Because selling weed is awesome
Let’s face it, selling weed for a living is a pretty amazing job. And we have some serious admiration for the #DopeSales pros who are killing quota in the cannabis industry.
We love that our customers find value in Pistil and use our platform daily to get into more dispensary doors, put more products on shelves, displace competitors and drive more business and revenue for their brands.
We love our #DopeSales pros here at Pistil. We’re always learning from their experiences and best practices. Today, we’re featuring Caleb Hamilton, Sales Director at Dime Industries. From humble beginnings as Dime’s first California sales rep, Caleb’s career has grown in parallel with the business. From the company’s corporate office in Orange County, Caleb now leads a 25-person sales and brand ambassador organization serving dispensary customers in Cali, Oklahoma, and Arizona.
How did you find your way into cannabis sales?
Caleb: I’ve always been a cannabis enthusiast. I wanted to join the industry, but growing up it was still a taboo topic. So after I finished school and played some water polo, I found my way into the alcohol industry working for a couple of distribution companies. Then about six years ago I made the jump to cannabis joining Convectium, an automation company that manufactures filling machines used for vape pens. That gave me a great entree into the cannabis industry -- even though it wasn’t touching the product -- and introduced me to some great partners. A friend of mine from my water polo days was running Dime Industries. Three years ago we reconnected and the rest is history.
What’s your favorite part of the job?
Caleb: It has to be the interactions with people I just love face-to-face meetings, events, tradeshows -- any chance to talk to people. The industry is very small, so you see a lot of the same people at events and dispensaries. We have a real friend network that has developed. I also love that the cannabis industry is ever-changing. There’s a lot to keep up with and it's never boring. We are constantly adapting to what’s been thrown at us. Not as black and white as other things I’ve done in my career.
What’s the hardest part of cannabis sales?
Caleb: As much as I love the pace of change in the industry, it also presents some significant challenges.
We’re always trying to keep up with new packaging and testing requirements, and what you can and can’t say. There are a lot of regulations and requirements just to get product on the shelves and some very real hurdles around taxes.
Each geography and market we serve has its personality and nuances, so we have to adapt to each demographic, and find the best people suited to those areas.
There is also an incredible amount of product on the market, many with similar SKUs, and that puts downward pressure on pricing. This is why education is so important. We need to help people understand the lows, mids, and highs of flower and vape lines, and why the value of certain products commands a higher price point.
What is your #1 sales pro tip? (the secret to your success)
Caleb: I think it is incredibly important for sales professionals to do their research. Every owner, every store, every geography is different when you are going into stores from Palm Springs, to Lompoc, to San Diego, and you need to know who you are selling to. Is it an older demographic? A college town? Is it a well-populated area with a large customer mix? So know your market, know who you are selling to, and then you can have solutions for their pain points.
How does Pistil help you and your team?
Caleb: We’ve been using Pistil for about four months and we love it. The data is super useful and using the map feature we can see our current customers and new dispensaries in a single view. Our reps use Pistil religiously. Every Monday they have to do a recap on what stores have dropped off, what stores have been pushed, where they are growing and areas for focus. We also used it to make sure our accounts stay on top of their inventory. A lot will wait until they are sold out of product, and that could mean they are losing sales because when the shelf is empty consumers will just walk down the street to find what they are looking for. Using Pistil we can stay on top of their inventory for them, relay that restocking message ahead of time. There are a lot of things at play but I’ll tell you before we started using Pistil we weren’t even in the top 25%, and now we’re in the top 15% to 20% of the total percentage of stores. That says something.
Finally, we’re using Pistil to power our prospecting. We’re only in 20-23% of retail in the state, so there’s lots of leg work ahead of us. Using Pistil’s maps and seeing competitive inventory we can figure out what’s big in that market and find holes in the menu we can fill.