Add More Power to the Punch
How marketing with manufacturers can strengthen the sale.
It might be sufficient to conduct thorough research, produce detailed proposals and drop off a few catalogs when selling solutions to clients. But if the expertise of manufacturers is not added into the mix, it may not be enough.
When offering a complete solution sell these days, it is the teamwork between the distributor and manufacturer that can provide the extra power needed to win over large re-gional and national accounts—even ones that might have utilized directs in the past.
This was just the case for Jim Constantin, product manager for Source4, Roanoke, Va., who competed against Moore Business Forms, Stamford, Conn., for a project involving pressure seal forms at a major university.
According to Constantin, Moore offered an imprinting program with guaranteed pricing for an entire year—regardless of quantities ordered.
"This wasn't an easy bid to beat," said Constantin. "So, we handed over all the details of the job to [Fairhope, Alabama-based] PrintXcel which came up with a better pricing program that eventually won us the business. "Had PrintXcel not worked with us," conceded Constantin, "we wouldn't have gotten the job."
This is just one example of how manufacturers and distributors can work together to add more power to a sales presentation. Other examples include less direct means such as branded and non-branded collateral, prod-uct and service training seminars and facility tours.
Marketing director for PrintXcel, Martha Mason said that many salespeople make use of PrintXcel's non-branded bro-chures on which distributors' names can be printed.
"This way salespeople can go into their clients' offices and present themselves as total solution providers," said Mason. "It's just one way for us to support our distributors and help them speed up the sale."
Mason added that this same concept is used during educational seminars conducted for both distributors and their prospective end-users. "Instead of trying to explain where we fit in, we will simply act as the training arm of the distributor," she explained