The impact of strategic distribution

​Do you know who your clients are, what they buy and how much? If the answer is that you only handle some of this information, or flat-out don’t know, it’s because you’re missing out on a big part of the picture. If your distribution is indirect, it’s likely that you are seeking out ways to reduce the impact of the lack of market visibility. One way to achieve this is working side-by-side with your distributors. Getting closer to your distributors might seem like a difficult job; nevertheless, just like everything else in the market, it´s about offering advantages and benefits. Everyone wants to earn more and sell more. Distributors are no exception. Here are 5 ideas to turn them into business associates.

1. Strengthen your ties with distributors

The information managed by your allies varies from quantifiable data with insights about what and how your clients consume, which are the best sales territories and what is the greatest area of opportunity for your market, to information that can help you improve and optimize the quantity of products distributed. In teaching them how the right strategy can improve sales monitoring and identifying opportunity areas, as well as more effective marketing strategies, and additionally that they could obtain rewards from your company if they meet or exceed sales objectives, you will have shown them that your interest is genuine and that sharing information doesn’t represent a threat to them. Forming a new bond, based on trust, to share market information will make all the difference in developing the business.

2. Help the distributor grow

There are two key words from which everything stems; control and support. When approaching the distributor, point out all the potential that could be going to waste. Show them how you could help them gain greater control over their operations, thanks to your support. Your approach should always be oriented towards improving the sale of your products and how this can translate to other areas: reduction of stocks, lowering of costs, client satisfaction, market positioning, winning new markets by having greater coverage, optimizing delivery times, lowering discrepancies of assortment and optimization of costs of transportation, storage and shipping.

3. Integration and automation

You may be able to elicit great willingness from your distributors to share key sales information; but if you don’t offer them a quick and easy way to integrate, it’s likely that they will abandon the idea of working together. Relying on software products that integrate suppliers is the fastest way to make it happen. Once integrated, you’ll be able to automatically receive daily reports containing key indicators from your indirect distribution.

4. Motivating distributors

Nurturing relationships with distributors doesn’t have to be difficult. You only need three solid pillars that help you build the bonds with them: communicate with them, train them and motivate them to work with you by showing them the advantages of your business. Seeing optimal results can be the best stimulus to keep up a good work pace. To the extent that you have processed data, show the distributor the value of your brand, show them in numbers how you are optimizing product rotation in stores and compare together how their sales have evolved since integrating.

5. Channel loyalty

Your distribution partners are after profits. They will always choose your brands or products based on the highest yield and sales volume that they can achieve. One fast way to keep them loyal to your brand is to create additional rewards besides profits, such as incentives for sales volume, client retention and coverage, to structure a loyalty program according to the sales territory diagnostic and the brand’s priorities. Finally, you can make your distributors an important part of the innovation process. Make them aware of how big a role they play and how all the day-to-day information they can provide you will make a difference in the design of your products (easy to handle packaging, new SKUs that the market calls for, changes to packaging communication).

From theory to practice

​The world has changed for good. The relationship between companies and distributors has grown into one of partners who share data. Although it’s natural that along the way resistance to working together continues to crop up, gaining access and bringing down walls comes about by implementing strategies in which distributors feel valued and appreciated. Processing and standardizing data isn’t easy. Nevertheless, the changes we are witnessing bring with them ever-friendlier and faster solutions that allow you to get connected and manage information in real time. Thalamus offers a module exclusive to distributors, where you have the option to connect with them, map out client codes and SKUs from each distributor’s systems, normalize the data and standardize reports. All this from the web with access to a business intelligence tool that lets you view the workings of your distributors and make the best decisions for your company. With this tool you can see what you sold, where, in what quantities, and observe inventory behaviors for your products. Thalamus Distributors Engagement seeks to nurture your relationship with your distribution partners, so that not only will you be able to closely follow sales; you’ll also be able to create prizes programs for achieving objectives and reward a job well done. The solution you need to increase sales is just a click away. Try it! Alejo Avalos Co-Founder @ Thalamus