“Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes, but no plans.” – Peter Drucker
“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery
More than half of distributors in our recently released NetPlus Industry Outlook said that selling more add-on items to existing customers was a critical part of their plan to drive profitability in the second half of 2018. More than 40 percent said they want to improve their product mix. And a third of our members want to focus on new markets.
The best path forward is to partner closely with suppliers that understand where you want to go and can provide the support you need to achieve these goals. If you don’t commit to a plan to do this, it will be too easy to get pulled back into the day-to-day of running your distribution company.
This year’s Annual Meeting theme is the Power of Partnership. I encourage both our distributor and supplier members to consider a more formal partnership going into 2019. Growth Plus is a sales planning program designed to enhance partnering between NetPlus distributors and suppliers. Target the channel partners that you want to grow with and then collaborate with them one-on-one to build a plan for growth, leveraging our outlined process.
Create plans as complex or as simple as you’d like. We recognized a distributor and manufacturer at last year’s Annual Meeting that grew sales of that brand’s product lines through the distributor by an incredible 400% through product training with their salespeople, giving salespeople relevant flyers, checking in regularly, and tracking success. It wasn’t a big long complicated document. The power of their plan was in its simplicity and the commitment the two companies made at every level of their organizations, from management down to their sales teams, to achieve it. Both companies were pleasantly surprised at how successful their focused effort was.
Here’s how some other members have used Growth Plus:
- Partnering to showcase product at customers’ jobsites
- Providing an additional reward for product-line conversion
- Partnering on end-user audits
- Leveraging co-op funds more effectively through joint advertising and marketing initiatives
- Improving the product information available through the distributor’s website
- Providing training to sales teams
Select one or a few partners you want to work with (know your own limits, and start small), and then choose one or more of the dozens of other activity ideas we suggest to you. For example, host a product training at the distributor’s location. We also encourage you to share your ideas for joint activities that can benefit both the supplier and distributor. Or embark on a deeper plan, such as targeting new geographic or end-markets.
Kick off your plan at the 2018 Annual Meeting. We have everything you need to get started. Access your Growth Plus Planning Guide in the NetPlus Member Portal. Members who have used the Portal for Growth Plus said that it provides another layer of accountability and communication between channel partners (in addition to making sure you get the PointsPlus points you’ve earned by participating! – NEW for 2019).
Happy planning! If you have any questions, please give me a call or send me an email. By Zach Brado