Posted by: peterhact | July 7, 2010

Distribution – how to make it work for you

I have been working in distribution for over 3 years now. I have watched resellers try to win business and fail, companies go under, and many, many compete for the same small bit of business. (with varying success)

In the ICT sales environment, there are a couple of things resellers seem to think is accurate.  For the most part, they are dead wrong, and the impact of being so wrong is the difference between winning and losing the deal.

1. The Vendor isn’t interested in whether I win or lose the business.

Don’t think for a moment that the Vendor (or Manufacturer) isn’t interested. They may not engage with you for the low cost deals, but you are a part of their agility in the marketplace, and they need you. Resellers have a far greater reach than the vendors on their own. There are opportunities that are driven by a reseller and solutions may contain several products that the end user may not have actually thought of using together.

2. Distributors are only a place I buy my products from.

Every Reseller has a war story about how they got the best price for their client. the Distributors are viewed as the enemy by some, their friend by others. Distributors have far more to offer than just the products you need. They are the Educators, the Trainers, the Facilitators, they receive leads by end users who don’t know who their resellers are, from vendors who don’t know who in the local market can actually provide the best support of their products, and they can advise you of other products that complement the solution that you are working on.

3. Distributors don’t have any value adds.

The distributor I worked for ( I am leaving) had many value adds, config services, asseting, marketing, event management, telemarketing, vendor meetings, etc, etc. The only way you can find out whether the distributor can assist you is by asking. And you would be amazed as to how they can help you once you have asked – in fact, they may be keen to help…

4. If I don’t tell the distributor who my end user is, my opportunity is safe.

Very, Very wrong. Tell the distributor. if they can get the vendor to help you, they will. Keeping the info from the distributor means that if the vendor has announced that there are special prices for all resellers working on the opportunity, you will miss out. This is also advantageous to get the opportunity flagged early, and allows the distributor the ability to ensure that the vendor is aware of your participation. Sometimes, something so little can be a great advantage over your competition.

5. The best price is the best.

Hah! The best price may mean that the stock is out, with an ETA of over a month. It may mean that the distributor will help other resellers who aren’t so picky re pricing, or that the opportunity is delayed whilst they try to get approval for the price you want. They have to ask a manager for approval for the price, and have a valid reason…

So…

How can you make distribution work for you? How can you use the services and support that they provide to benefit you? easy. Talk to them. Get to know your distributors, and get a chance to have a great partner behind you.

(By the way, I am leaving for new challenges, not because I don’t like my job, I love my job)

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