Almost all manufacturers sell through distribution. As a matter of fact, if this is not the case for you, you probably should seriously consider doing so.
Let’s say, for example's sake, that you are selling to 100 end users of your product. With distribution, you could sell to 10 distributors that will then sell your products to 10 more end users. By doing so, you’ve simplified your supply chain management and cut down the cost of goods sold.
Brilliant, don’t you think? Absolutely. But if you think your part in the game ends at the selling your products to your distributors, think again. The burden on 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.
What To Do
Think of this relationship as that of a parent and a child. To rear your child successfully, you must “enable” them and set them up for success. Same is true when it comes to the relationship of manufacturers and their respective distributors.
Having a strong, cohesive, and recognizable branding is a good launchpad for your product to succeed, but that’s not all your distributors will need in order to succeed. Here are a few ways you can set your distributors up for success and ensure a lasting and fruitful business relationship with them:
1. Educate your distributors about your products.
Since the burden of explaining the ins and outs of your products to your end users now fall on your distributors, they will need all the support they can get when it comes to understanding everything about your products from its specifications, to its strengths and compatibilities, its functions and applications, etc.
Make sure your distributors can answer potential end user questions about your products. Odds are your distributors are selling other products in the same line as yours. Ensuring that they have a proper and thorough understanding of your products gives you an edge over your competitors. They are more likely to spend time showcasing and explaining a product that they know best especially if end users are asking for their input or recommendations.
Webinars, training sessions and tools, certification programs, presentations, ebooks, etc., are great mediums for educating your distributors.
2. Provide quick and easy access to necessary documentation
Make sure your distributors have quick and easy access to any necessary documentations needed on your end or that of the end user’s to effectively and efficiently close a sale. All things being equal, distributors will always opt to push the product they know more about and can turn into a sale easier. This can be as easy as making sure they have quick access to all the relevant spec sheets on your site or putting together a quick reference part number selection guide so they can guide the end user to the correct part number they need.
3. Create well-branded sales and marketing collaterals
A well-designed sales or marketing collateral such as a fact sheet, spec sheet, flyer, brochure, pricing packet, etc., can help distributors sell your product more effectively against the competition. Branding these collaterals well will give your products an edge against other competition who may not have these put together as well as yours. Chances are these distributors are most likely to highlight attractive, catchy, well-designed brands that resonate with intended buyers.
4. Send them leads
There’s no better way to help ensure the success of your distributors by sending them leads yourself. By doing so, I don’t mean shooting them phone numbers via email here and there. What you need is to implement a formidable lead generation and lead nurturing strategy as you would for your own business. The only difference here is that you’re letting your distributors close these deals. Nothing will get a distributor on board with your product faster than spoon feeding them leads (aka money in their pockets).
For inbound marketing strategies on how to get more leads and convert more of them into clients, check out our manufacturing webinar. We'll let you in on the very strategies we implement for our own manufacturing clients!