Best Practices for Joint Distributor-Manufacturer Sales Planning through Growth Plus

March 6, 2019 by NetPlus Alliance

By Zach Brado

In a recent NetPlus Industry Outlook, more than half of NetPlus distributor members surveyed said that selling more add-on items was key to increasing their profitability in 2019. Improving product mix and new market exploration also topped their wish list. NetPlus distributor members looking to do this in 2019 can lean on the Growth Plus joint sales planning program to help them develop an actionable plan for success.

The Growth Plus program brings distributors and suppliers together to build a formal plan to improve sales, enhance the customer experience and identify hidden opportunities.

Over the past two years, we’ve recognized two distributor-supplier pairs with Best in Class recognition for their success with the Growth Plus program. With their plans, M&M Sales & Equipment and Drillco achieved 400% growth, while MC Tool & Safety and Ergodyne achieved 212% growth.

“NetPlus’s tools provide you a roadmap to making things happen,” said Erika Scherman of MC Tool & Safety.

Here are a few best practices they noted in their experiences with Growth Plus:


NetPlus Alliance Growth Plus Best in Class 2018 Award
2018 NetPlus Alliance Growth Plus Best in Class Award Winners - MC Tool & Safety and Ergodyne


Keep it simple.

It’s easy to become excited about a partnership and try to plan several activities all at once. Both distributor members agreed it’s better to choose one or two activities – and execute them well. Starting small with activities and product categories allow partners to focus their objectives and streamline their efforts for maximum results.

"A second year in a Growth Plus program is a little easier to manage than the first year, so you can keep the Growth Plus going with past partners, but as you look forward add one or two at a time,” said Ergodyne’s Terri Kerg.

Embrace company-wide training.

To achieve success with joint sales planning, every member of the company needs to be on board. Train inside sales, outside sales and customer service teams to help them become more familiar with the products. Leadership should also be involved. Commitment to a distributor-manufacturer joint sales plan requires buy-in from the boardroom to the sales floor. The more your team understand the products they are selling and why, the more successful they will be.

Track and measure results.

It’s important to define goals and track them. M&M Sales and Drillco used the NetPlus Member Portal to track progress toward revenue goals, document activities, plan their efforts and follow up. MC Tool & Safety and Ergodyne also prioritized this, tracking progress each quarter through regular check-ins. “If you’re checking it at least quarterly, and you’re off track a little bit, you can nip it in the bud and figure out what’s going wrong and whether you need to change tactics,” Kerg said.

Growth Plus is available to NetPlus distributor and supplier members. The program is easy. Choose a supplier you want to work with, select an activity and collaborate with them one-on-one to build a plan for growth. To get the most out of your Growth Plus plan, use the resources exclusively available to NetPlus members.

For more information on kicking off your plan, access your Growth Plus Planning Guide in the NetPlus Member Portal. Contact me at 716-438-2014 if you have questions about the Growth Plus program.

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