Go Big or Go Home
He also encouraged test runs and possible plant evaluations. To decrease the financial burden for distributor partners, Datatel does not charge extra for services such as test productions. "We believe this is part of the investment to obtain business," Simon said.
Finally, like PRINTSouth and Paris Business Products, Simon's team will communicate directly with end-users—when necessary—to ensure a direct line of communication on pressing issues. Simon observed that the end-user appreciates this, and he feels the distributor can use this as another way to demonstrate the distinct advantages of the distributor/manufacturer pairing.
Beyond customer service, some suppliers help educate distributors.
Paris Business Products provides educational marketing materials such as customized presentations, collateral sheets and samples. Meanwhile, PRINTSouth has a DVD and a printed sample of a jumbo roll product showing each and every possible capability that can be incorporated into a jumbo roll, along with an instructional 22-page specification manual outlying its jumbo roll production, handling, packaging and shipping of the company's rolls.
Datatel Resources Corporation can provide education on what print operation is best served for the particular application at hand, and it can provide vertical market information on where to find potential jumbo roll opportunities. However, while Simon realizes education is important, he cautioned distributors not to get too caught up in it.
"All we need our distributor partners to do is what they do best: sell and create opportunities. From there, we will be fully supportive in terms of education and assistance to succeed on the specific opportunity," he stated.
It Takes Two
Like any good relationship, both parties must be engaged for it to work. The manufacturers offered several pieces of advice.
Simon thinks aggressiveness is a must. "We'll do our part, but we need our sales channel (distributors and re-sellers) to get in the door and then let us become involved as a true partner," he said.