Let’s face it. The distribution industry has become crowded with competitors who sell the same products and use the same platitudes about how they’re the best.

Platitudes fall on deaf ears, but if you ARE the best at what you do with something valuable to offer your customers and prospects, they want to know about it.

Think about your own experiences. How would you feel about the following:

Say you’ve been in business for 40+ years with revenue around $125M last year. You’ve grown steadily with the same office setup since you started, accounts payable, accounts receivable, and a small HR department.

HR processes the timecards and sends payroll info to ADP every other week. ADP then deposits the payroll into your employees’ direct deposit accounts every other Friday.

In addition to your long-term, reliable relationship with ADP, you also work with a CPA firm that ensures your business records are in good order and your taxes are paid.

You talk to your CPA maybe five times yearly, and as your revenue increases, so does your bill. Right now, you’re spending $65,000/yr with this firm. You’re not crazy about paying them so much, but that’s the going rate. 

One day, you learn that your CPA firm offers the same services as ADP, and they offer a 20% discount on all services for customers who use them for two or more services. 

This discount wasn’t in place when you started with this CPA firm. And they didn’t offer payroll services when they began the discount, so you weren’t in a position to take advantage of it.

They started their payroll division a few years after they began offering the discount, but nobody told you.

In this hypothetical, your company missed a significant discount for all those years. How would you feel? How would the head of that CPA firm feel when he learns you’ve been paying ADP for a service his firm provides?

In today’s world, you must communicate your value clearly and effectively so buyers know and want to work with you.

You operate your business in a world filled with sameness; you’ve got to stand out, and here are six ways to do precisely that.

    1. Focus on Your Audience Segments and Their Individual Needs – A common mistake we see distributors make is targeting too broad of an audience with a singular message. If the CPA firm had segmented its audience and communicated about the new payroll service to clients with employees, you would have saved money, and they would have made the money that went to ADP.
    2. Use Sales Messaging that will Move a Buyer Closer to a Sale – Every piece of messaging should survive this test. Ask, “Will this blog, ad, social media post, or webpage move a buyer closer to a sale?” If yes, great. If not, rewrite it so that it does.
    3. Develop a Clear Digital Path Toward a Purchase – Marketing must understand the sales cycles for your various audiences so they can develop content that matches the sales cycle and hopefully moves them more quickly to a successful sales call that results in a purchase and a long-time satisfied customer.
    4. Use Digital Media that Your Audience Segments Will Respond To – Design your sales and marketing campaigns to attract and engage buyers and educate them on what they want to learn, what they’re looking for, and what they find valuable. Doing so will prime both them and you for conversion by your sales team.
    5. Use Effective Language that Resonates with Your Audiences – Tailor your digital (and non-digital) sales and marketing collateral so that the messaging is clear and resonates with your target audience. Your sales and marketing collateral must “speak” to your audience segments, like your salespeople.
    6. ALWAYS Provide a Positive Customer Experience – In today’s digital world, the customer experience can and must continue whether a deal is won or lost. Use technology to create meaningful customer experiences throughout their journey—from initial contact to post-sale follow-up. Because of technology, your customers’ experiences are under a microscope 24/7.


It doesn’t require a lot of money or time to communicate your company’s unique value clearly and compellingly. It’s simply a matter of knowing how. After all, you’re (hopefully) already communicating with your audience regularly. With a few little tweaks, you could communicate to make more sales.

When buyers know how much value your company offers, they have no question about choosing YOU as their distributor. Otherwise, it may not happen, and you and your buyers miss out on opportunities that benefit you both.

You’ve got a website, you’ve got social media, and you’ve got value to share. It’s time to use these assets to make some money!

About the Author

Susan Merlo, Founder of The Digital Distributor, isn't just a consultant; she's a catalyst for growth. She and her team deliver strategies, tools, and training that bridges distributors' traditional selling methods with digital marketing and lead generation.

"I believe the digital sales and marketing strategies that are available today can level the playing field for any distributor, regardless of size. In fact, today there's no reason for any distributor to be left behind.

For that reason, we provide Done-FOR-You Services for those distributors who do not have the staff, bandwidth or budget to implement these strategies on their own.

We also deliver Done-WITH-You Services that include everything from getting your staffing in place to training your sales and marketing teams on what works and how to implement and manage these strategies on their own."

To learn more about the value distributors can glean from even the very basics of implementing digital sales and marketing strategies, be sure to subscribe to our blog, below.