Whether we are distributors or manufacturers, our motto should be “Committed to Your Success.” The material handling manufacturer needs to be more than simply a supplier of products and price. The distributor needs to be more than someone whose personnel are distributing product literature and catalogs. Both the material handling manufacturer and the distributor need to create a partnership in which both entities provide solutions, solve problems and share in the profits and successes of their joint efforts. Once we focus on the success of our partner, it is amazing how successful we can become.
What the Manufacturer Brings to the Party
To strengthen the partnership between the distributor and the manufacturer, the manufacturer must commit to marketing programs which create immediate sales opportunities for the distributor, driving home distributor name recognition and keeping the manufacturer’s brand awareness in the minds of potential prospects.
Most manufacturers have a wide array of lead-generating sources in order to provide qualified leads for their distributor partners. These sources include the Internet, card decks, trade shows, distributor-specific mailings, telemarketing efforts, new construction and renovation leads, as well as distributor-specific brochures and mail pieces.
Sales Support Checklist
Once a lead is generated, it must be tracked. Comprehensive sales support tools in order to assist the distributor in the sales process should be a given. The following is a checklist of the tools most manufacturers have at their disposal:
- A Web site which is designed to answer both the distributor’s and the end-user’s questions. It should provide product details, showcase product applications and, most importantly, continually generate leads.
- Dealer binders which are designed to walk the distributor and his or her customer through the sales process.
- Territory managers who conduct on-site product training for the distributor’s existing sales force, as well as new hires.
- Literature including brochures, application sales sheets, specification documents and dealer-specific mail pieces should be standard.
The ideal partnership between material handling distributor and manufacturer is based on loyalty and a true desire for mutual success. Because once we commit to the success of a material handling partner, it is amazing how successful we become.