Maximizing Key Vendor Relationships

distributor vendor relationshipsAn important strategy that many distributors overlook is in the area of vendor relationships. You may be so concerned about your direct competitors and providing value added services to your customers that you forget the value you provide to your vendors. Many vendors feel too removed from the end customer relationship to influence sales. They must rely on you for information and strategies to drive toward your shared goal of increased product sales. The more powerful your information you bring to your vendor, the tighter they will work with you in targeting new business and growing your existing customers.

You can help drive your vendor relationships forward in a number of ways.

  • Profiled lists:Vendors often have little to no end-user information. When they need to get the word out on price changes, product information or new launches, their lack of data can be crippling. On the other hand, distributors with strong CRM systems can bring the power of robust profiles for both mutual customers and prospects, providing a tremendous amount of value to vendor partners.
  • Email campaigns: If list profiles are a challenge for your vendors, successful email campaigns may seem impossible. But working with your vendors to provide the right message to the right customer at the right time never fails to deliver big results, even with small budgets. A good CRM system is tightly integrated to the information in your ERP system so that you can create new profiles dynamically based on the most recent ERP data upping your chances for success.
  • Volume targets and comarketing funds: Without profiles and end-user data, vendors have great difficulty deciding on, justifying and proving the return of their comarketing funds. With strong data about your customer profiles, buying habits and the competitive landscape, you can make the case to your vendors that their past investments were successful and that special incentives or comarketing funds could help drive business in new markets.
  • Superior sales performance: Better-than-average execution on industry-wide promotions will get the attention of almost any vendor. This will get their attention the next time they introduce a new product or expand a territory and your company will be where they will turn first.

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