5 Key Ways of Growing your Distribution Business
Distribution business has gone through a lot of changes over the last few years. Today, businesses are no longer focusing solely on gaining a niche by selling promotional products. Rather, the focus has largely shifted towards expanding business grounds by bringing into fore key additional services. The idea is to offer something more to clients. So, what has prompted the change or evolution in the world of distribution business? The answer rests with the clients; today, they are looking for nothing but one-stop-solution from the business providers. Therefore, the evolution has been quite natural given to the circumstances. In this competitive age of today, if one business fails to cater to the best interest of the clients, some other provider will take the opportunity. Therefore, the growth in the sector has been unanimous.According to researches, it has been noted that the business growth can be attributed to various aspects. Here is a quick look at the equation –
- 69 % distributors witnessed business growth through referrals coming from existing clients
- 42 % distributors improved business by communicating with clients regarding upcoming events
- 24 % witnessed growth in business sales by obtaining referrals from other divisions or departments of the client company
- 15.4 % increased their business by highlighting new product ideas coming from suppliers
- 9 % ensured growth in sales by presenting new ideas that are used by other clients
- 8 % distributors increased sales and improved business growth by highlighting the way promotional products help offering positive ROI
How Distributors can Ensure Uninterrupted Growth and Improved Sales
Obtaining competitive edge in the distribution sectors is all about positioning yourself well. A successful distributor is one who can continuously adapt to the changes in the market. The catch lies in catering to emergency needs, capturing share in shifting markets, finding new customers. Additionally, it is also important to explain the value proposition of the business to clients/customers and also suppliers in the form of a unique mix service, products, and knowledge. The key to success rests with proving business value regularly by offering solutions to problems, minimizing costs, and increasing productivity.
This particular model has served numerous distribution companies for decades. However, a number of distributors tend to wonder why they should focus on fixing something that has already been resulting in double digit sales and business growth for the past few years. What needs to be realized here is that the distributing business tends to be at high risk especially if the business isn’t building developing a solid and robust platform for the future and introducing their business model to the growing international market.
Keys to Sustaining Business Growth
Following a formal plan will surely help you achieve the best in the business world. Here’s a quick look at some of the key aspects that distributors should keep in mind to make the most of the emerging opportunities and also fight odds that can end up becoming setbacks –
1. Pave the Road to Improving Customer Service
With trade and communication barriers faltering globally, the number of alternative supply sources has kind of exploded. Adding to this is the increased cost pressure from low-cost countries and strict margins in multiple distribution sectors. Responding to this, a growing number of successful distributors are now offering a broad range of services to the customers/clients. This has further helped the distributors increase their margin points significantly.
Alternatively, there are several other ways through which distributors can look forward to strengthen their customer relationships. For instance, a distributor from Midwest established an online catalog tool that skillfully adapts for each customer based on the history of purchase. Additionally, the online catalog tool also provides order status and real-time inventory. This self service online ordering tool and product information catalogue allows salesperson to spend their time by finding a solution to critical customer issues, routing issues of lower level directly to sales support and also paving the road to new and emerging opportunities.
Adding to this, there is the advancement of mobile technology, which further allows the salesperson to be accountable and productive at the same time. In fact, such advancement in technology allows the salesperson to manage work even while being out of office. From calling on customers to doing reports, workload can be managed at ease and better customer service can be guaranteed by relying on mobile technology. Distribution business has greatly benefited through the advancement in technology as it ensures improved visibility to sales management and strategic development of the sales force.
2. Ensure Better Management of Business Complexity
A number of distribution businesses today focus on performing daily routine activities without any change or evolution in the process. Beginning the day with the same process and performing repetitive tasks to managing sales and order flows has become a habit for the salesperson of today. This routine tends to stretch resources to the point that salesperson today can rarely find the time to look for ways to automate process and adopt new technology by removing outdated processes.
Another issue that emerges in the distribution sector is that the businesses is adopting a technology solution that cannot adapt to or seamlessly incorporate with supplier and customer systems. With distribution companies growing through acquisition, corporate cultures, connecting new branches, and logistics operations, sales processes often gets tough. With businesses juggling a number of complex processes at the same time, employee productivity is largely compromised.
Incorporating the right technology can help the distributors operate across several locations thereby, allowing the sales team to address other business concerns and crucial business needs. Tools that are especially designed for information sharing largely helps the distributors improve communication and enhance visibility for the company. This further helps the distributors to stay ahead of the competitors in the global market. What helps them achieve this goal is fast, prompt, and responsive service against the odds of the changing market dynamics.
3. Encourage the Practice of Attracting Employees of High Value
The distribution business is a tough nut to crack. Therefore, the catch lies in retaining high-value employees. Moreover, with technology making supply chain processes strict, talent will over time emerge as the crucial factor for distributors. With the competition getting tough, you cannot risk anything as your competitors in the field are surely focusing on training the next-gen employees.
The three ‘Ps’ here are important as a number of distribution operations involve low adding and repetitive activities like fulfillment, transaction processing, and logistics and warehouse management. Distributors that can manage freeing their employees always ensure focusing on high-value activities like resolving customer issues, strengthening relationship between customer/vendor, and adapting to new solutions. All these further help the distributors to work continuously on process improvement keeping in focus every aspect of business.
4. Keep Stock of Business Building Blocks
How does your business fare in each of the significant work areas? In today’s age where finding a lower price for a product/service is easy, world-class customer service can act as the only differentiating factor. If your employees ever come across the feeling of running actively just to keep pace with the daily sales volume, you must understand that everybody else is too caught up in the process of business complexity, which further makes you overlook tasks and other risk factors associated with the same. Being in the business, you should take up every effort to hire motivated and productive employee who can assuringly help you take your business to another level.
The three ‘P’s’ i.e. productivity, process, and profitability are the key determining factors of professionally managed companies in any business sector. The catch lies in planning strategically and executing the tasks purposefully to reach the next step of success level. The most common denominator of success for distribution businesses rest with integrating the right technologies and processes into the business at the right time. This allows the employees to create or establish customer centric solutions that can actually take the business way beyond what it is now.
5. Ensure Integrating Value-Adding Services
According to researches, it has also been noted that incorporating some value adding services can help the distributors grow their business radically. Here’s a quick look at the aspects that boost business growth or improve sales opportunities –
- Premiums & Incentives
- Graphics and Printing
- Merchandise Programs
- Direct Mail
- Event Management
Most of the distributors usually plan around things that have happened at least a year before, which further helps adding a growth percentage according to the market indicators. The risk that is persistent with this particular methodology is that as consolidation of industry continues, incremental improvements in business is not just the thing that would help you to stay ahead of competitors and gain an edge in the market. The fact is that sustainable growth can only be achieved by adopting a strategic approach that allows the distributors to make use of available technology for creating a niche in the global market.