By Todd Washburn
VP of Supplier Development
I’ve heard it many times over the course of my career; “Knowledge is Power” or “Those who win have the best information”. Any way you cut it, the more knowledge a company has, the more successful they will be. Knowledge means product expertise. The more experienced the sales team is, the more your customers will rely on you to solve problems. Solving problems leads to sales and your customers will feel good about sending business your way. Knowledge means knowing your competition. Industrial distributors need to understand your competitor’s weaknesses and position your business to take advantage when the time is right.
A strong business operating system can also deliver the tools and information needed to effectively manage the business and react quickly to inventory needs, sales challenges or opportunities and streamline the flow of all business operations.
NetPlus Alliance has partnered with a variety of business services providers that can help your business become more efficient in virtually all aspects. Take a few minutes to review our lineup of suppliers and as Paul Byrnes says; “take some time to work ON your business rather than IN it”.
Product training and continuing education for employees is crucial. In today’s environment a customer can find about anything they need online. Not only products themselves but information about what they need (or think they need). I still believe, and always will believe that this is a business built on relationships. The rules have just changed a LOT in a very short time. The distributors that have the relationships with customers, have enough knowledge to know the products they sell and can deliver them when the customer needs them can still win. No one needs to know everything about everything these days. Industrial distributors are more diversified than they were 20 years ago. You can’t be an expert on everything but your sales teams should know enough to ask the right questions and find the answers quickly. We want to help you do just that. NetPlus has placed a focus on education opportunities for our distributor members in 2015, and will be offering several hands-on and online training sessions. Go to www.netplusalliance.com/events/regional-meetings to find out more and enroll.
The NetPlus Member Portal is another vital aspect of having the right information. From this online tool, distributors can find program details, contact information and most importantly review and confirm the reported purchases by your company. Suppliers can utilize this online portal to find the types of distributors that can help them focus on growing their business and gaining market share. We will continue to invest in our technology at NetPlus Alliance, and there will numerous enhancements to our Member Portal, including the Sales Planner, which enables you to track goals and sales activities with NetPlus suppliers.