Marston’s, the brewer and pub operator, is to introduce a scheme whereby business development managers (BDM) from the tenanted estate also handle freetrade and other accounts. The aim is to make better use of resources, particularly in regions where the company has limited presence, according to Stephen Oliver, managing director of the newly created division Marston’s Beer and Pub Company. Oliver told M&C Report: “We have an idea about hybridisation. “If BDMs are spending a lot of time in the car and they’re driving around the country, there’s obviously the cost both in terms of fuel and time, and wear and tear on both vehicle and person. “You have a BDM who has a big patch, and at the same time there’s another bloke in the same patch doing freetrade. This one geography has a BDM in it for tenancies and somebody who is doing a bit of national accounts work as well, and he’s got freetrade. “It’s all a bit daft really because they’re criss-crossing each other. And because the geographies are much bigger, they don’t get to know what’s really going on in that area. “So our idea is this. You have a smaller geography. They do freetrade, tenancies and a bit of national accounts - one person will do all of that.” Oliver said a significant advantage is that the BDM would have a much greater understanding the local market. “They will know the pubs, they will know what’s happening with the competition. In some cases the competition might be the Punch tenant or the Enterprise tenant who they call on as well. “They can bring more value to the Punch tenant, not by giving away secrets, but by helping all of the pubs that our brands are associated with through national accounts, and tenancy and freetrade to better compete in that local market.” BDMs would also have more “face time” with tenants, Oliver said, because they would be travelling less. The ratio of BDM to tenant would remain the same. He said the scheme has been trialled in a small number of areas and would be rolled out “gradually” during 2012. The new Beer and Pub Company division, combining Marston’s beer business and the c.1,100 tenanted pubs not earmarked for the franchise-style Retail Agreements, was formed in October.