Effective Supplier-Distributor Teamwork
May 27, 2015
The promotional products industries business model is unusual. Just ask any outside B2B professional. Yet we know it works, and under most circumstances works well. Trust and teamwork are imperative for the promotional products business model to function well.
The topic of trust is currently debated on social media. Trust that the supplier and distributor are upholding the promotional products structure of exclusivity. The distributor-supplier relationship must involve trust to get to the strength of our industry: teamwork. I am not talking about internal company teamwork. We could not function during our insanely busy 4th quarter without a well-nurtured and honed team. Teamwork must also exist on the supplier-distributor level, and even the supplier-distributor-end-user level.
Keeping communication channels open is key in the supplier distributor team. Communication must be flexible and quick to respond and always open to possibilities. Details of a project must be well communicated within the team to keep it processing. The end-user might not be aware of what product and services are available. It can take some digging to determine what fits their time-line and price point needs.
When there is trust, the supplier-distributor-end user team is a valid approach. Our sales team partners with distributors to call on their clients with larger accounts and programs. The distributor takes the team lead position, with the factory present to supply inside information insuring the end user of a smooth, well crafted program. This occurs via conference calls, office visits and end user shows.
There are also the smaller instances of teamwork. Here are some examples of what we can supply to our distributor team for their marketing and sales efforts:
- education on how to sell food,
- statistics on the most likely buyers of food gift programs
- personalized websites, photography and graphic images
- end-user formatted social media posts and eblasts
- self promo programs
- virtual, tasting and spec samples
- turnkey end-user sample programs
Finally, we must recognize our important team members ‚ the multi-line reps who are often the front line of our sales team. They are often the first impression a distributor gets of our company. They act as a good sounding board bringing back ideas to us from our distributor friends.
Our promise to you is to embrace the supplier distributor relationship as a true team approach. When invited in to the distributor end-user team, we will function as a team member to bring you success. We can’t do it without you!