To help the McCain Foods sales force move from a product-focused selling experience to a business-focused one, Merkle and McCain needed to deliver the content, tools, and resources necessary to tailor the conversation around customers’ needs. And unlike the current sales tools scattered across a broad range of locations and platforms, Merkle wanted to make everything accessible from a singular platform so the sales team could spend less time hunting for information and resources and more time consulting with their customers on how to grow their business.


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The approach

What connects the McCain Foods sales team is its problem-solving nature and desire to do more than just sell products. McCain’s ambition is to be a trusted advisor to restaurant operators and help customers grow their business. So Merkle devised a strategy to help the McCain sales teams seize their problem-solving nature and move beyond product sales to become restaurant business experts. We used this strategy to inform the tools that help them increase their expertise and start to consult (and not just sell).

In partnership with the McCain Customer Marketing team, Merkle B2B designed an entirely new digital portal for the sales force. The portal houses all the content, tools, and resources a salesperson might need to support their conversations with customers. This portal includes everything from product information and food service trends to training modules. In addition to the sales portal itself, we also developed new digital tools to help guide the sales team in its selling journey, including a lighthearted video series that made the portal less intimidating and easier to use for even the most traditional sales reps.

Merkle’s portal-engagement tools included:

  • Sales Portal for Dummiez:
    We created a fun, attention-grabbing guide to provide a summary of what the sales portal entails. Each page highlights every section within the portal with tips on how to use it and direct links to specific areas of the portal, making it easier for the sales orce to access. Since the portal is new to the McCain sales team, we felt it was important for them to have a guide at their fingertips to support the behavior change.
  • Email Campaign:
    To create buzz and excitement for the launch of the portal, we created a series of emails sent to the McCain sales force. The first email teased what was to come with a live countdown clock to spark curiosity. The second email was sent on launch day to announce the new portal and ultimately get the sales team to log in to their shiny new tool.
  • Sales Portal Overlays:
    When the sales team logged in for the first time, we created a series of overlays to correspond to the different sections of the portal. Each overlay described the purpose of the section and provided tips on usage. The goal was to offer tips as the user was navigating the portal to make the learning curve easier.
  • Sales Portal Launch Video:
    We played this video at the national sales meeting to celebrate the launch of the sales portal. We featured real members of the sales team to add some humor and familiarity to the video. The video gave a high-level overview of what to expect in the sales portal and generate sales team excitement.
  • Sales Portal Video Series:
    To continue training the sales team on the portal, we created a fun video series featuring real members of the sales team, Joe and Janet. Our first video was an overview of what the sales portal can do in case anyone needed a refresher.

A second video focused on the category calculator. We developed the category calculator to compute potential profits by adding a McCain product to a menu. This new closing tool is what the sales team would use with their operators, so it was important that we put a focus on it.

Another new device we wanted to focus on was the Competitive Match tool. This video shows how the tool can generate a McCain product that is similar to a competitor’s product to guide the sales team in competitive selling. The tool also provided reasons why the McCain product is better and suggested complimentary products to push the sale even further.

To round out our training video series, we focused on the Trends page. The Trends page provides the sales team with a variety of content on the latest and greatest in the food service industry. The goal is for the sales team to share the content with their operators to spark conversation.

Merkle brought creativity and utility to their design of this portal, and the lighthearted whimsy they brought to the launch materials for our salespeople shows that they really understood us.

Summer Dufner

Senior Manager, Field & Distributor Marketing, McCain Foods

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