The demands on suppliers has never been greater to understand the category, the shopper, analyse a lot of data, identify opportunities, and land those opportunities at a fast pace. This is the only CPD accredited Category Management training course. It has helped many suppliers to identify more opportunities, and land more opportunities.

This is a Category Management training course of 2+1 classroom days, 6 months apart, with support in between training days designed to make the learning stick. You will experience our unique training method Sticky Learning ®, the course will be delivered by a world class tutor that has worked in the UK Grocery Industry, and our ROI guarantee is included.

Built and refined over a decade, this unique training course is designed to meet the specific and challenging demands of sales & marketing teams of suppliers to the big four UK supermarkets. It will improve the way Learners identify opportunities within their category, and increase their ability to gain buy-in from buyers to accept & implement their recommendations. In short, increase category sales.

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Learning Objectives

By the end of this Category Management training the Learner will be able to:

  • Identify their current category competency framework level and what is required to move up the levels.
  • Identify more ways to interpret quantitative and qualitative data in order to identify more opportunities that drive category growth.
  • Communicate thoroughly the key principles of current Category Management.
  • Demonstrate new language that improves their Category Management credibility.
  • Better understand the shopper, the preparer and the eater, to ensure they are at the heart of their decisions.
  • Understand how to better implement opportunities that have measurable benefits for the shopper, the supermarket, and their business.
Topics covered

Training Topics Covered

These 3 days, 6 months apart (2+1), will help the Learner to be the first supplier called by the supermarket when the buyer needs to increase sales, gain category insights, or understand the shopper better.

This training course will quickly and easily help the Learner to expertly understand a category, identify opportunities, and show how to successfully land those opportunities with their supermarkets. The sessions follow our tried and tested ‘Funnel Process’, of which the main topics are:

Refresh on ‘Learning To Learn

  1. Agree Category Targets
  • 3 Legged Stool including overview and history of Category Management
  • KPI and KRA/s
  • Competency Frameworks
  • Category Strategy and Tactics

2. Understand Your Shopper

  • Pen Portraits and ‘SIM’ shopper insight mapping
  • Purchase Decision Hierarchies
  • Category Segmentation
  • Data sources and metrics

3. Know Your Supermarket

  • Retailer Visions & Strategies
  • Category Roles
  • In-store operations
  • Digital – online and social media

4. Turn Analysis & Understanding Into Opportunities

  • Range, Availability and Promotions
  • Identifying opportunities from the left brain
  • Identifying opportunities from the right brain

5. Sell £ Opportunities

  • Trust Model
  • Define your end in mind
  • Know your audience
  • 7 Steps for Essential preparation

6. Land Opportunities

7. Evaluate and Improve

  • Scorecarding
  • Dashboards
  • Evaluation Tools
  • Store feedback, supply chain etc.
Ideal learners

Ideal Learners

For Category Managers, Category Analysts, Account Managers, Account Executives, Category Marketers, and NPD Managers. We will soon be launching a ‘Category Management Association’ to create a forum for discussion. Plus, for members to be able to set a benchmark in the UK for Category Managers for what great looks like in the UK Grocery Industry.



“Following my attendance of the Category Management course I picked up valuable skills and techniques that I have been able to put into practise within my category teams. It has really strengthened my credentials and we are starting to see some real results.  The courses are relaxed, informative, modern in delivery, whilst at the same time challenging.

I’d recommend them if you are looking for personal development needs for individuals or your teams and looking to engage and challenge your categories, you won’t be disappointed.”

Carrie Smith, Customer Marketing Manager, Continental Fine Foods.

For more testimonials visit written testimonials or video testimonials.

Making the Learning Stick

Hopefully the term ‘Sticky Learning ®’ has intrigued you, whilst you probably guessed a sense of what it is about.

In short Sticky Learning ® is our own unique method that we have developed to help Learners Realise more of what they have learnt, be able to Recall more of what they have learnt, and Retain more of what they have learnt. In 2016 we further upgraded this unique training method to include habits formation as a big part of helping Learners to use more of what they have learnt.

This is good for our clients because it means that the money they spend with us is better invested than with other training providers because the learning is used for longer.

Course duration

Training Course Duration

At MBM we no longer offer 1 day courses due to their limited effect.

Our Sticky Learning ® unique training method enables Learners to learn more, learn more quickly, and learn more easily. Sticky Learning ® is a key part of the 6 month training course consisting of pre-work, Learning To Learn 1/2 day training course, a Foundation 2 day training course, and an Advanced 1 day training course (6 months after the Foundation training course).

In between the Foundation training course and the Advanced training course, the Learner will be challenged to complete ‘Sticky Pieces’, which appeals to the 70:20:10 learning model. These are desk based activities that help the Learner to change their behaviour long term by identifying a habit that they wish to adopt to embed the new skill.

The Learner is also given:


World Class Tutor

Darren A Smith
Andy Palmer
Picture of Andy Palmer

Your tutors for the Category Management course are Andy Palmer and Darren A. Smith. They have combined careers of over 45 years.

Andy has spent almost equal time between a UK big four supermarket, a supplier to the UK big four supermarkets, and his time with MBM.

Darren’s is a game of two halves; 12 years as a Category Manager at one of the big four UK supermarkets and then 12 years managing, as the founder of Making Business Matter.

They both ensure a relaxed, experienced and fun training environment where Learners are challenged & encouraged.

Learners per course

Learners Per Course 

8 Learners because this drives enough discussion between the learners to explore the skill well, whilst not too many that any one Learner gets ‘lost’ in the debate. If you do not have up to 10 people please checkout our 121 Executive Coaching, which can help just you to learn this skill.



  • £225 per Learner per day.
  • The total cost for up to 8 Learners for the training course of 3 days, including sticky pieces, and the 5 level evaluation ‘Chain of Evidence’, is £6,750, plus vat.
  • Either held on-site at the client’s premises, or a an off-site venue can booked and charged back to the client.

Measuring Return on Investment

There are many evaluation methods for training, each trying to find the holy grail of return on investment. We use Donald Kirkpatrick’s four level training evaluation model as a base because it has stood the test of time, since 1953.

Level 1: Reaction: How did the Learners react to the training?

Level 2: Learning: How much learning did the Learners get?

Level 3: Behaviour: How much have the Learners used the learning?

Level 4: Results: How much effect did the Learner’s learning have on performance?

Few training providers measure the return on investment beyond the level 1 reaction. We have added one further level:

Level 5: Sponsor: How much did we achieve the sponsor’s objectives?

Read more about our 5 level evaluation tool and see an example report – ‘Chain of Evidence’.

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Learning Needs to be Intriguing

To this end of ‘Learning needs to be intriguing’ we name each one of our training courses after a relevant film and we’ll make reference to this on the course.

For our Category Management training course we chose ‘The Matrix‘ because the linkage is about cutting through the code, the data, and gaining clarity on what is real and important.

The film is from 1999, starring Keanu Reeves and Laurence Fishburne a classic bit of sci-fi. It’s about becoming Neo and finding the truth!

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