7 Top Distributor Management Tips And Why They Matter
By: Emilio C. Macasaet III
 
Managing a distributor partner could be very daunting especially for the ill-prepared. It’s almost a complex function.  In most cases, it is easier to achieve sales goals than to forge a collaborative distributor-principal relationship.
 
Here are the first 3 of the 7 top tips and why you need to pay attention to them. 
 
#1. Immerse yourself in the distributor’s business. Understand the distributor's business model and operations from their lens. What do they believe? Why do they do what they do?
 
Why it matters. You can’t truly engage if you operate from your own world view. Remember, most of your goals are inherently divergent. Immersion will help you develop deeper insights which are critical to formulating sharper strategies and tactics. It also helps you align goals and execution.
 
How to? Spend at least half month as ‘employee’of the distributor. Call it OJT.
 
#2. Be intentional in building relationship with your distributor.  Learn from the principles of farming. A collaborative and trusting relationship doesn't happen by chance and overnight.
 
Why it matters. The distributor is your channel partner andextension.
 
How to? Spend quality time with your distributor. Develop a procedure for deliberate relationship-building actions. Beware of the Stockholm syndrome by consciously  maintaining a professional distance. 
 
#3. Influence your distributor to share strategic information. You must develop ways to influence your distributor to entrust you with such information.
 
Why it matters. Strategic information which deals with data processed and retained by your distributor have implications for your company’s medium to long-term decision making. You can rely upon your distributor for this information because of their direct contact with both competitors and customers.
 
How to? Stipulate in the contract the type of strategic information the distributor must provide you on a periodic basis; provide monetary incentive for sharing information; use the influence of upper management (position); and leverage on your good relationship.  
 
Watch out for the last 4 top tips in my next article. 

 

Emilio Macasaet III is a Partner and the Chief Distribution Strategist of Mansmith and Fielders, Inc. A bestselling author of two sales books – Distributor Management and 6 Steps To Effective Key Account Management.  For more inquiries, info@mansmith.net.