4 Strategies To Help Manufacturing Distributors Push Your Products
A strong partnership between a manufacturer and their distributor is vital for the long term survival of each business and the most successful union is when both parties play to their strengths.
It’s easy to explain how a distributor stands out in a crowded market but how does the manufacturer stand out when there are loads of products available from manufacturers in every part of the country? Why should a distributor choose one manufacturer’s product over another’s?
Manufacturers have limited channels with which to get
their products out to a hungry market. Thankfully, distributors save the day not only by pushing products to a wide network of retailers and end users, but by helping alleviate logistical and marketing costs as well.
First and foremost, the products have to live up to the industry standards. Some manufacturers have expertise with certain product lines but may not be strong in all categories. Nonetheless, the quality of the product must deliver.
Here are three ways to ensure your products will rise to the top in a sea of crowded goods and will make it easier for your distributor to push your solutions.
1. Top Flight Training Materials
The better education you give to your distributors the easier it will be for them to apply your product’s benefits to potential customer’s needs.
Long, boring documentation that is written in a style best suited for technical engineers will be ignored. Today’s distributor needs multiple forms of sales materials that are accessible and easily digested. The complexities of manufacturing products are best understood over the long term so introductory information should be brief but informative and written from a high level view. Application specialists can always be summoned for their expert opinions and can address the more sophisticated properties and variations of any given product.
2. Quick Access
Despite the digital age we find ourselves in, it is still desirable to offer printed materials upon request. While older buyers may be comfortable with hard-copy brochures and pamphlets, younger purchasers will require training videos, downloadable technical data documents, and social media engagement.
Easy-to-digest manuals that are visually helpful and available a the click of a button will go a long way to start the learning process. Sales and support documents should be organized and descriptive for finding what is needed quickly.
3. Continue to Build Brand
Branding promotes recognition. People tend to do business with companies they are familiar with and the more recognizable your brand is, the more likely your products will stand out. Your brand helps set you apart from the competition when your products are evenly matched.
People love to tell others about the brands they like.
Once your product have proven itself, that success becomes a calling card for your other products. A brand that is consistent and clear puts the customer at ease because they know exactly what to expect each and every time they experience the brand. Plus, a strong brand generates referrals.
4. Nurture the Relationship
Building effective partnerships usually takes two to three years because they must be earned, not merely declared.
The burden of successfully selling your products to the end user doesn’t fall solely on the shoulders of your distributors. At the end of the day, if your distributors encounter difficulties selling your products, it won’t take long for them to drop them from their offerings and that would certainly do some damage to your business.
Once the distributor is familiar with the literature, manuals, and support material, the manufacturers job is still not done. Continued nurturing of the relationship can take the form of monitoring distributors. The best way to learn about distributor requirements is to get out into the field periodically and listen carefully to what they have to say. It is the field salespeople who must perform this important task on a continuing basis.
Another way to keep the lines of communications open with your distributor is encourage them to write suggestions for improving policies and programs. Each contact contributes bits of information about the distributor’s current opportunities, problems, and changing needs.
Companies boasting successful distributor partnerships usually have the most competent and best-trained field sales forces in their industries. This also suggests that they in turn expect the best from their distributors. The willingness to work together and problem-solve as needs in the marketplace change helps sustain the flexibility needed for a successful long-term relationship.