailers systems. “How to get things done.”
Sales results versus overall market and retailers internal growth.
Exporter Data Sheet
What Distributors want to Know about Your Company
Key Contact: Telephone:
Web Site: Email:
Founding Date: Ownership:
Annual Sales: Total Employees:
0-$50 million $50 million - $250 million $250 million- $1 billion $1 billion +
% Sales International:
0-10% 10-25% 26-50% 50% +
Exporter Classification/Description:_________________________ (#1-10, based upon Export Solutions’ scale)
Core Product Range:
Unique Selling Point:
Market Share:
Home Country: Country A: Country B: Country C:
Current Business in Distributor’s Country: Yes/No: Size $:
Current Customers (Distributors Country):
Investment Model: Listing Fees*: Yes/No *average $35 per item,per store
Trade Promotion Budget: Dead net price: 10% of sales: Mass:
Marketing: Digital: Sampling: 360 degree:
Ambition/Size of Prize: Sales: Market Share:
Year 1
Year 2
Year 3
New Business Opportunity: _____________________________________
(Company Name/Country)
Export Solutions recommends creating your own one page Export Distributor fact sheet template. Insist that all candidates
complete the template 100 percent prior to a phone interview or trade show meeting. Pay particular attention to the annual
sales number, brands represented and manufacturer references. Qualified candidates will enthusiastically complete these
sections. “Pretenders” or time wasters will leave these sections blank or disappear saving you time and money!
Export Distributor Data Sheet:___________________________________
Key Contact: Telephone:
Web Site: Email:
Annual Sales: Total Employees:
Employees, by Function:
Key Account Sales Logistics Marketing Merchandising
Company Owned Warehouse: Yes No
If Yes Warehouse Size: Location:
Channel Coverage (percent sales by channel):
Supermarket Convenience Foodservice Other
Top Five Manufacturer Clients:
Company Name Brands Represented Years Service
Manufacturer references:
Company Name Contact Name Contact Telephone Contact Email
Why are you interested in distributing our brand?
Why is your company the best candidate to represent our brand in the market?
Feel free to attach your company credentials presentation.
(Distributor Name)
Are Distributors Interested in Your Brand?
High Interest
Low Interest
Email Response
Immediate reply
Delayed or no reply
CEO Engagement
Active participation
Delegated to middle management
Scheduling Meeting
Flexible and easy
Difficult. Conflicts.
Airport/Hotel Pick-Up
Offers to pick you up
Take a taxi!
Meeting Presentation
Tailored. Prepared for you.
Standard presentation
Category Research
Obtains data
Competitive Review
Shares photos: store sets
Informal comments
Store Visits
Organized/led by CEO
Office meeting only
Obtains and tries samples
Waits for you
Team Participation
3-6 people at meeting
One person
Cell Phone
Shares private number
Email address only
Addresses key issues
No questions
Meets due dates
Post Meeting Follow-up
Immediate and frequent
Proposed Plan
Detailed and fact based Brief topline
Second place?
I have conducted hundreds of distributor interviews for multinational companies: P&G, Nestle, General Mills,
Duracell, Lindt, Tabasco, Barilla, J&J, etc. Distributor candidates all claim enthusiasm and high interest in your
brand. See Export Solutions’ checklist of clues to measure true distributor interest level.
Americas Favorite Brands
Executive Board
Export Solutions Smuckers Tabasco
Greg Seminara, CEO Danny Berrios, President Megan Lopez, Vice-President
General Mills Sun-Maid
Eric Saint-Marc Carsten Tietjen
Advisory Board
Bazooka Candy Blue Diamond Bob’s Red Mill
Santiago Ricaurte Dale Tipple Jan Chernus
Bush Beans Campbells Church & Dwight
Dave Bauman Julio Gomez Arun Hiranandani
Ferarra Candy Heartland Idahoan
Daniel Michelena Tom Theobald Ryan Ellis
Johnsonville Sausage Kao USA Keurig Dr. Pepper
Cory Bouck Julie Toole Billy Menendez
Mizkan Reynolds Welch’s
Noel David Chris Corey Marc Rosen
19 Companies | 200+ Top Brands | $80 Billion Combined
View our activities for export managers – www.usafoodexport.com
Distributor Search Helper for:
Can We Help You?
Recent Distributor Search Projects
Asia Europe Middle East Latin America
Australia Germany Israel Argentina
China Ireland Kuwait Brazil
Indonesia Netherlands Qatar Colombia
Japan Nordics Saudi Arabia Costa Rica
Malaysia Spain UAE Ecuador
Philippines United Kingdom North America Mexico
Singapore Africa Canada Panama
South Korea South Africa United States Peru
Call the Export Accelerator!
Contact Greg Seminara at greg@exportsolutions.com
to discuss your business development project.
What Makes a Great Distributor CEO?
CEO Assessment Considerations
(10 = Best)
Achieves Joint Business Targets • Committed and dependable.
Dedication to Your Business • Knows details. Visits your HQ.
Willing to Invest
• People, technology, brand building.
Strong Customer Relations
• Senior contacts at top retailers.
Relationship With Brand Owners
• From export manager to CEO.
Response Time
• Same day to one week?
Thinks Like A Marketer • Creative, brand building ideas.
Frequent Visits: Retail Stores
• Good grasp of retail conditions.
Problem Solving
• “Hands on,” responsive.
Compound Annual Growth Rate • Flat to 10% or more.
Cost to Serve Transparency
• Detailed understanding of costs.
Celebrates Team Success
Awards, promotions, raises.
CPG/FMCG Background • Senior level external experience.
Years of Service
• New to 20 years or more.
Local Industry Leader • High profile in community.
Work Ethic
• Office time vs. overseas trips?
Information Technology (IT)
• Invests in “best in class” IT.
Ethical and Trustworthy • Principled, respected partner.
Respects Manufacturer’s P & L • Sells profitable cases.
Relationship: Entire Team
• Finance, logistics, adminstration.
Year One Scorecard Example
Brand owners and distributors enter new relationships with great expectations.
Most partnerships succeed, but some under deliver leaving both parties disappointed.
Export Solutions Year One scorecard helps both parties align on KPI’s.
Objective Goal Results
Shipments to Distributor
Distributor Sales to Customers
Top 5 Customers
Region: Sales Split by Area
Channel: Sales Split by Channel
Market Share
Listings: Top 5 Customers
Retail Pricing
Shelf Positioning
Shelf Space
Social Media
Manufacturer Investment
Brand Manager Performance
Export Accelerator
Contact Us for Distributor Search Help in 96 Countries
Greg Seminara • greg@exportsolutions.com
“Spend time Selling to Distributors versus
Searching for Distributors”
Why have Barilla, Pringles, Nature Valley, Starbucks, Duracell,
Nestlé, Tabasco, Pepperidge Farm, and other leaders used
Export Solutions as a distributor search consultant?
Powerful distributor network: owner of industry database
9,200 distributors – 96 countries
Professional 10 step due diligence process
Results! We make Export Managers’ lives easier!
Ten Questions: Developing your Cooperation Model
1. Size of the Prize
What are the distributor’s year one and year three
volume estimates? How big is the category? Is the
category growing?
2. Key Account Listings
What listings can we achieve in year one? Who will
be our biggest customers? Will there be differences
in retailer acceptance by region or channel?
3. Trade Reaction
What will retailers like about our brand? Any potential
barriers? Which retailers will be most challenging?
4. Brand Manager
Who will be our primary point of contact?
Experience level? Workload?
5. Marketing Investment
What budget is requested to achieve our mutual
shipment objectives? Who pays for marketing costs?
Which costs are split?
6. Currency Fluctuation
What assumptions are made in your price calculation?
What happens if the currency fluctuates more than
5 percent in either direction? How do you handle
price increases?
7. Distributor Margin
What is your distributor margin? What services are included?
Any other fees or regular costs if we work together?
8. Trial and Repeat
What strategies are required to generate consumer trial
and repeat purchase? What works? How do you conduct
post-promotion analysis and measure payout and success?
Where will our company rank in terms of volume contribution
to your overall business? How will we secure share of mind
during our critical first year?
10. Issues
What are the biggest issues we will face? Barriers to success?
What must happen to win?
Talk to an Expert
International Strategy Road Map
Fix Problem Markets
Entry Plans
Find Distributors in 96 Countries
Export Workshops
Motivational Meeting Speaker
Contact Greg Seminara at (001)-404-255-8387 to discuss your business development project.
What Distributors Want to Know ?
Strong distributors are overwhelmed by calls from brand owners looking for new partners. Distributors assess
each opportunity carefully, as any new brand must add incremental sales and profits and not distract from
priorities from existing brands handled. What is the “size of the prize” for the distributor?
Assessment Criteria Facts Rating (10 = Best)
Your company: size/ reputation
Existing business: sales in distributors country?
If zero “current sales,” what is realistic expectation?
Brand’s USP…your point of difference/innovation?
Size of investment plan: Marketing and Trade?
Potential distributor revenues?margin?
How does the product taste? (or peform)
How attractive/compliant is the packaging?
Pricing relative to category?
Brand success story in an adjacent country?
Competition intensity in category?
Brand range complexity?Product shelf life?
Local market research? Syndicated data?
Will brand invest in marketing and social media?
Will this be a tough product to launch?
Can we grow with the brand owner?
Your brand: core distributor category or adjacency?
Will the export manager be good to work with?
Will we be proud/excited to represent this brand?
What is the “size of the prize?”
Brand Manager Assessment
Your distributor Brand Manager represents your key day to day contact. Successful Brand Managers are good
partners and deliver results, not excuses. Is your Brand Manager an experienced veteran or new hire (rookie)?
Assessment Criteria Rating: (10 = Best)
Years industry/distributor experience
Years sales/commercial experience
Reports to owner or senior leadership team
Workload: dedicated or shared with many brands
Responsiveness: gets things done quickly!
Category knowledge: technical, competition
Analytical skills: shipment trends, Nielsen data
Problem solving
Develops creative promotions
Reports: accurate and on time
Enthusiasm for your company and the business
Participation on customer calls, store checks
Forecast accuracy
Influence distributor team: focus on your priorities
Delivers/exceeds shipment objectives
Field Sales Coverage Frequency Template
Retailer #/Stores Daily Weekly Bi-Weekly Monthly Never
Sample Chain 200 0 50 100 40 10
Country Listing Map USA Example*
“Required Template for Every Country”
*Instructions: List top 10 customers for every country. List all your key SKUs (items).
“X” indicates item stocked at customer. Blank space represents a distribution void.
Retailer Stores Sku 1 Sku 2 Sku 3 Sku 4 Sku 5 Comments/Plans
Walmart SC 3,571 x x x
Sku 1, 2, 3 stocked at only
2,000 Supercenters
Costco 575 x Special sku 5 for Costco
Kroger 2,726 x x x x Category Review March
Albertsons 2,278 x x x New shelf set
Publix 1,300 x x x BOGO Ad November
Ahold-FL 2,050 x x x x New sku 4 listing
HEB 355 x x x Category Review March
Meijer 260 x x x x Holiday Display Program
Field Sales Capability Assessment
Number of sales offices (list locations)
Total field sales representatives (or merchandisers)
Number of sales reps outside capital area
Number of field sales supervisors
# Full time representatives vs. # part time
Average years of service: representatives
Average stores per representative
# stores visited per day
Average time spent per store, per day
Do you have multiple reps visiting each store?
# SKUs handled per sales rep
# priorities per store visit
# sales reps with laptop or tablet
# sales reps with phone with reporting capability
Compensation: percent fixed vs. variable?
Who Is My Team?
Big distributors feature large teams with strong capabilities.
Manufacturers want to know who is their functional contact and how much time do they dedicate to my business?
Sales Manager
Brand Manager
Field Sales
Digital Marketing
Supply Chain
(order placement)
Accounts Payable
Service Manager
Logistics-Distributor Capability Scorecard
Many retailers supply their distributors with service level scorecards. Our distributor’s performance demonstrates their reputation as
a reliable supplier to important customers. Benchmark results vary by country, reflecting unique requirements to serve local customers.
Assessment Criteria Capability – Results
Warehouse: Distributor owned or outsourced to third party?
Trucks/vans: Distributor owned? How many, by type?
Warehouses: Locations, size, pallet positions,temp.controlled?
Special pack services: Stickering, promo packs, repack?
Average stock on hand: number weeks supply, by SKU
Annual inventory turns
Order lead time: capital city, rural regions
Minimum order size: cases, value, avg. order size
Perfect order rate, case fill rate, SKU fill rate
On time delivery rate
Monthly orders handled? Unique customers?
Damaged goods: Percent of sales
Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI) customers
Can distributor ship less than case quantities?
Logistic cost: percent of net invoiced cost
Small Shops (Traditional Trade)
Capability Assessment
Assessment Criteria Capability – Results
Traditional trade: percent of total distributor sales
Dedicated traditional trade team? Structure?
Top 5 principals: traditional trade
# Vans and DSD trucks? Owned?
# Traditional trade reps. Exclusive or shared?
Sales rep. compensation (fixed/variable/bonus)
Customer coverage, segmentation, frequency
# Customers invoiced monthly
Average order size
# items sold per order
# calls per day
How do you establish call priorities?
Retail reporting capabilities
How do you drive traditional trade volume?
Creative trade marketing ideas?
Sub-distributors or wholesalers used?
Cost to serve?
New item launch process
Traditional trade growth versus market?
Foodservice/HORECA Capability Assessment
Assessment Criteria Capability – Results
Foodservice: Percent of total distributor sales
Dedicated Foodservice Team? Structure?
Foodservice Channel Principals (list):
Refrigerated/Frozen Warehouse/Delivery
Chef on staff?
# of Operator Calls (monthly)
# Foodservice Sales reps. Chef background?
Foodservice: Percent sales by segment:
Restaurants: “High End”
Restaurants: “Quick Serve”
Catering, Canteens
Institutions: Hospitals, Schools, Prisons
Theaters, Stadiums, Theme Parks
Airlines, Cruise Ships
Bars, Pubs, Nightclubs
Foodservice: Top 3 customers
Trade Show Participation
Creative Marketing: Menu Ideas?
Tabletop/“Front of House” presence
Foodservice Sub-Distributor Partners:
Nutritionist, Food Technologist?
Foodservice annual sales growth vs. overall market
Buyer Performance Appraisal
When is the last time you considered how your category buyer was evaluated? Buyers defintely maintain
a strict set of KPIs from their bosses. How is your new product pitch “Good for the Buyer?”
Buyer Assessment Criteria Objective
Category Sales Increase category sales at higher rate than retailer growth: 3-5%?
Category Sales per Square Foot
Increase category sales per square foot to higher level than
store average.
Category Profit
Increase category profits at higher rate than overall retailer profit
growth: 5-10%?
Category Profit Margin
Increase category margin to a level higher than total department
profit margin.
Category Share vs. Competitors
Higher share of total market category sales than retailer’s share
of overall market.
Service Level to Stores 98% minimum service level. Out of stock level: 1% or less.
Inventory Turns Exceed industry average of 18.5 turns per year.
Retail Prices
Maintain competitive retail prices, in line with chain’s
overall pricing position.
Private Label Sales
Increase private label percentage of category sales. Increase private
label sales at a higher level than overall category sales.
Listing Fee Funding
Achieve assigned budget for incremental supplier payments
including listing fees or equivalent.
Trade Promotion Funding
Increase total category margin dollars through back margin,
rebates etc.
Retailer Marketing Programs Supplier support behind retailer sponsored marketing programs.
Performance of Ad/Display Features Sales results of buyer allocated ad flier and display space.
Assortment and Innovation Offer variety versus duplication, while optimizing category sales.
Terms Improvement Improve terms and conditions: annual negotiations.
Cost of Goods: Price Increases Obtain best cost of goods. Fight price increases.
Industry Leadership Participate (or lead) external committees on industry development.
Supplier Relations Maintain positive relations with suppliers, particularly top 10.
Community Relations Build positive impressions for retailer through community support.
Category Expert
Understand trends, product attributes, performance, and
innovation for the category
Export Reports: Format and Frequency
Every exporter requires certain reports to manage the business.
Productivity is enhanced when distributor focuses on selling activities versus compiling a stack of reports.
Everything functions better when reports are filed on a regular schedule.
Distributor “Sell Out”
Distributor sales to customers
Sales Forecast
Rolling 90-180 days
Distributor Inventory
Weeks supply on hand, by sku
Sales Versus Budget
Progress vs. annual objective
KPI Dashboard
Coverage, Displays, Distribution, etc.
Listing Map/Plans
Brand/sku authorization,by customer
Sales Promotion Calendar
Capture adjustments, and payout
New Product Launch Status
Acceptance by key customer
Category Review (Nielsen ?)
Category trends
Retail Price Survey
Top 10 customers
Competitive Activty
New launches, innovation
Distributor Credentials
Distributor "standard" presentation
Credit Report
Financial update
Distributor Value Chain
Factory gate to store shelf
Annual Business Plan
Agreed road map to achieve objectives
Retailer Business Review
Top 5 retailers
List of Top 10 Customers
Plus your buyers name
Coverage: 96 countries and 2,700 retailers
Drug Store
Natural Food
Club, Cash & Carry
Supplying profiles, store counts, formats,
news and info for Top 100 international
retailers plus all overseas branches
Example 1: Who are supermarket
retailers in Canada?
Example 2: How many stores does Loblaws
operate by banner, in Canada?
Search by Retailer NameSearch by Country
Combo Search
Search By Format
Retailer Search Made Simple
Canada Example
Why did you create the retailer database?
Export managers dedicate a lot of time
to researching countries, retailers and
preparing business plans. A standard
KPI measure is tracking product listings
for key customers. I believe that our
industry could benefit from a global
retailer database to instantly locate
retailers and their store counts in
96 countries. The retailer database
is a logical extension of our leading
distributor database which has helped
more than 3,000 companies build export
sales during the last 10 years.
What is your geographic coverage?
96 of top 100 GDP countries worldwide.
This includes most Asian, Middle Eastern,
and European countries. Our database
covers every country in the Americas.
In Africa, we cover South Africa.
What is your format coverage?
Excellent coverage of chain supermarkets,
hypermarkets, clubs, cash and carry,
and convenience formats. Solid initial
coverage of drug stores, natural food
stores, and e-commerce channels.
Our database does not cover
DIY/hardware, toy, office, liquor,
or sporting goods channels.
Retailer database: featured info
Profile – Retailers profile and link to their
internet home page.
Formats – Retailer’s stores segmented
by format and banner.
We track supermarkets, hypermarkets,
cash and carry, convenience stores,
discounters, drug stores, natural food
stores, and e-commerce retailers.
News – Latest retailers’ news. In some
cases (Asia), we substitute a link to the
retailer’s latest promotional flyer.
Financial – Many leading retailers are
publicly traded. A link is provided to
their latest financial results. We do not
offer estimated financial information for
privately held or family owned retailers.
How is your coverage of global retailers?
We offer total coverage for top 100 global
retailers. This includes all of their
branches and banners. Searchable!
Use filters to research Walmart, Costco,
Carrefour, Tesco, Metro, Casino presence
by country. Database covers retailer’s
total store outlets as well as a breakout
by banner and format.
What can I use the retailer database info for?
Obtain an instant snapshot of an
average of 24 retailers per country
for 96 countries.
Track presence of global retailers like
Walmart, Carrefour, and Metro AG.
Create country specific listing maps
where distributors measure brand
authorization by retailer.
Conduct home office based
international category reviews and price
checks from retailers’ e-commerce sites
(not all retailers).
Prepare annual reviews and reports
with up-to-date information on leading
retailers and channels.
The database offers filters allowing you to
search by country, format, or retailer name.
You can also use a combination of filters for
your research.
Can I get a free sample of the retailer database?
Sure! Check www.exportsolutions.com for a
complete profile of United Kingdom retailers.
Do you provide retailer’s annual sales
or market share information?
Accurate annual sales information is
available through the financial link for
publicly traded companies. We do not
provide estimated financial information for
privately held and family owned retailers.
Channel blurring occurs between
supermarket, convenience, e-commerce,
and even natural food operators. We do not
provide market share due to difficulty to
accurately isolate and define channel
market share information, particularly with
so many privately held retailers.
How accurate is the retailer data?
Export Solutions’ retailer database is
updated weekly, so information is highly
accurate. Retailer names, web sites, and
formats rarely change. This makes the
database 99% accurate at the company
level. New stores open every day,
resulting in store counts that may be
95% accurate. We intend to update store
counts on a regular basis.
How much does retailer database access cost?
An annual subscription to the retailer
database is $975. This supplies one year,
unlimited access to more than 2,700
retailers in 96 countries. Special offers
available for our distributor database
customers. Note: special pricing for
government trade organizations.
How do I access the retailer database?
Visit www.exportsolutions.com and click
the retailer database page. You can place
a subscription or individual continent
(i.e., Europe) into a shopping cart.
Register and check out via credit card.
The process takes two minutes and we
automatically send you an invoice.
About Export Solutions
Export Solutions was founded in 2004
and is based in Atlanta, Georgia in the
USA. Export Solutions serves as a leading
provider of business intelligence to the
food and consumer goods industries.
Our distributor database covers 9,200
distributors in 96 countries and has
been used by more than 3,000 clients.
Our Export Express newsletter has a
circulation of 9,900 and is viewed as an
important source of insights, strategies,
and templates for international
development. www.exportsolutions.com.
FAQ’s Retailer Database
Export Lessons Learned Template
Why are Countries Leading or Lagging?
(Complete based upon your company performance)
Country Performance:
Measure: sales per capita
Brand Development:
Measure: market share
Biggest Opportunity
Measure: category size/growth
Promotion Effectiveness:
Tactics creating incremental sales
Distributor Performance:
Measure: sales increase,
Segmentation Factors
Segmentation analytics will vary by company. Absolute
population is just one factor warranting consideration. Other
criteria include size of the category, proximity to your producing
plant, as well as per capita spending power. For example, most
USA based exporters sell far more to Puerto Rico, an island with
3.1 million people, than they do to China or Brasil. As a result,
some USA brand owners place a strategic focus on the Caribbean
Basin countries adjacent to the USA and process only occasional
opportunistic shipments to complex countries such as China.
Mix of Countries
Most companies can dedicate focus on a strategic launch into
only one or two “strategic” countries at a time. It’s appropriate
to create a growth plan aimed at a mix of Strategic, Priority, and
Opportunistic countries.
Market Share Expectations
Your export road map should also be adjusted based upon your
market share expectations for a select market. Generally, there
are three scenarios for a brand to pursue.
Leader: Brand investment and innovation to become #1
in the category.
Player: Brand plans to compete effectively, obtaining a market
share of 5% -20%.
Participant: Niche. Brand objective is incremental shipments
with little/no investment.
Lessons Learned
Calibrate expectations to investments in brand support and
management oversight. Everyone wants to be a category leader
or player. To achieve this lofty status, you need to conduct local
market research, innovate, maintain competitive pricing, invest
in marketing, and align with a strong sales team just as you do in
your home market. Projects fail as certain brands want category
leadership but invest only to “niche” levels.
Strategic segmentation of export opportunities is “Job One” for export managers. Export Solutions divides countries into three groups:
Strategic, Priority, and Opportunistic. This approach filters countries by “size of the prize” and investments required to win. The basic
rationale is that a company should allocate different resources to develop a large country like Brasil, compared to a medium size
country like Belgium versus the Bahamas or Bermuda. Too frequently, we see companies handcuff all markets to one export program,
with common strategy, pricing, and investment models for all countries.
Country Segmentation One Size Does Not Fit All
Country Segmentation
Country Profile Investment Required Business Model Examples
Large Country
(pop. 50mm +)
High GDP
High Category BDI
Global Retailers
High Complexity
Significant Investment
in Brand support.
Market Research
Management Visibility
Local Office or
Distributor or
Joint Venture
United Kingdom
Mid size Country
(pop. 10 mm+)
High GDP
High Category BDI
Mid Complexity
Moderate investment
in brand support.
Managed by
Export Manager
S. Korea/Thailand
South Africa
Saudi Arabia
Low GDP Countries
Low Complexity
Minimal/no investment
in brand support
Distributor or
Direct to Retailer
Central America
Middle East
Retail buyers are challenged to maximize profits and sales from every available inch of shelf space. Every new item accepted must
improve on the performance of the brand currently occupying that space. Buyers are overwhelmed by new product offerings, all with
ambitious promises. Improve your chances of success by incorporating Export Solutions’ 10 point check list on how to excite your
category buyer about your new product.
How to Excite Buyers New Product Checklist
Buyers: New Product Assessment
High Interest Low Interest
Category Opportunity Large or high growth Declining or niche
Brand Owner
Multinational or proven local.
Category expert
New foreign supplier
or start-up
Something new, supported
by consumer research
“Me too product
Profit Margin
Enhance current
category margin
Equal to or less than
current category margin
Sales Generates incremental sales Cannibalizes existing sales
Marketing Investment Sampling, social media, PR None
Trade Programs Invests in retailer push” programs Periodic discounts/rebates
Brand Track Record
Successful at other
local retailers
Unproven in the country
Terms/Conditions Attractive deal structure Typical terms/conditions
Representation Dependable local distributor Small, niche entrepreneur
Export Strategy Road Map Template
Countries Brands Partners
Strategic Priority Opportunistic
Lessons Learned
20/20 Analysis
Core Competencies
Big Opportunities
Low Hanging Fruit
Strategic Options
Strategic Plan
Strategy questions? Contact Greg Seminara at Export Solutions (001)-404-255-8387
What are your business ambitions for the time period?
What factors have contributed to export success?
What situations have led to export disappointments?
What countries represent your top 20% performers? Why?
What countries represent your bottom 20% performers? Why?
What is your competitive advantage?
Why is your brand unique versus international competitors?
What are the biggest export opportunities for your company?
What represent high percentage, profitable opportunities?
What is your investment model? Marketing, Promotion, People.
What alternatives are available?
One page plan defining Objectives, Goals, Strategy, Measures
What activities are required to achieve desired results?
What are realistic measures and benchmarks?
Cost Calculation Assessment*
*Ambient grocery example: Higher margins Chilled and Health & Beauty products
Assessment Criteria
Retailer: Everyday margin
Retailer: Back margin (rebates,discounts)
Retailer: Other margin
(Damage, merchandising, central warehouse)
Total Retailer Gross Margin
Trade Promotion (Manufacturer)
5-20% of net sales
Total Distributor Margin
Total Distributor Logistics
Key Account Sales
Brand Management
Merchandisers/Field Force
Total Distributor Sales Team
Finance and Collections
Overheads (office, IT, corporate)
Distributor Promotion Investment
Distributor Net Profit
Analyze: Your Contribution to Distributor Profit
Export Solutions: 20 Factors Driving Distributor Profitability
Assessment Criteria
(10 = Best)
Annual Sales Revenue • Percent total distributor sales
Annual Margin Generated ($) • Net sales times gross margin
Distributor Percent Margin
• 10 percent to 50 percent
Brand Owner Investment Level
• Percent of distributor purchases
Distributor Margin Re-Investment
• Distributor promotion spending
Category Adjacency • Distributor portfolio synergies
Brand Market Share
• Niche versus market leader
Payment Terms
• Pre-pay versus 120 day terms
Safety Stock Requirements • Two weeks to four months
Typical Customer Order • One case to full truck
Shelf Life • Two weeks to five years
Case Cube/Case Cost • “Low cube, high case cost best”
# Brands/Items in Range
• “High sales, fewer items valued”
Logistics/Storage: Temp?
Ambient versus chilled
Damage/Expired Goods • None to 20% of sales
Category Competition
• Niche to highly competitive
Labor: Battle for Shelf Space
• None to intense fight
Brand Manager
• Shared or dedicated
Admin Requirements • Orders only to multiple reports
Manufacturer Visit Frequency
• Never to weekly
Preferred Supplier Scorecard
Distributors deliver their best results for their favorite principals. How do you rank?
Supplier Assessment Considerations
(10 = Best)
Annual Sales Revenue • Percent of total distributor sales
Annual Profit Generated ($)
• Net sales times gross margin
Years of Service • New to 20 years or more
Compound Annual Growth Rate
• Flat to 10% or more
Supplier Investment Level • Zero to 25% of sales
Celebrates Success
Awards, dinner, thank you notes
Shares Best Practices
• Serves as category expert
Logistics Service Level
• Target 98% on time, complete orders
Visits Retail Stores
• Never to full day every visit
Reimbursement of Billbacks • 2 weeks to 3 months
Senior Management Relationship • None to long term partners
Export Manager Experience • New hire to 10 years or more
Response Time • Same day to one month
Supports Distributor’s Ideas
• Invests in local ideas
Good on Customer Calls
Avoids calls to customer favorite
Admin Requirements • Orders only to multiple reports
Supplier Visit Frequency • Never to weekly
Relationship: Entire Team • Finance, logistics, administration
Respects Fair Profit for Distributor • Healthy distributor is profitable
Achieves Joint Business Targets • Creates culture of success
Does Your Distributor Network Need A Check Up?
Export Solutions Can Help!
Distributor Network Assessments
Motivational Speeches
International Strategy
Find Distributors in 96 Countries
Contact Greg Seminara at gseminara@exportsolutions.com or (001)-404-255-8387.
Exporters manage distributor networks extending to 20, 50, 70 countries or more!
Every company has a few distributors that under perform.
“Under achievers” prevent us from attaining our personal objectives.
Distributor Network Check Up
Independent assessment from Export Solutions
Establish methodology for ranking Best in Class distributors and “Laggards”
Supply strategies for recognizing top distributors
and upgrading the bottom performers
Benchmark external brands from your category
Practical and “action oriented” approach
Distributor 2022: New Skills for New Times
Priority Comments
Treat as major channel, not niche.
Social Media
Hire digital marketing team, link with local influencers.
CEO Engagement
Regular Zoom calls with overseas brand owners.
Promote young, energetic spirit. Embrace change and new channels.
Category Specialization
Laser focus on core categories vs. products in every aisle of the store.
Use Zoom tools for regular training events with brand owners.
Hire under 30's for social media and e-commerce sales roles.
IT Investment
Upgrade platform: E-commerce, retail reporting, sell out data.
Cost to Serve
Measure profitability by brand and customer.
Realign based upon 2022 reality.
Market Your Distributor Brand
Promote your distributor brand to leading
companies in your core categories. Export Solutions can help!
Aggressive investment in this A+ tool. Explore new sampling vehicles.
Invest in a “Best in Class” web site. Create modern company profile.
Incorporate e-commerce metrics: Page 1 results, consumer feedback, etc.
Brand Managers
Reward creativity and marketing excellence, not paperwork completed.
Promote meal solutions, not just brands.
Be positive. Think, “why not?”
Results Exceed expectations everyday.
Export Manager 2022: New Skills for New Times
Priority Comments
Treat as major channel, not niche.
Social Media
Create content library for distributors to “plug and play.”
Management Engagement
Zoom with distributor leadership team: CEO, CFO, VP Sales, etc.
Promote young, energetic spirit. Embrace change and new channels.
Category Specialization
Share category trends. Deliver product innovation, not “me too.”
Use Zoom tools for regular distributor training events.
Make your corporate functional experts available to your distributor team.
IT Investment
Upgrade platform: Brand portal, syndicated data, shipment status.
Cost to Serve
Measure contribution to distributor profit.
Look at pricing and margin vs. agreement.
Marketing Your Brand
Invest to adapt your global marketing plan to local conditions.
Aggressive investment in this A+ tool. Explore new sampling vehicles.
Invest in a “Best in Class” web site. Robust export resource page.
Monitor pricing/assortment at retailer web shops.
Incorporate e-commerce metrics in your distributor scorecard.
Brand Managers
Demand young digitally savvy brand managers.
Promote meal solutions, not just brands. Look for co-promotion partners.
Be positive. Think, “why not?”
Results Exceed expectations everyday.
Launch Plan Proposal Year One*
Brand Objective
Volume: _______________ Wtd. Distribution: _______________
Share: ________
Consumer Marketing Activities
Rationale Cost
Trade Marketing Activities
Listing Fees
# SKUs, Space, Promotion Support Cost
Total Year One Volume Total Year One Cost
Wtd. Distribution
Distribution Achieved with Above Spend Level
% Country
# SKUs
Volume (annual)
*Feel free to attach other pages to support your recommended launch plan.
Strategic Export
Development Program
Export Passport
Export Passport
Distributor Search Challenge
Some distributors are too big…
Other distributors are too small!
Export Passport identifies
Prime Prospect distributors
that represent the Right Fit
Exporter Classification*
Type Description
Export Profile
10 Multinational Strong market share everywhere across multiple categories.
9 Global Multinational. Mix of leading countries and niche participation.
8 Category Champion One core mass category. Strong performance globally.
7 Icon Well known, niche leader. Global availability. Example: Tabasco.
6 Regional Leader Strong share across one continent/region. Some export success.
5 National Hero National treasure, #1 brand. Exports to homesick expats, tourists.
4 Player Respectable share in home country. Opportunistic exports.
3 Participant “Me too” product. Opportunistic exports. “Trader”/private label.
2 Challenger Innovator. Some listings in home country. New to export.
1 Start-up Trying to get traction in home country. Export “dreamer.”
*Export Solutions’ classification system
Distributor Classification*
Prime Prospects
Massive distributor.
Handles multinational/#1
brands across many
Brand leaders.
$$$ marketing budgets.
Exporter types: 6-10
Category Captain.
Handles leading brands in
one segment.
$$ marketing budgets.
Exporter types: 5-9
Mid-size distributor.
Handles #2/3 brands or
niche leaders across many
premium brands.
$-$$ marketing budgets.
Exporter types: 4-7
Respected local.
Diversified product
Results equal to investment.
Flexible, challenger brands.
$ marketing budget.
Exporter types: 2-4
Small distributor.
Entrepreneurial, open to
innovative new companies.
Start-up brands.
“Pay as you go” marketing.
Exporter types: 1-3
Need more information? Visit www.exportsolutions.com.
*Export Solutions’ classification system
Create Your Own Export Library
Looking for a fresh point of view for your
next event or training workshop?
Contact Greg Seminara at
All guides available free at www.exportsolutions.com.
Export Strategy Guide
Distributor Search Guide
Export Handbook
Selling to USA Handbook
Distributor Management Guide
Finance & Logistics
300 Tips for
Export Managers
Idea Guide:
New World New Business
Export Treasure Chest
My Favorite Templates & Forms
People Power
Strong Teams Build Great Brands
New Distributor
Cooperation Model
Four Core Program Pillars
1. Distributor Segmentation: “Capabilities and Alignment”
2. More in the Store
3. People Power
4. Distributor Economics
to Export Catalyst
Your company has export footprint in most key countries
Current distributors are adequate, but growth has slowed
Good export team, but too much repetition of old strategies and inefficient promotions
Team requires new ideas to propel existing business to next level
Export Catalyst
stimulates new sales through innovative strategies
for your current distributor network
Organize as a Work Session or Training Workshop
Flexible Program: 1 day and 2 day options
Additional modules: Strategic Export Development, Finding Best in Class Distributors,
Selling to the USA, and 25 Export Problems (& Solutions!)
Looking for new sales from old markets?
Contact Greg Seminara to schedule Export Catalyst
Looking for new sales from old markets?
Contact Greg Seminara to schedule Export Catalyst
Export Catalyst
Best Practices
Core Themes
Distributor Segmentation
Distributor capability
and specialization assessment
Segmenting distributors:
“leaders, performers, laggards
Motivating different classes of partners
Distributor change management
More in the Store
Defining a good store versus a bad store
Trade promotion effectiveness:
creativity, KPI’s
Culture change:
managing in-store merchandising metrics
Tool kit: listing maps, perfect shelf, etc.
People Power
Distributor CEO/MD
engagement in your business
Distributor brand manager:
veteran or trainee?
Gaining support of total distributor team
Your role: doctor, coach or babysitter?
Creating brand champions
Distributor Economics
How distributors make money
Calculation Diagnostic:
from factory to store shelf
Analyzing your profit contribution
to distributor organization
Distributor profit centers
We’ve Got You Covered!
Distributor Database Coverage
9,200 distributors 96 Countries
Subscribe now at www.exportsolutions.com
“Spend time Selling to Distributors versus Searching for Distributors
Confectionery & Snack:
2,713 Distributors
Ambient Beverage:
1,691 Distributors
Gourmet & Ethnic Foods
3,276 Distributors
2,030 Distributors
17 Countries
Middle East
937 Distributors
12 Countries
3,139 Distributors
Latin America
1,574 Distributors
USA Importer/Distributor
598 Distributors