BritVic case study

Britvic Soft Drinks and Expression for Growth



Britvic Soft Drinks is one of the leading soft drinks businesses, producing over 1.4 billion litres annually. They distinguish core markets as ‘at home’, which includes all the major supermarkets and ‘out of home’, which includes tens of thousands of small local shops, restaurants, pubs, hotels and cinemas.

In 2012, Britvic decided to invest in the Learning & Development of their commercial team, after years of very little training. A desire to up-skill their existing sales force, and with the knowledge that they were to grow that population from 20 people to 120, led them to look for an L&D partner to address several behavioural changes:

  • Being too obsessed with negotiation rather than sales – the preference was to negotiate before selling.
  • Existing sales models were too confusing – they weren’t helping to get the most out of individuals.
  • Lack of strategic thinking – they needed to better inform and influence customer visions and plans.
  • Existing coaching was patchy – people were nervous about implementing it.
  • No common language – especially amongst the commercial team with inconsistency of models and approach.
  • Lack of collaboration – in general and across the broader commercial team.

To implement the changes needed to address these behaviours, they measured the success using these business objectives:

  • Become a trusted advisor amongst their key customer base by 2020 and to hold strong to a dedicated vision and purpose.
  • Achieve a score of 80% capability across selling and planning by 2015 in ‘fully proficient’ or ‘demonstrating’ i.e., 4 in 5 people have the capability they expect to sell.

The main learning objective for delegates was to ensure consistency of the Britvic way of selling and be more aligned to their customer needs.

Our Solution


Expression for Growth’s training solutions are designed to transform how ​people approach selling, delivering high impact and measurable results​ every time. 

Our approach is to operate at a deep psychological level; challenging​ beliefs, changing behaviours and in turn driving business results. Our programmes were put in place to enable Britvic to use a consistent ​process for outcome-focused customer meetings, how to genuinely ​and quickly connect with customers and communicate effectively with ​different personality ‘styles’. ​

Expression for Growth tailored some core commercial programmes for ​Britvic, developing the content and exercises to ensure participants were able to:​

  • Apply a strategic thinking approach to any plan, internally or externally​.
  • Create commercial insights to gain a competitive advantage​.
  • Gain cross functional alignment, using a common language​.
  • Ask ‘amazing’ questions’, to probe and sincerely listen to the answers​.
  • Develop deeper relationships with customers, to truly understanding the decision making process​.
  • Flex style, to build rapport quicker and improve communication with customers and colleagues​.
  • Run effective, outcome-focused business meetings, with a view to driving mutual business gain​.
  • Present solutions in a relevant, persuasive and engaging manner​.

A tailored multi-tiered approach to enhance commercial selling skills​

The proposed solution comprised of a full suite of commercial programmes, putting into practice a 70/20/10 approach to training. It offered in-class learning (the ’10’), creating a bank of internal coaches (the ’20’), as well as putting into place support tools and resources. This allowed the participants to use and embed their learning, back in the workplace (the ’70’):​

Precision Selling
  • Understanding the behaviours of exceptional salespeople
  • Setting powerful and clear meeting objectives​
  • Having a clear process and structure to use​
  • Enabling a common language across teams
  • Develop a strategic mindset
  • Making sense of data to give focus​
  • Turning data into insight​
  • Generating ideas​
  • Commercial criteria to prioritise
  • Creating commercial solutions​
  • Collaboration for generation of winning propositions

The Participant Journey

The participant learning journey is delivered over an agreed period, via a series of impactful events and sessions. Participants are provided with the processes, skills, tools and the confidence, to be the best in class.

Client results

Working together we embedded and delivered fast, positive ROI. Britvic have seen their turnover increase by +1.6% in 2014 and their profit increase by 45% in 2014. Their share price has also risen by 86% since 2013.

“The training solution has had a profound impact on the way that we engage and create positive dialogue with our customers, resulting in Britvic recently being awarded Branded Supplier of the Year for Soft Drinks by the Grocer, as well as having one of the fastest growing scale brands in the category.”

Ian Forshaw, Commercial Director, BritVic

This is a great example of how the successful implementation has impacted on their customers, in particular one of their main ones; Sainsbury’s. Their group sales have increased +2.8%, which we are thrilled to have contributed to.

“Our decision to work with Expression for Growth has proven to be a great one – which have enabled us to deliver our strategic objectives”

James Powys, Senior Capability Manager, Commercial Excellence, Britvic

Award-Winning Performance


Britvic were nominated EFG for two TJ Awards; in December 2015 won a Bronze TJ Award for both the Best Supplier & the Best Sales Programme categories.

They also moved from 8th to 3rd place in the Advantage Group Survey ranking.

What Participants Said

Ian’s comment suggests this is now embedding itself into the DNA of their people and Britvic are already seeing the impact.

Participants were immediately excited about the change and were able to report numerous successes. One participant comments:

“A great example is the listing of one particular brand across my customers. This has been achieved in 3 out of 4 of my accounts outside range review window timings which is generally unheard of! This has delivered an incremental 41.7KL and £30.9K Net Revenue since listing. With securing the listings on these lines all accounts have agreed to incremental feature with one retailer, with costs under ½ the rate card! It goes to show increased preparation is key in securing new listings and feature.”

Other feedback includes:

“In one department at Britvic, they scored the programme 94% of overall delegate satisfaction.”

“The “top-down” approach and involvement of the senior leadership team resulted in changes witnessed in day-to-day communications with both internal and external customers.”

“One 5-to-Drive planning exercise uncovered opportunities worth £22.5m at net sales contribution.”

“Expression for Growth tailored the content to needs of the team and individuals. Great for the trainer to make himself available post-course too.”

Case study correct at time of the Award win.