Cottage Delight has been providing high quality speciality foods to the independent retail trade since 1974 – from their renowned homemade fudge, to delicious chutneys, marinades, jams and marmalades, gourmet dressings, and a wide range of ales and ciders.
Independent sales represent the majority of overall sales, with customers across the UK and Ireland widely represented by farm shops, garden centres, and a variety of other independent retailers. In more recent times the growth in independent sales has slowed down, as trading conditions have become more challenging.
Managing Director Jason Moody explains, “Cottage Delight continues to be a successful organisation with a consistent level of market share and a fantastic product range. However, we are experiencing a more difficult trading environment in respect of independent sales and whilst we have managed to achieve our growth targets in other sales revenue streams we felt it was timely to conduct a detailed analysis of our Sales function to identify opportunities for improvement and secure our long-term position in the independent sales market”.
“We had some observations of our own on what we might change, however we felt it would be beneficial to conduct an independent analysis using a “fresh pair of eyes”. Our long standing, and successful, relationship with Total Excellence Centre made it an obvious choice to bring in some specialist support”.
"Total Excellence Centre made it an obvious choice to bring in some specialist support."
Total Excellence Centre provided Cottage Delight with access to an organisational design and development specialist, Steve Ball, who has a proven track record in organisational change and business transformation. He conducted a detailed organisational review of the Sales function, spending time with a range of team members, including time out in the field with some of the Territory Managers. During that time, he reviewed the existing organisational structure and job descriptions, examined the functionality of both the Field and Telesales teams, considered the capability of individuals within the function, and gained an insight into the culture, leadership style, and remuneration arrangements.
Jason said, “Steve quickly got a grasp of our business model, our culture, and the challenges facing our Sales team. He invested a considerable amount of time talking to members of the team and was able to build relationships quickly, to facilitate the detailed analysis we required. He used his experience and knowledge to identify opportunities for improvement and presented them to me, and subsequently the Board, in a positive and professional manner. We wholeheartedly supported his recommendations and immediately started work on an implementation plan, again utilising support from Steve and Total Excellence Centre”.
The organisational review confirmed many of the concerns held by Cottage Delight about the performance of the Sales function. However, it also provided a deeper insight and most importantly a number of recommendations for change. Jason said, “The recommendations really gave us food for thought and were backed up by sound rationale and a clear business case of the benefits that the changes could deliver for us. We have already made a number of changes to our organisational structure, as well as increasing the levels of accountability in the team. We are well underway in conducting a specific process review to strip out the duplication activities and administrative burden that is having an adverse impact on our people’s capacity to sell. We have also made a good start in changing the leadership style in the team, which in turn will create greater levels of motivation and engagement. The benefits will take some time to show themselves in terms of bottom-line results, however I am very confident that the changes we are making will deliver a sales plan and process that will deliver long-term sustainable growth”.
Jason continues, “The support we received from Total Excellence Centre was everything expected and reaffirmed to me how important our partnership has become over the past five years. I continue to be reminded of the real value that can be added by utilising people with the specialist knowledge and experience that you don’t have access to in your own organisation. I would wholeheartedly recommend Michelle and her team of trainers and consultants at Total Excellence Centre”.