February 24, 2015
I recently read a great article in Industrial Supply magazine on how independent distributors are helping Amazon take business away from them. The article was written by Jack Bailey, CEO of IDC-USA, an independent distributor cooperative.
The article is interesting because it not only affects distribution, but ultimately the manufacturers who supply them. From a distributor’s point of view, they are either scared to death of them or they think it’s a passing fancy and this too will go away.
The problem is that most items that have part numbers and can be ordered online or through a PO are prime game for Amazon. Amazon has convinced many distributors to join their third party selling agreement to sell their products on the Amazon e-commerce site. Short term for many of them, it means more sales, but long-term, it will mean disaster. Amazon is a great collector of data and once they have enough profile info on who buys what, they can and will cut out the independents.
What does it mean to manufacturers who have resisted selling to Amazon is they run the risk of being replaced by a competitive product and literally lose millions in sales when Amazon comes to them with all this data of who bought what from whom.
This has always been one of manufacturers biggest challenges with traditional distribution of getting the names of their customers and what they buy. Now the distributors are willing to give that up freely to their biggest potential competitor that could put them out of business and they will!
February 4, 2015
From a manufacturing point of view, it’s in your best interest to train contractors on the best way to install your product. It eliminates call backs and helps contractors sell more of your stuff. No surprise there, but with sales forces that are stretched thin, now they can only do so much training. Where do they focus their efforts – on the distributor’s sales force or on the end user?
The answer is use online training for both.
- You can train distributor sales on new products, not only on features and benefits, but also on where/when they should be used. There are several eLearning options out there that can test them after to make sure they got the point.
- You can train contractors on new products/processes and installation tips.
- Online lets them take the course on their timeline, not yours.
Both distributors and contractors want to get the most out of both employees as well as opportunities, so you’re better off arming them with the right info.
- According to the American Society of Training and Development, companies that spend $1,500 or more per employee average a profit margin 24% higher than those who don’t invest in their employees.
- Deloitte reports that 18% of all training is now on smartphones.
- Cisco’s VNI Global IP traffic and service adoption forecasts that by 2018, 79% of all internet traffic will be videos.
If you like this post, you might want to read:
Do You Have a B-to-B Video Strategy?
Manufacturers: Are You Missing out on Video Opportunities?
B-to-B Video is on the Rise: Are You Taking Advantage?
February 3, 2015
Marketing’s role over the last decade has been pretty simple. Focus on your brand and identify new potential sales. Granted, there have been several new tools and processes introduced to help us identify, track and communicate with potential new customers. But the ultimate end game was to differentiate your brand and help identify and create good leads for sales to follow-up on.
That is about to change if you buy into a recent article in eMarketer that said branding and lead generation in a few years won’t be marketing’s top priority. The article claims that the top 3 current responsibilities won’t even be on their list. What does that mean to current marketing teams? It means major changes will need to be made to support these shifting priorities and responsibilities.
According to the article, less than 20% currently have fully integrated customer data across their organization. That leaves a lot of work for the rest of us.
I think we all need to look at marketing tools that can help us work smarter. I also think most of us with our sales counterparts are trying to get a better handle on what our customers want. But what we sometimes overlook is one of the basics - talk to them and see what’s up. Isn’t that our ultimate end game?
What are your thoughts? Do we spend less time on brands and developing leads?