Developing a regional, national or international distributor network is essential for manufacturers and solution providers. It’s especially important for products that require referrals and brand awareness. Tally, for example, is India’s largest accounting software used by 5-6 million of the country’s 60 million SMEs. A full 80% of their new business comes through referrals such as from CAs suggesting it to their accounting and auditing clients.
At the recent Biz Summit held at Evoma OMR, a panel discussion included the managing directors of Featherlite and Paramount Cosmetics, Mr. Manohar Gopal and Mr. Hitesh Topiiwaalla, respectively. These two leaders of highly effective medium-scale manufacturing distribution networks explained how they built these networks and what they thought was the secret of their success.
Featherlite’s furniture distribution meets are in fact held at our Evoma OMR location, and attract their distributors from all over the country.
Developing a network of resellers that reaches every town and city in all your target markets requires a lot of marketing and networking, and some of it can be done through distributor sales meetings. Here are a set of tips, or guidelines, that will help set the goals for your annual distributor meets, conduct these meetings with maximum impact and minimum disruption of business for everyone involved, and then a list of tools to help you collect the impact metrics and review the data.
Setting Goals for Distributor Sales Meetings
- Understand the needs of your distributors.
- More effective management of partnerships.
- Reward high-performing distributors.
- Share best practices of top performers.
- Initiation of new distributors into the network.
How to Conduct a Distributor Sales Meet
- Select the date, location and venue based on convenience of your distributors.
- Create theme, agenda, workshops and speaker panels to meet the aforementioned goals.
- Food and beverages – The most important part of the meet. If the accommodations, food and drinks, an essential part of the overall meetings experience, is exemplary, then your attendees will not only be satisfied and provide good feedback, but will also likely come back again the next year.
- Networking events – By definition, this is an event for your distributors to meet you. But it’s better to include specific networking programs as part of the agenda. This can be in the form of luncheon meets, breakout sessions, one-on-one meets with your top leadership, etc.
- Awards – Aside from the food and drinks, the highlight of any distributor meet is the awards ceremony. Being up on stage, receiving a top-performer award in front of all your peers, is something that every distributor would like to be a part of.
Event Management and Attendee Tracking Tools.
- Eventmobi – From registration and event apps to live polling, digital signage, surveys and more, EventMobi has everything you need to engage your event attendees from start to finish.
- Cvent – Event management software that can manage online event registration, venue sourcing, and mobile event app technology.
- SurveyMonkey – Event planning survey platform, with questions and templates provided.
- Eventbrite – Event management software from the world’s largest event community. Lets you send invitations and track RSVPs and ticket sales, and follow up with on-site ticket scanning and check-in.
- Bizzabo – Networking app for events with one-on-one messaging, attendee profiles, and social media integration.
Sources: Lucep Technologies research report; HBR – Turn Your Industrial Distributors into Partners, by James A. Narus and James C. Anderson
February 21, 2018