Article – June 2021 – agency impressions in wholesale field sales

A Brand In Need – Field Marketing Wholesale and Independent Retail

In April 2021, Field Marketing spoke to ‘Client A’ when the convenience retail food brand was in the foothills of choosing an agency for a tactical promotion at wholesale.

Brands use all manner of resources to help make up an agency shortlist. As many of our readers through the years have testified, FMBE is a leading resource because our mix of neutrality and case study insight, delivered via the magazine and awards.

We get regular calls, asking for agency selection advice and decided to turn that into an opportunity to share with you what clients are looking for in the early stages on the route to appointing and agency and will be talking to some of our callers in a bit more detail about their search so far.

Client A: A food manufacturer with a growing reputation in quick cook convenience products

WLTM: A field marketing agency with in-depth wholesale relationships that also offers van sales and independent store sales.

Client A came to us in early April having just started their search via Google using search terms that specifically sought out wholesale field sales and field marketing as this was regarded as priority.

These were the agencies that came up in April 2021 via natural or paid SEO via Google.

Avansa, Inspire Field Marketing, RSS Field Marketing, Elevate Retail, Strictly Sales and Marketing, McCurrach.

Here are the first impressions, from Client A


“We liked this a lot as wholesale relationships – our priority – is front and centre of the Avansa’s website. They really look like specialists who care about the channel. They propose ‘long lasting relationships with depot management”, which appeals. Success at retail is also a skillset of the agency, but the enthusiasm for the nitty gritty work at wholesale stood out. The passion is born out by MD Alan’s profile on the ‘Team’ page. He is through and through a wholesale man. That passion is echoed by many of the other individual profiles.

We also liked the results-based testimonials. Although these were drinks and impulse sector brands such as KP, Cawston Drinks and Ritter, they were convincing.

A perceived negative was a lack of deeper case study insight.”

Inspire Field Marketing

“Top of one wholesale specific search term, Inspire’s site otherwise focuses on creating the general impression of its growing status and capacity as an agency, offering up a broad set of FM skillsets, but with a convenience store retail bias. The home page videos that give you confidence in the agency’s results driven ambitions and real-time reporting. The Carex case study video impressed. Even though we don’t need a similar service, it was good to see the store relationships.

More case studies and a bigger feeling for the management team, beyond the MD, would have been useful, although few could doubt the enthusiasm and drive of the MD himself.

A plus point – technology and data provision was clear.”

RSS Field Marketing

“The very first impression was quite generic – a list of competency claims – and it was quite hard to look beyond this. But the fit in terms of stated retail and wholesale capabilities looked appropriate for us.

RSS’s analysis process, ADAPTS was hard to gauge in terms of potential value – it might be interesting with more information.

The case studies that are billed on the home page are an intriguing mix that includes wholesale and retail, but surprisingly brief – just snapshots.

A silver award win with POPAI looked positive, but it would be nice to know when this was presented. ”

Elevate Retail Solutions

“The focus is on the broad range of field marketing solutions. You get a feeling a breadth and adaptability. It would be nice to know something about the management team who deliver these skills.

A breadth of case studies are made prominent on the website, although low on detail – and they are very helpful. What you don’t get is much in the way of testimonial with them nor anything more recent than 2016.

A News tab indicates an October account win of Britvic though the year is not indicated. Links to social media show Britvic team recruitment, so perhaps the October announcement is 2020?

The technology and data insight was very well presented.”

Strictly Sales and Marketing

“We got off on the wrong foot as this company makes an unsubstantiated claim right in its home page – ‘SS&M is the market leader in nationwide field-based sales and marketing.’ We love a bit of confidence and sales banter, but this claim – without saying how they decided upon it, didn’t push our buttons.

This is a shame because it’s a nicely presented website with van sales listed a lead skill and wholesaler relationships identified as a priority – both on our wants list. It was great to see a testimonial from Red Bull extolling Strictly’s success for the brand via Booker.

Beyond this though, and a nice client comment brief from Proximo, there’s not really enough client insight.

A clear technology proposal stated the agency pairs up with Zync for this – a good tech provider know a bit about.”


In April 2021, found via paid SEO

“In general terms this was easily the best thought through website including full team leader profiles that showed up dedication and expertise. Best of all were meaningful success story case studies that showed the difference this agency makes across multiple industry sectors. Case studies from McCurrach’s work with Kerry Foods were particularly helpful to us.

Wholesale was not prioritised on this website, though it seems highly likely the agency would be fully capable of meeting our brief.

This is also the one agency found through Google that we had also heard about as a known FMBE award winner.

The only potential downside is that our work maybe too tactical and niche get the best value from this large scale outsource partner together with potential competitor overlap with one of their existing clients.”

Client A, First Impressions Verdict

“Google search first impressions certainly narrowed the field whilst adding at least a couple of candidates to a shortlist that included FMBE gold and silver winners and agencies that the team had previously worked with. Here are some of the areas in which the agencies conveyed a ‘right for us’ feel.”

Meaningful current case studies: Inspire, McCurrach

Specific relevance to wholesale relationships: Avansa, RSS, Strictly

Management Team Profile – Avansa, McCurrach

Useful testimonials – Avansa, Inspire, Elevate, Strictly

Clear technology and data information – Inspire, Elevate, Strictly, McCurrach

Awards – McCurrach


Consequently, searching the website search function was especially useful. Any agency that is proud enough of its work at wholesale to enter it for awards – and then good enough to be shortlisted would definitely be a good contender for us. The supportive detail of FMBE’s virtual award’s presentation for the 2020 awards produced interviews offered real insight into wholesale case studies – from Instore Field Marketing with Glanbia, REL Field Marketing with Weetabix and Top Notch Sales with Cofresh.