Brian Jahnke, an experienced executive in the foodservice equipment industry, has launched a new concept that connects multiple, non-competing manufacturers with foodservice consultants and key accounts in the hospitality sector to deliver outcomes that meet everyone’s needs.
Launched under the company name Solutions International GmbH & CO. KG, the concept tackles the limitations of a manufacturer’s traditional selling cycle that can take months to arrange product presentations and rarely provides the consultant or their customer with what they need.
“The challenge for the manufacturer is that its investment in sales is often disproportionate to the returns it can realise, especially when entering new markets,” says Jahnke. “The challenge for consultants and key accounts, on the other hand, is the desire to create beneficial, ongoing partnerships rather than just being asked to buy things.”
Higher returns, lower costs
Jahnke believes the new concept addresses this disconnect. “By leveraging our existing relationships with key accounts and consultants and bringing them ‘solutions’ and the latest innovations from a small handful of manufacturers as opposed to a ‘product’ from a single manufacturer, we can turn the curve upside down and offer higher returns with lower costs.”
He achieves efficiencies by dividing the cost of his time across each of the manufacturers, effectively serving as an outsourced business development executive but at a fraction of the cost of a full-time employee. This is especially helpful for start-ups or new market entrants with interesting ideas deserving of a consultant’s attention, but with limited resources.
Jahnke believes that ‘conventional’ sales activities need a fresh approach in the foodservice sector. “Some manufacturers struggle to understand that the hospitality project sector is a very different business from managing dealers and other conventional sales activities,” he says. “And they often assign such objectives to their regular sales people. Those conventional sales activities consume at least 85% of the sales managers’ time, leaving very little time to dedicate to projects.
“The hospitality key accounts and foodservice consultants require, however, a different and concerted approach and success or failure is often dependent upon the priority one gives to the relationships with them. It is no great surprise, therefore, when the manufacturers’ objectives are not achieved at the end of the year and the strategy is either scrapped or given lower priority.”
To many, says Jahnke, the investment in a full-time business development executive with the appropriate connections is simply beyond their reach. This is where Jahnke’s concept of a shared resource steps in: “It is all about creating a situation where all three parties – the key accounts, the consultants and the manufacturers – enjoy a tangible and long-lasting benefit,” he adds.
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