Foodservice Sales & Marketing Association

Agency Management Success Factors


Manufacturers with productive sales agency relationships have several management traits in common. Any manufacturer seeking healthy partnerships with their agencies can adopt these strategies. The result is better strategic alignment that fosters great relationships between client and agency, leading to greater results. And these success factors fit on a single page!


Click here for FSMA's Success Factors Guidelines


  • treat your sales agencies as integrated parts of your outsourced sales & marketing team
  • pay your agencies appropriate compensation for the services you expect
  • involve your agencies in marketing, sales, and promotional planning activity
  • provide top-level talent that is well trained and competent to effectively manage your agencies
  • allow your agencies to manage their own resources to best support your line
  • use industry standard technologies such as EDI with your agencies
  • provide feedback and ongoing support to your agencies – communicate promptly & professionally
  • understand the differences between a direct and outsourced sales group
  • consult with your agencies before making major changes to sales and marketing plans
  • establish ongoing communications with agencies through an advisory council
  • financially assist your agencies local marketing efforts when appropriate


  • treat your sales agencies as a third party contractor that appears as an expense line on the P&L
  • micro-manage the market-level activity of your agency
  • pull scarce selling resources away for non-selling activity
  • penalize your agencies due to customer non-payment or other misbehavior
  • overburden your agencies with excessive administrative requirements
  • develop proprietary technology that forces agencies to juggle many systems
  • measure activity instead of results
  • think your agencies cannot manage your line along with other clients in your category
  • hire away your agency people
  • shift costs by deducting heavily from agency commission payments