Running a wholesale distribution business is no walk in the park. However, some people work much harder than others, often unnecessarily.
It’s said that the key to any great business lies within its systems, and this rings true especially for the wholesale distribution industry.
In this article, we dive into five important tips that will help you succeed in the wholesale distribution industry. Each of these five tips can be used alone, however, considering all five and using them in synergy with each other is where you will see the best results.
Tip One: Differentiate on customer service, not price
Competing on price is simply a race to the bottom. If we continue to cut our prices and kill our profit margin, how can your business grow?
The alternative is to compete with customer service.
Now, we’re not naive enough to ignore the price sensitivity amongst the wholesale industry - how you price your products will always be important. However, price alone can’t be the only way to generate consistent sales, can it?
Switching our mindset to compete on customer service is an important paradigm shift for any wholesale distribution business leader.
This means strategically planning how your reps will go the extra mile for your clients.
It means breaking down your entire sales process, and objectively evaluating whether or not your reps are offering a win/win solution every time they interact with a customer.
It means innovating your eCommerce capabilities, making your products easier to access and readily available online.
Lastly, it means turning your reps into educators and guides, instead of commission-hungry, target stressed salespeople.
How your business differentiates itself with customer service is up to you, and it’s not an overnight process. However, we can guarantee long-term it’s a better strategy than competing on price alone.
Tip Two: Have a solid B2B eCommerce system in place
We touched on this in tip one - having a well presented, easy to use eCommerce option available is a must for any wholesale distribution business in 2020.
Implementing an eCommerce solution was a major pivot for many of our clients throughout COVID-19, and the businesses that had their eCommerce system in place prior had a major competitive advantage in their industry early on.
By having an eCommerce solution in place, not only are you competing in the B2B space, but you can open up your business to B2C consumers as well.
Sales reps will always hold an important role in your wholesale distribution business, however, there is no doubt in the increasingly online nature the wholesale distribution industry is heading towards.
Your in-person sales will always be an important part of your businesses revenue, but why not reinforce this with a consistent eCommerce solution that works on autopilot to generate even more sales?
Tip Three: Control your inventory
We have already discussed the importance of differentiating your business on customer service instead of price, and keeping a close eye on your inventory could have easily fit into that category.
However, given the importance of inventory in a wholesale distribution business, it’s getting its own write-up!
Managing your stock effectively avoids the situation of missing out on sales while you wait for the stock to be delivered. On the other hand, it also means managing your customers’ expectations properly and avoiding them having to wait longer than they expected for their order.
When a customer doesn’t receive an order on time - or it’s wrong to begin with - you have directly affected their ability to make money and keep their own customers happy. This is a massive issue. In the ultra-competitive wholesale distribution space, it can often be the difference between a repeat and referring customer or a once-off buyer that speaks poorly of your business.
While mistakes are inevitable and happen even to the best wholesale distribution businesses, having a sales rep app in a place like Inzant significantly reduces wrong orders and the likelihood of disgruntled customers.
Tip Four: Optimise your CRM
Your CRM (customer relationship management software) is one of the most important systems within a wholesale distribution business. You might have one in place already, but a good CRM system is more than a list of names and numbers.
The best CRM systems will prompt your reps when to call each of your clients based on when they’re most likely to need your stock.
On top of this, important information and notes on customer preferences or requirements can be stored to ensure your reps build long-term relationships.
Another benefit of a good CRM system in your wholesale business is the ability for your sales reps that are on the road every day to optimise their schedules geographically. This means meeting clients in an order that avoids them wasting more time driving than they need to, and the ability to complete more meetings on a daily basis.
Tip Five: Empower your sales reps with the right tools
A good tradesman doesn’t blame his tools, but a good sales rep will…
The wholesale landscape has never been more competitive, and as our world continually adapts to the implications of COVID-19, it doesn’t look like things will be getting easier anytime soon.
With this in mind, it’s vital we empower our sales reps with the tools they need to make their job easier.
Are your sales reps still using a manual paper system to present and take orders? Are they using a second rate sales rep app that makes their life harder than it does easier?
At Inzant, we offer an easy to use iPad app that allows reps to present stock, gather important information about inventory, place orders and even manage their CRM all within one place.
The point here isn’t to plug our app. It’s to inform you that easy to use - and easy to set up - software is available. Using a sales rep app like Inzant’s will save your reps hours each week, and give them the best chance of making more sales.
In summary, we’ve covered five important wholesale distribution tips. The five tips are…
Differentiate on customer service, not price
Ensure you have a strong eCommerce solution in place
Control your inventory
Optimise your CRM
Empower your reps
If you think your wholesale distribution business could benefit from a mobile sales platform such as Inzant’s, we’re happy to speak with you anytime over the phone to provide you with a free demo. Simply click here for more information.