Vermont Way Foods
Director of Brand and Business Development | Full Time
Vermont is known for open, lush farmland and great food crafted from this land. Vermont’s fresh foods are award winning and sought out by food lovers and visitors to the Green Mountain State. To help ensure the success of hardworking farmers and talented makers of Vermont food well into the future, we need to build demand and connect consumers throughout the northeast to Vermont’s great foods. The Vermont Food Hub Collaborative, L3C,* is seeking a Director of Brand and Business Development to drive this demand creation through strategic leadership, sales savvy and marketing knowhow. If you have these talents, a passion for great food and for doing right by farmers and food makers, we’d love to hear from you.
About The Vermont Food Hub Collaborative (“the Collaborative”)
The Collaborative’s (dba Vermont Way Foods™) mission is to bring more incredible food to consumers and help Vermont farm and food businesses thrive.
The Collaborative Aims To:
- Create new regional market opportunities for Vermont farmers and food makers in a way that is transparent and equitable;
- Increase sales of locally grown products by developing an expanded distribution network and implementing a collective marketing strategy;
- Represent all Vermont farms and value-added food producers, regardless of size.
Once achieved, these aims will increase efficiencies, create demand and market opportunities, and increase sales and financial success for food hubs, farms, and other food system businesses.
Our Measures of Success:
- The Vermont Way Foods brand connects to target consumers throughout the market.
- Members are able to access greatly expanded markets on behalf of their constituent farmers & value-added food makers, and both groups enjoy increased sales.
- The operations and management of the Collaborative are well-planned; with clear expectations for members and contractors;
- Risks are actively managed, and opportunities are prioritized;
- A full dashboard of Key Performance Indicators aligned with the business plan, including both financial and market demand metrics, is maintained and effectively communicated to all stakeholders.
The Director of Brand and Business Development will successfully introduce Vermont Way Foods to customers and consumers, developing a clear sales strategy to drive incremental market growth that supports the brand mission. Concurrently, consumer demand will be built by sharing the rich brand story of Vermont Way Foods. Strategic leadership will be needed to set a 3-year business plan and a vision for the marketing, sales and operation teams to match demand needs. Clear proactive communication and reporting to the Food Hubs will be essential as policy is shaped, budgeting needs anticipated, and market intelligence is shared back from the market to help farmers fine tune their offerings.
A. Brand and Marketing
- Launch Vermont Way Foods brand in target markets in the northeast.
- Mold and shape the power of the brand, bringing it to life by sharing it and the Collaborative’s values to connect with our target audience.
- Plan and oversee all creative development, promotional activities and social marketing.
- Lead a team, including contractors, to shape and execute a robust digital marketing campaign.
- Maintain consistent voice, image, and brand through all marketing materials.
- Continually refine, augment, and achieve brand stickiness.
B. Market and Business Development
- In partnership with Collaborative members, establish goals and procedures for member participation in market penetration.
- Maintain and evolve an innovative product portfolio management strategy.
- Plan product positioning via market intelligence.
- Develop and maintain higher-level, strategic, customer relationships.
- Liaise with collaborative members to transition prospective key accounts from business development to order management.
- Monitor market data, customer feedback, and observations on new products in the market and recommend ways to refine product offerings.
C. Operational and Financial
- Develop and manage budget and multi-year financial forecasts.
- Manage marketing metrics and sales goals.
- Use data to identify key channels, competitive landscape, target markets and prospective key accounts.
- In partnership with hub management, contribute to the direction of ongoing improvement of operational systems (order taking, sales, warehousing, etc.) that enable the efficient flow of products from farms to hubs to customers.
- Prepare reports, and otherwise support members through communications by both informing and consulting with farmers, funders, and other stakeholders.
Please note: In addition to the qualifications outlined below, the hiring team will consider candidates with comparable knowledge and skills acquired through another combination of education and experience.
- Bachelor’s degree or significant, relevant experience (especially in combination with applicable education and training).
Knowledge and Experience
- Ten or more years of marketing and/or sales experience with customers of all sizes, including five in management, preferably in outside sales and/or local food, beverage or other consumer products.
- Has led or participated in the roll out of a branded marketing consumer campaign for retail products.
- Experience thriving in a young, growing company (minimum of $3-5MM in sales) requiring effective cross-functional management within and between multiple stakeholders.
- Proven success securing and managing major accounts (institutional, chain and other multi-location customers, including third-party distributors), and understanding of day-to-day customer care and inside sales needs.
- Basic understanding of the food system, including producer seasonality and capacity.
- An understanding of socially responsible business practices.
- Existing relationships with relevant major accounts in the northeast preferred.
- An appreciation for a sense of place required. Vermont-specific experience or knowledge preferred.
Skills, Abilities, and Interests
- Real Food enthusiasm, and an affection and appreciation for the important role of hard-working farmers and producers.
- Superior sales, negotiation, analytical and organizational skills.
- Able to analyze and translate market and customer info into business development opportunities.
- Skilled at proactive, respectful, clear, and accurate communications, both written and verbal, including communicating sales performance and business development information.
- Excellent relationship-building, collaboration, and customer service skills.
- Solid business acumen, including budgetary and strategic/business planning skills.
- Strong organizational skills and natural proclivity for keeping detailed and accurate records.
- Able to creatively adapt to changes in evolving businesses and jump in where needed to optimize operations.
- General technical skills with common workplace tools, such as: G-Suite, Excel, Slack, Asana, and customer relationship management software (CRM).
- Optimistic, collaborative, friendly, and highly professional
- Entrepreneurial, and comfortable with ambiguity and autonomy
- Pragmatic and resilient
- Dedicated to transparent and equitable business practices
- Respectful and appreciative approach to working with people from a broad spectrum of backgrounds
- Reliable private vehicle
- Valid driver’s license
- Location: Candidates need to live in a location conducive to building demand throughout the northeast, and attending monthly, in-person meetings in Brattleboro, Vermont.
The Vermont Food Hub Collaborative, L3C, (dba Vermont Way Foods™) is an equal opportunity employer that values diversity of experience and perspective to enrich our work. All qualified applicants will be considered without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, citizenship, ancestry, place of birth, national origin, disability, genetic information, pregnancy or pregnancy-related condition, age, crime victim status, health coverage status, HIV status, military or veteran status, or any other protected classification, in accordance with applicable federal, state, and local laws.
Candidates need to live in a location conducive to building demand throughout the northeast, and attending monthly, in-person meetings in Brattleboro, Vermont.
Applications including cover letters and resumes will be considered on a rolling basis and should be sent to the attention of our search partner, Beth Gilpin Consulting, for consideration by the hiring team. We anticipate conducting interviews in April and May, and welcoming the director in early summer.
See more at https://bethgilpin.com/current-openings/.