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Shawn Persons
by Shawn Persons
on March 4, 2016

Selling through distributors can feel like a complex maze to navigate, but it doesn’t have to be. Using some key components you can make the most of this relationship. At the core, is understanding that your distributors are an extension of your business and not a separate entity. The more you connect with your distributor base and their role within your sales channel, the more you both stand to profit. Following are some essential keys to understanding how to sell through distributors and develop a strong, effective network.

Offer Real Value.

Whether you are developing a new distributor relationship or enhancing a partnership held for years, one vital key is the value you provide as the manufacturer. Besides the obvious profit level available, your distributors are looking to you for a complete package including sales and marketing support. Do you assist in drawing in the final customer? Is your marketing scalable for your distributors to easily use and share? Does your sales material offer real information that informs and provides solutions that your distributors can offer to your final customers? Having a solid inbound marketing plan offers valuable support for your distributors.

Be a Team Player.

Even though you, as manufacturer, and your distributor have different roles within the sales channel, you are still on the same team, with the same end customer. How well do you know your distributors and their respective businesses? Get to know them, the size of their business and the unique challenges they face. Understand the characteristics and personas of the end customer so that you are all sharing the same information and offering the right solutions. Ensure that ongoing support and service are always available and that your distributor is not working alone.

Create Opportunity for Growth.

Your products are just as important to their success as well as your own. Conduct regular and ongoing sales training and communicate new product introductions and enhancements well in advance. Clearly define goals, how they will be measured and the advantages of surpassing expectations. By having a layered sales and marketing strategy, your distributors will have an arsenal of materials at their disposal to attract, convert, close and delight your shared customers.

The common thread in understanding how to effectively sell through your distributors is partnership. By offering real value in an effective sales and inbound marketing program you can gain momentum as a cohesive team, poised for future growth. Need more? Click here to get the facts on how inbound marketing works for manufacturers.

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