Nexus is leveraging their history, expertise, and future-forward vision to redefine the role of the broker into the future
To rep or not to rep? That’s the question for many manufacturers aiming to make the most of their market opportunities. Finding the best fit, whether through direct sales personnel or a brokerage agency approach, is a critical decision that makes a significant difference in how rapidly and successfully revenue targets can be met for a manufacturer and the market segments that they serve.
For over 38 years, Nexus has been a vital link for manufacturers to distributors and operators whose choices of products are make or break on both sides of the prosperity equation. The Pleasanton, Calif.,-based brokerage, which began as a small family-operated small business in the Oakland Hills as Sales West Partners, has expanded its considerable reach into 11 Western states.
Nexus specializes in selling and marketing food, foodservice disposables, janitorial supplies and equipment to foodservice, paper, and janitorial distribution companies who resell the products to large operator customers such as restaurant chains, schools, colleges, hospitals, government agencies, and stadium venues.
As experts in technical product training, onsite product demonstrations, logistical order tracking, online digital marketing, cost control analysis, merchandising, menu innovation, product sourcing, and custom operational application consulting, Nexus provides matchless services when it comes to meeting customers’ needs.
As one of the original partners, and current President of the Firm, Chris Matson told BOSS, “It’s a challenge every day to meet the growing demand within our industry, but because of our great team of people, how we have evolved with technology, and the innovative marketing strategies that we implement to assist our great customers, we believe that we can be the critical link or the ‘nexus’ to bridge the gap in any opportunity.”
“Although our industry continues to consolidate, our value in the marketplace is created from our veteran reps that know how to sell, know the products, know the industry, but most of all they all have key relationships with large operator and distributor customers,” Chris said. “Manufacturers have the choice of hiring an inexperienced sales rep fresh out of college or hiring a seasoned and efficient brokerage agency that only costs a percentage of sales.” he added, “Mathematically, we win that every time.”
The linchpin of Nexus’ success is active engagement with both distributor partners and the largest, most significant operators in their regions. “This strategy has helped us find new sales growth year after year for our client manufacturers,” Matson noted.
Manufacturers have a choice in how they set up their sales force regardless of their market niche. When they need a seasoned sales force with established relationships that can clear the path of entry into their preferred market, and a collaborator to help build their brand and boost sales, they look to Nexus. Far from their humble home office beginnings, these days they have four regional sales offices across the Western U.S., from which their 30-person workforce markets to over 700 distributors and 18,000 operators.
One of the main reasons for their popularity among manufacturers is Nexus’ ability to contact, present, test, train, and get a commitment from a large operator on a product, which then triggers a need for a distributor to order the product through Nexus to deliver to that operator.
“We have become experts in pulling new business through our distributor partners by helping them market products to their operator customers, which helps drives sales,” he explained. “This technique is what makes Nexus unique and is the key to driving up our own sales growth among our manufacturers.”
Standing the test of time
Matson has shepherded the firm, as one of the original partners, for the past 32 years, becoming president in 2017. Chris told us, “We market and sell over 7,000 products among all of our manufacturers throughout the West. We sell just about everything you can imagine that goes into a restaurant from straws, cutlery, takeout packaging, napkins, pepperoni, smoked salmon to toilet paper and chemicals. We do a lot of training within our Firm to ensure that our salesforce has the product knowledge that is needed to effectively market our factories products into a complex variety of operator segments and to the distribution community.”
“Every day is different. Some days our team is focused on pepperoni and sausage. Another day they are working on printing custom takeout bags,” Chris said “I am, along with my entire Executive staff, are highly engaged everyday with customers, as we also go out into the field and work with our sales team.” Moreover, Chris told us, “We are always adding new manufacturers and hiring new people, to meet the demand, and it's been fun at the helm, steering the company in a new growth direction.”
In 2014, the company was purchased by private equity Firm called PMC Global in Southern California’s Sun Valley. Chris explained, “They gave me the funding to grow Nexus. As a result, I opened up offices in the Pacific Northwest and Phoenix and hired key Reps in Utah and Colorado as well.”
He also credits his Executive Team for the company’s rise, including EVP Mark Calestini; Dave Divelbiss, who is Nexus’ VP of Foodservice; Greg Fishburn, VP of Jan/San; and their Controller and HR Director Christine Clark. “They’ve made an incredible difference to the Firm. I am very grateful to my Executive Team who have all really helped me elevate the company by providing fantastic leadership and direction to our entire staff.”
The Nexus culture drives motivation from the top down. They also open up communications among all of their employees to ensure proficient and efficient workflow. “We do this among a number of cultural platforms, like hosting an annual sales conference where we fly everyone in for two days of product training, dinner parties, and a chance to bond with other Nexus employees,” Chris pointed out. “We also spiff our sales team each month with a sales contest, an employee of the quarter award, annual bonuses, and annual awards.” Open and frequent communication, through weekly bulletins, quarterly company conference calls, and social media ensures that every employee can share their successes and stay informed about news, policies, and procedures.
In addition to hosting podcasts, webinars, and speaking engagements, Matson and company have written a number of comprehensive industry guides to help customers make informed, truly effective business decisions. From presenting food industry statistics and granular details about food trends, to an in-depth examination of food service and janitorial/sanitation environmental product guides, Nexus chooses to share their industry knowledge and product terminology as an investment in their longevity with their customers.
This expertise is particularly helpful as companies shift their product offerings to accommodate changes around environmental impacts, such as California’s ban on single-use plastics and its pledge to transition to zero waste by 2040. “As a result … many places have transitioned to plastic disposables that meet key recycling initiatives or over to 100% certified compostable and PFAS-free disposable packaging,” Matson stressed.
A variety of new laws and ordinances, such as requiring plastic can liners to have at least 30% recycled plastic blended into their virgin resin and for chemicals to be bio-safe and green seal-certified, impacts their janitorial/sanitation customers as well.
“Nexus fits into these two changes perfectly because we offer these types of green and sustainable products along with product knowledge, samples for testing and product training to our customers to help them make the right decisions for their operational applications,” he explained.
Where deep industry and innovation meet, Nexus is the rep agency that rises to the challenge and connects their manufacturer clients to key customers for mutual success in the marketplace.
Nexus was founded in 1985 by Bob Weggenmann. We recognized early that the key to growth is to understand the needs of our customers. Our dedicated approach led to unprecedented growth within our organization. Today our salesforce is one of the largest in the Western Region. We understand that in order to continue our success we must market the most functional and cost-effective mix of products for all of our customers to use in all of their foodservice and janitorial operational applications. In order to do this effectively, we have become an extended sales and marketing resource for each of our partnered manufacturers. By utilizing our extensive investment in inside sales administrative personnel, comprehensive product training and cutting-edge technology we fulfill the needs of our customers and develop the partnerships that help them maximize profitability.
7042 Commerce Circle, Suite B
Pleasanton, CA 94588
Phone Number: 800.482.6088, 510.567.1000
Fax Number: 510.567.1005
Homepage Link: https://nexus-now.com/