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Distributor Relations: Suppliers Need To Up Their Game

If there’s one thing technology is exceptionally suited to address, it is collaboration between groups across widely diverse locations as well as within the relationships between business organizations and their partners. Case in point, this great survey conducted by Pints Beverage Consultants, the results of which plainly highlight the need for improving partnerships and collaborative behaviors. There is a major opportunity to utilize technology to do this.

In the August 22nd issue of Beer Business Daily, the Pints LLC article: Young Brewers Have Different Views than our Seasoned Craft Brewers offers a solid example of how knowledge transfer and dialogue between groups can unlock potential.   

Pints Beverage Consultants’ Kimberly Clements shared a proprietary survey tracking craft brewer sentiments, from their take on industry health to distributor partner strengths and weaknesses. Those results comport with the conclusion of BBD. It appears that brewers of all sizes believe that distributor/supplier relations could use at least a little work.

Case in point: when brewers were asked if they feel brewers and distributors are working together to grow the industry…

These results open up a can of worms . . .

  • Which suppliers and brands are distributors doing the best work for?
  • How does a supplier get favorable treatment (more than their fair share) and solid execution from a distributor?
  • What level of execution should a brand expect from a distributor? And how do distributors manage their suppliers expectations?
  • What are distributors looking for in suppliers to help them execute?

How do you decide what to focus on? What are the determining factors that distributors use to decide what to focus on? Do they focus on the brands with the biggest market share? The fastest growing? The ones with the most marketing support or the biggest stick to demand time and attention? All of the above. But suppliers can help distributors make the decision to focus on their brands by doing the following:

  • Keep it simple – have a very well defined target market backed up by a marketing strategy that remains consistent over time.
  • Ask for specific execution of only the most effective sales drivers that fit the strategy, and put all resources into it. Diluting efforts will result in poor performance and execution that wastes time, money and political/relationship capital. Do one thing very well rather than 3 things poorly.
  • Distributors help suppliers that help themselves. Suppliers must put resources in the field to execute with key accounts directly but in full collaboration with distributors’ sales teams.
  • Suppliers must deploy a modern sales execution tool that facilitates collaboration and focuses teams on executing the right activities in the right accounts.
  • What gets measured gets done. Suppliers must have a modern reporting capability to show distributors how well they have executed, where the gaps are and how the efforts have lifted sales.

Distributors are complex organizations with huge portfolios of demanding suppliers with countless opportunities to focus on. Suppliers need to up their games if they want the support of distributors.

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By | 2017-09-06T14:37:25+00:00 September 6th, 2017|3-Tier System, Craft Beer|