If you’re in the manufacturing or industrial sector, there’s a very good chance that you rely on third-party distribution channels to handle at least some of your sales. In previous years, it was often commonplace to treat these channels in a “fire and forget” sort of way. The manufacturer ships product to the distributor, then leaves it up to them to handle the rest.
However, in the modern digital business paradigm, that approach is quickly proving itself to be inefficient. Manufacturers who cultivate close ties with their distribution channels, treating them as partners in the sales process, tend to see far better returns. This is particularly important in situations where those sales channels are non-exclusive. The better you treat your sales partners, the more likely they are to put emphasis on selling your products, rather than competing brands.
We have extensive experience in helping improve relations between manufacturers and sales channels, and these are some of the most important points we emphasize in our consulting work.
1. Recognize independent goals
First, just in terms of mindset, it’s important to always keep in mind that sales partners are independent, and pursuing their own goals. They’re working with you because it’s a mutually-beneficial arrangement. If you look to understand their business goals, you can pitch ideas on a “here’s how we can help you” level that is more likely to succeed.
2. Get facetime with critical staff
Direct exposure is one of the best ways to improve yourself in the eyes of sales partners, and boost your mindshare. Get some one-on-one time, or at least some videoconferences, so you stay in touch. It’s even better if you can get them to your facilities to show off your production works! This avoids the sense of disconnection you can get when all your communications are via email.
3. Be transparent about plans and expectations
In nearly all circumstances, open and transparent communication about your business goals will work to your benefit. If your sales channels understand your goals, and you understand theirs, then it becomes far easier to create a partnership framework designed to move you both along your desired paths.
4. Share insights about markets and customers
You and they will have different perspectives on the markets and target buyers, and that’s a good thing. Multiple perspective bring a deeper understanding of your markets, and that’s necessary to stay on top of fast-changing business situations. You should have strong lines of communication allowing people to plan and discuss outreach.
5. Enable easy collaboration via technology
Another crucial element when building bridges with your partners is being easy to work with. The simpler it is for them to communicate with you, order product, report sales, and otherwise do day-to-day business, the better. This is easily achieved via technology, particularly software packages aimed at enabling this sort of high-level interchange.
FUSE Creates Communication Opportunities
FUSE is a one-of-a-kind new collaboration platform specifically designed for growing business ecosystems. We present a technological space where you, your partners, and everyone else involved in your operation – even end users! – can all come together to share ideas, learn, and collaborate.
To learn more about how FUSE enables ecosystem growth, just contact us.