Name: Sean Griffin
Title: Vice President – Regional Customer Development
Company: Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits
Certification Obtained:  CPSA

HOW LONG HAVE YOU OR YOUR COMPANY BEEN INVOLVED WITH THE CMA?

I was first introduced to the CMA in 2012 and over the course of that year, I completed the requirements to achieve the status of Certified Professional Strategic Advisor.

WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO BECOME CERTIFIED?

This was an offering SGWS was putting out there for some of our commercial team members to take advantage of and further our skills to be a better, more valuable resource for our retailer partners. At the time, I was on our Walmart business nationally, and they are a very data-driven company and were focused against strategic planning for growing the beverage alcohol category. This certification was a big deal for me to enhance my relationship with Walmart merchants.

YOU HAVE BEEN CERTIFIED WITH OUR HIGHEST DESIGNATION FOR QUITE SOME TIME, HOW HAS THE TRAINING HELPED YOU OVER TIME?

I revert back to the trainings often. It has been some time since I completed them, however the Strategic Selling pieces specifically have been most beneficial for me in my career. I’ve been attached to commercial sales for the better part of my career, so being a consultative salesperson is critical. With the unique relationship in the Beverage Alcohol category with the three-tier system, having the understanding of Collaborative Planning is likely the most important aspect of everything we do. Within my current role of Customer Development, we spend a lot of time looking at shelf schematics and layouts, so the elements that CMA has built out on Shelf Management are fantastic.

WHAT ARE YOU COMPANY’S PLANS FOR CERTIFYING OTHER MEMBERS OF YOUR TEAM? HOW MANY, AND WHAT LEVELS?

We are opening up certifications to our customer development teams this upcoming year, which is near 100 people. They will have access to this level of training, which I am very excited about.

WHY HAVE YOU/YOUR ORGANIZATION DECIDED TO PUT MORE EMPHASIS ON TRAINING NOW?

Each year we focus on a different area of education/training for our teams. We’ve done industry certifications and tactical trainings most recently, and now we are switching gears back to our roots of being more strategic for our customers.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE SOMEONE CONSIDERING COMPLETING THE TRAINING AND CERTIFICATION?

You will get out of it what you put into it, like most trainings. However, pay attention to the details within these programs and stop yourself often to jot down notes on how each step along the way can be applied to your day-to-day to change your perspective and approach. Have a goal in mind prior to each training segment with real world applications that will benefit you, your company, and your customers.