Channel sales are a tricky proposition. Due to the nature of the job, and the more dynamic nature of distribution, channel sales have their own sets of unique challenges. Just because the dependency on others is high in channel sales, as compared to top corporate sales, it is important that you efficiently manage distributors.
Many companies have difficulty getting to handle their relationship with the companies that distribute their products and services. This is mainly because these distributors are like employees, and also they are the outlet through which businesses reach out to the marketplace. Also, distributors have extremely varied and demanding requirements, and if these needs and requirements are not met, the relationship falters.
How do you efficiently manage your distributors?
For a business, finding the right distributor can be a great boon in boosting your product business. Distributors can get your products over to the retailers and also provide you with many valuable leads and exciting opportunities. Therefore, it is essential that you have a shared vision and following the below-mentioned steps:
- Firstly, businesses should have a clear and similar ethic of developing the business and relationship. Together with the distributor, both should have a dedicated approach towards external sales, should spend money on marketing and both should have an entrepreneurial flair. The chemistry must be right to make the relationship.
- As a supplier, you must sew seed in the mind of the distributor so that the distributor develops ideas in line with your thinking. There has to be a sales plan that must be realistic and some ambitions in it. You should make the distributor commit to the actions agreed.
- Maintain levels of responsibility, commitment, and support that the sales plan works for all, and is in the interest of both of you. All actions must be apportioned with a time for completion and action. Have a dynamic plan that can be easily updated and reviewed from time to time by both parties.
- As a supplier, you must take responsibility to train your distributor and his team with your product range and must keep them updated with the latest developments. Ensure that the same is communicated in such a way that the distributor can benefit from them.
- As a supplier, you must be aware of the challenges, differences, and nuances of each market and support your distributor by giving him suggestions, ideas, and necessary support accordingly.
Failing to understand your distributor’s limitations, challenges and businesses is the biggest mistake you can make as a supplier. Always remember that for a distributor it is all about margins. They invest their money and time in your product and expect that it will bring them good returns. Every distributor has their strategies, plans, aims, history, reputation, philosophy, and contacts and they have something that you as a supplier do not have – the expertise. And this is what makes them so valuable for you and your business. Simply put, they are the face of your company.