Branching out into the "Out Of Home" market with Unilever


Vital Statistics



Project Period:


Services Used:

Strategy and planning

Outsourced field sales

The Brief

Unilever make many of the best-known brands in the world and have a customer network reaching 2.5 billion people.


Having been Unilever’s field sales partner for 20 years, Unilever Ice Cream saw us as the natural choice in 2015 to help support them with a fiercely ambitious growth plan in the Out of Home channel. Our role was to utilise our field sales expertise to support Unilever in achieving their operational agenda - the Out of Home channel.

The Activity

Since our start in 2015, the service we provide for Unilever Ice Cream has developed year on year, using our agile people model to integrate with the evolving strategy for Ice Cream. The focus has evolved across four areas since 2015:

  1.     Perfect City in London
  2.     Win in Leisure including TUPE transfer of Unilever sales team
  3.     Creating an efficient Convenience model
  4.     Entering the Online Restaurant Delivery channel


  1. Perfect City in London

The "Perfect City" initiative involved 31 field colleagues whose role was to increase sales of Ice Cream by building retailer relationships and increasing cabinet density in the city.  The introduction of a dedicated Telephony team responsible for lead generation and transfer orders provided the support necessary to place over 1000 new cabinets, 66% of which were new customers to Ice Cream.

  1. Win in Leisure

The following year, Unilever TUPE transferred their existing leisure sales team to McCurrach and increased the scale of the team to drive growth in the leisure sector, also including education and workplace.  The success continued with Unilever Ice Cream realising a 12% increase in Out of Home sales through new business and growth of existing customers, making the UK the No.1 growth market in Europe. The telephony team were critical to success, working closely with the field team to drive new business appointments, with conversion rates almost doubling in appointment led outlets versus cold calling.  This team has since gone from strength to strength, increasing in size, with 2018 being the most successful year to date, delivering an 18% increase in Out of Home sales and 954 new customers won.

  1. Creating an efficient Convenience model

We have adapted the shape of service in Convenience each year with the objective of finding the right mix of customer reach versus efficiency.  From a start point where we had a large scale seasonal team we have evolved to a shape which includes both a permanent sales team to capture the year round opportunity that now exists for Ice Cream in this channel and a more dynamic seasonal team.  In 2019 Unilever are working with McCurrach’s new Convenience retailer app MyStore+ to further help Unilever Ice Cream engage with retailers, providing insight, education, offers and incentives.

  1. Entering the online restaurant delivery channel

Identifying an opportunity for Unilever Ice Cream to build distribution in the online restaurant channel, we worked in partnership with Unilever and Just Eat to drive online menu listings for Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream. Deploying a team of 13 field colleagues in 2018 we drove distribution onto thousands of online menus on the Just Eat platform, significantly growing Unilever’s market share in this channel.  Operating a different people model in this channel has been important, with colleagues in this team having different working hours, benefits and bespoke tools to support them, including multi-lingual selling aids.

The success we have seen in this channel with Unilever Ice Cream is unparalleled. Unilever Global have watched closely and the UK is now seen as the blueprint for expanding this initiative across Europe and beyond.



What the client said...

McCurrach have brought their channel expertise to help us as we have diversified into new Out of Home sectors and Online. Throughout our Ice Cream relationship they have demonstrated both a great ability to adapt their people model at pace and have always delivered an outstanding sales performance year on year which have been two essential ingredients in our successful partnership. Jose Luis Dorado, Sales Director, Unilever Ice Cream


The Results

1500+ incremental leisure customers

1500+ incremental leisure customers

50% market share growth in Just Eat outlets

50% market share growth in Just Eat outlets

Double digit growth in OOH for last 3 years

Double digit growth in OOH for last 3 years

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