Focus on core strength
Independent distributors have been introducing Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) platforms to their businesses over time. Further, many large distributors in this group now have robust websites and e-commerce platforms. However, smaller distributors are beginning to find favorable pricing from the growing number of eCommerce integrators at their disposal. The rise of Amazon Business, especially during the pandemic, has caused distributors to focus even more attention on digital sales techniques. The independent distributor, however, needs to be careful not to lose sight of its core strength — customer relationships. What differentiates independent distributors from alternate channels is their ability to win sales by building personal relationships with their customers.
Business is about relationships
Today’s automated eCommerce systems take care of many tasks previously handled by the sales team. When there is a sales problem or glitch, however, the internet connection proves to be a weak link. This is where relationships matter. Automation frees up time for territory sales managers and inside sales teams. Use it to build strong customer relationships that add value to your product and service offerings. Be in a position to offer a personalized solution when a client has a problem or question.
Mark Dancer writes: “The purpose of business is to help us live our lives and do our work in the digital age, as humans for humans”.
The future of distribution
Chester Collier shared these insights on the importance of relationships in a recent MDM podcast: “It doesn’t matter what you are selling, who your competition is or even the price. Business is about relationships, and when you understand this, you understand what needs to be done. Build a strong relationship with your customer and success WILL follow.”
Lastly, the future of independent distribution is being able to offer a relationship that works in collaboration with digital services and specific customer needs. Use your data to add value to relationships by customizing your offerings. This will differentiate you from competitors that can only offer simple, non-complex products.
By doing the right things, at the right time, for the right reasons, distributors will win through their relationships with their customers.