Heineken successfully implements a data-driven sales transformation in the on-trade channel

Martin Müller

Content Lead

In a nutshell:

  • Data-driven customer targeting, faster negotiation and offer preparation.
  • Full on-trade channel transparency without lengthy fieldwork.
  • Fast and simple access to data via CRM.
  • Consistent outlet / customer view over time.
"It saves us months of sales reps' time. Now it takes minutes to get the relevant information." – Peter Bustin, Heineken

The Challenge: How to be more effective in a fast changing channel

With a portfolio exceeding 300 brands, Heineken is one of the largest beer and cider producers, proudly calling itself "the world's most international brewer". Heineken Czech Republic is the third most important player on the domestic beer market, producing 2,5 million hectolitres of beer and cider yearly. But the on-trade channel is undergoing a fundamental transformation which even the leaders can not ignore.

  • Consumer preferences are shifting.
  • New formats are emerging, previously successful ones often face challenges.
  • Turnover of closed / new outlets increased.
  • Rapid digitization changes internal outlet operations and consumer experience.

And amongst this changing landscape, companies that sell into the channel are expected to become more productive and get better ROI of their market invest. Not an easy situation. Even for market leaders like Heineken. That’s why Heineken on-trade sales director Pavel Slavík decided to join forces with SharpGrid as he knew that:

  • Heineken needed to become more efficient in on-trade sales and boost its brand penetration and growth in the channel, while the channel itself was changing rapidly.
  • Mr. Slavík knew the sales process had to change as well. Before, a sales rep had to rely mainly on his or her intuitive knowledge of the assigned region. A challenging and time-consuming effort requiring a lot of legwork.
  • It was difficult for sales managers to objectively measure the success of individual team members and the team as a whole since the local context made such a big difference.

Peter Bustin, Channel Activation Manager at Heineken, says that as a sales rep, all you know about the outlet is what you see from the outside. You have to visit the same place several times to get things going. And often you don't get the right data until months later, which is very inefficient. In his words:

"It became very clear that we could not meet our goals without using accurate outlet data in order to be efficient and targeted in our commercial activities. However, on-trade outlet data has been historically quite incomplete or inaccurate."

All this led Mr. Slavík to the decision to equip the commercial team with Sharpgrid Outlet Census, a tool for understanding every on-trade outlet available on the market and for precise targeting of commercial resources.

Learn more: 2 major hidden costs of the on-trade channel you should know about. And how to stop them from eating away your profits

The Solution: Accurate outlet data covering the entire market, integrated into the CRM and sales processes

The Heineken commercial team decided to use the SharpGrid Outlet Census for steering their sales and marketing activities. Outlet Census is a complete and up-to-date on-trade market mapping tool that provides deep granular information about every outlet in the channel. It gives each sales rep access to crucial insights about all his / her existing customers or acquisition opportunities.

Heineken integrated Outlet Census into their CRM system and made it a part of every salesperson's basic tool package. This made accessing and using the data very easy for both sales reps and BI analysts. “After initial setup, the integration of both SharpGrid and Heineken platforms is running smoothly with minimal human involvement,” says Václav Rokoš, CRM Administrator at Heineken.

So how has Outlet Census helped Heineken?

  • It helps sales reps identify newly established outlets they wouldn’t otherwise know of.
  • It allows them to precisely target potential customers and prepare for negotiations before they even go out in the field.
  • And saves them from laborious and painful field data collection.

Mr Bustin adds:

"It helps our sales reps to evaluate potential customers in advance and better prepare for negotiations. It also completely changes and shortens the sales process and saves us months of sales reps time."  – Peter Bustin, Heineken

Outlet Census from SharpGrid also helped us to accurately map the market situation and assess the performance and health of the company as a whole,” says Jiří Večeřa, Area Sales Manager at Heineken. Last but not least, SharpGrid Outlet Census is used in Heineken’s internal data-driven sales agenda to support and drive future business. “Thanks to all that, we can now predict the negotiations' outcome in 75 % of cases,” sums up Mr Večeřa.

Heineken also acknowledges the rapid pace of innovation and quality improvement that SharpGrid is dedicated to. “What's great is that we can see that the depth and quality of SharpGrid Outlet Census is constantly improving,” adds Václav Rokoš

Learn more: A radical change in the sales model caused a >300% increase in customer acquisition for Unilever Food Solutions

The Conclusion: Data-driven sales is the new normal

The client acquisition process no longer depends solely on the intuition of individual sales reps but is data-driven, much more targeted, and ultimately more efficient.

Thanks to Mr. Slavík’s decision to cooperate with SharpGrid, Outlet Census is now embedded in the CRM to power faster and better decision making, enable better transparency and reporting of channel performance, and to unburden sales reps of previously laborious data collection in the field. It is also available as an interactive map for digital-savvy sales reps who make use of additional analytical and visualisation features.

"The whole on-trade business is going to be data-driven very soon. There's no avoiding it but rather a soon-in-the-future requirement. Those who can navigate it best and harness the wealth of essential information will gain a crucial advantage," sums up Mr Bustin.

A demonstration of Outlet Census in action.


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