5 Proven Marketing approaches for manufacturers to grow distributor business

Selling through distributors can have its challenges if your marketing support is not aligned with the distributors’ needs and objectives. Forward-thinking distributors are looking to partner with manufacturers that can provide value as well as increased profit potential. Considering a structured marketing approach that supports your distributors’ marketing objectives will not only strengthen your relationship but will also enable both entities to grow faster.

Below are five ways leading manufacturers can help their distribution channels grow and win more:

Focus on driving more, higher quality leads

Treat your distributors like an extension of your business and not a separate entity. The more you help feed your distributors’ pipeline, the more you both stand to profit.  A lead coming from the manufacturer is a qualified lead, so of course, the distributor is going to do what they can to close the deal. Plus, if your distributor represents competitive products or solutions, they will be more likely to present your solution first to the prospect if they received the lead from you. It’s a win-win by fostering the relationship and the pipeline.

To prevent quality leads from getting caught in a sales cycle abyss, a lead tracking process is recommended as well.  Putting this kind of process in place will ensure accountability, transparency, clearly define roles, and follow-up time frames. Lead tracking will also support any distributor incentive programs and ensure monthly, quarterly, and annual targets are being met.

Gather and provide market intelligence to help distributors win more

Help keep your distributors well-informed of evolving marketing trends so that they can develop strategies that are aligned with the industry they serve. Providing market intelligence will also help your distributors be proactive, rather than reactive to market changes.  Offering market intelligence can even provide some competitive insight to distributors, helping them identify and pursue gaps in the market that could ultimately result in market share gains.

Not to mention, gathering intelligence to understand your distributors’ business, the markets they serve, and their end customers will help you better support their business and offer the right products and solutions.

Ensure distributors are familiar with your portfolio of offerings

It’s easier to sell a product that you are familiar with, it’s just that simple. It is important to have frequent touchpoints and training with your distributors.  The goal is to capture the mindshare of your distributors, especially the ones that sell competing products and offerings.

As the pandemic continues to impact the way we do business, and more companies have employees working from home, regularly scheduled training and updates can also help keep team members engaged and feeling connected. These interactions also represent an opportunity to answer opportunity-specific questions and provide subject matter expert insight, giving your distributors the extra edge, they need to be successful.

Work to help distributors know how to sell your offerings

Overall, the pace of new product launches or product enhancements has accelerated dramatically. Prioritizing new product training for distributors will expedite their readiness to sell. Be your own product evangelist, demonstrate how the products can be positioned in the market, by highlighting the value proposition and differentiators that will help your products stand out amongst the competition.

Timing is everything – conduct ongoing sales training and communicate new products and enhancements well in advance so your distributors have their go-to-market strategies in place in enough time to make an impact.

Support distributors with quality marketing materials and content to help them win more

Ensure your distributors have an arsenal of materials at their disposal to attract, convert and close business. Provide your distributors with current and tactical sales tools that can help them in the field – e.g., line cards, brochures, optimized webpages, sales tips, and tactics documents that contain essential high-level marketing content, along with ROI stats, who to approach, how to approach, what to say, how to handle objections. Not only does providing a complete set of marketing and sales enablement resources to distributors help them win more deals, but it will ensure that your brand is represented consistently and accurately.

In addition to brochureware, allowing distributors the opportunity to leverage awareness campaigns and promotional initiatives to generate end-user pull-through, is a significant value-add for distributors.

Helping distributors win more should be a critical part of your business

Despite putting much time and effort into sales incentives and back-end rebates to drive sales within distribution channels, the real value comes in the form of frequent communication, marketing support, and training. High expectations don’t always yield high performance if your distributors don’t have access to the insight, expertise, and resources often shared in a comprehensive marketing support framework. If you invest the time and effort to support your distributors and become a valuable partner, they will reciprocate with loyalty and be more willing to sell your products.

digital marketing roadmap

Free Download: 5 Key Steps to Developing a Digital Marketing Roadmap

A Must Have Digital Marketing Guide for Manufacturers

    5 Proven Marketing approaches for manufacturers to grow distributor business

    Selling through distributors can have its challenges if your marketing support is not aligned with the distributors’ needs and objectives. Forward-thinking distributors are looking to partner with manufacturers that can provide value as well as increased profit potential. Considering a structured marketing approach that supports your distributors’ marketing objectives will not only strengthen your relationship but will also enable both entities to grow faster.

    Below are five ways leading manufacturers can help their distribution channels grow and win more:

    1. Focus on driving more, higher quality leads

    Treat your distributors like an extension of your business and not a separate entity. The more you help feed your distributors’ pipeline, the more you both stand to profit.  A lead coming from the manufacturer is a qualified lead, so of course, the distributor is going to do what they can to close the deal. Plus, if your distributor represents competitive products or solutions, they will be more likely to present your solution first to the prospect if they received the lead from you. It’s a win-win by fostering the relationship and the pipeline.

    To prevent quality leads from getting caught in a sales cycle abyss, a lead tracking process is recommended as well.  Putting this kind of process in place will ensure accountability, transparency, clearly define roles, and follow-up time frames. Lead tracking will also support any distributor incentive programs and ensure monthly, quarterly, and annual targets are being met.

    1. Gather and provide market intelligence to help distributors win more

    Help keep your distributors well-informed of evolving marketing trends so that they can develop strategies that are aligned with the industry they serve. Providing market intelligence will also help your distributors be proactive, rather than reactive to market changes.  Offering market intelligence can even provide some competitive insight to distributors, helping them identify and pursue gaps in the market that could ultimately result in market share gains.

    Not to mention, gathering intelligence to understand your distributors’ business, the markets they serve, and their end customers will help you better support their business and offer the right products and solutions.

    1. Ensure distributors are familiar with your portfolio of offerings

    It’s easier to sell a product that you are familiar with, it’s just that simple. It is important to have frequent touchpoints and training with your distributors.  The goal is to capture the mindshare of your distributors, especially the ones that sell competing products and offerings.

    As the pandemic continues to impact the way we do business, and more companies have employees working from home, regularly scheduled training and updates can also help keep team members engaged and feeling connected. These interactions also represent an opportunity to answer opportunity-specific questions and provide subject matter expert insight, giving your distributors the extra edge, they need to be successful.

    1. Work to help distributors know how to sell your offerings

    Overall, the pace of new product launches or product enhancements has accelerated dramatically. Prioritizing new product training for distributors will expedite their readiness to sell. Be your own product evangelist, demonstrate how the products can be positioned in the market, by highlighting the value proposition and differentiators that will help your products stand out amongst the competition.

    Timing is everything – conduct ongoing sales training and communicate new products and enhancements well in advance so your distributors have their go-to-market strategies in place in enough time to make an impact.

    1. Support distributors with quality marketing materials and content to help them win more

    Ensure your distributors have an arsenal of materials at their disposal to attract, convert and close business. Provide your distributors with current and tactical sales tools that can help them in the field – e.g., line cards, brochures, optimized webpages, sales tips, and tactics documents that contain essential high-level marketing content, along with ROI stats, who to approach, how to approach, what to say, how to handle objections. Not only does providing a complete set of marketing and sales enablement resources to distributors help them win more deals, but it will ensure that your brand is represented consistently and accurately.

    In addition to brochureware, allowing distributors the opportunity to leverage awareness campaigns and promotional initiatives to generate end-user pull-through, is a significant value-add for distributors.

    Helping distributors win more should be a critical part of your business

    Despite putting much time and effort into sales incentives and back-end rebates to drive sales within distribution channels, the real value comes in the form of frequent communication, marketing support, and training. High expectations don’t always yield high performance if your distributors don’t have access to the insight, expertise, and resources often shared in a comprehensive marketing support framework. If you invest the time and effort to support your distributors and become a valuable partner, they will reciprocate with loyalty and be more willing to sell your products.

    digital marketing roadmap

    Free Download: 5 Key Steps to Developing a Digital Marketing Roadmap

    A Must Have Digital Marketing Guide for Manufacturers

      Effective-marketing-program-guide

      Industrial Marketer’s Guide to Creating an Effective Marketing Program

      147 pages of actionable ideas to help you create a winning marketing strategy and program

        Industrial Marketer’s Guide to Creating an Effective Marketing Program

        147 pages of actionable ideas to help you create a winning marketing strategy and program

          Related Clients

          Click on work examples below

          Need Help With Your Marketing Program?

          Get Started