The Future is Looking Bright

We’ve all had our struggles with adjusting to the post-pandemic business world. One of the biggest struggles we’ve seen in distribution is to put a stronger focus on technology and become more digitally adept.

And while such a shift certainly is difficult, it’s reassuring to start seeing good things coming about from this new focus.

Positive Changes are Happening

The distribution industry is indeed beginning to respond. From an operations standpoint, we’re seeing distributors working smarter, and leaner, and exploring innovative solutions to keep themselves moving forward. In the sales arena, good progress is being made as well.

Sales is Figuring it Out

Distributors are recognizing the inevitability of having to serve their customers on the customers’ terms. We’re seeing distributors adopting new sales processes, changing internal structures, and researching and installing relevant technology.

In doing so, companies are building a stronger foundation on the web that will allow them to make a greater online impact and stay competitive. Most importantly, they’re beginning to communicate effectively with their customer segments as they did when selling face-to-face.

It Hasn’t Been Easy

Most salespeople in distribution are very good in face-to-face selling situations. It’s how the industry began, and it’s been that way ever since. A salesperson’s forte for one-on-one communications and a personalized touch is a benefit customers enjoy and continue to expect. Only, they expect to have it on their terms.

Buyers, in their personal lives as consumers, have experienced personalized service for years, which has culminated in their expecting a similar experience in the business arena as well. They know they can find whatever they want at the push of a button. Luckily, distributors are learning to accommodate those expectations.

This is new territory for distributors, so to get up to speed there has been a bit of a learning curve. Nevertheless, we’re seeing that conquering this learning curve and succeeding at their digital sales transformation is not only worth the effort, but it’s necessary if we want buyers to engage with their brand.

How to Know if You’re Doing it Right

The definition of a successful digital sales transformation differs from company to company. Consistent across the board, however, is that you must walk before you run.

Also consistent is that the walking phase is more difficult because it’s easy to lose sight of the end goal and once that sight is lost, momentum decreases, and efforts eventually peter out.

To stay on target and not lose sight of your end goals as you move through your digital sales transformation, we’ve put a list together of goals to aim for.

Pick and Choose What’s Right for You

Not every item on the list below needs to be hit but knowing what’s possible will help you decide early on what to plan for. These are in no particular order, by the way:

  • A buyer’s journey that is targeted and frictionless;

  • Digital messaging that is readily discoverable and ensures buyers are crystal clear on the value you provide;

  • An automated way to attract buyers, capture them as leads, and then drive them through sales funnels;

  • An automated nurturing system that moves leads from MQL status to SQL status;

  • Automation that contributes to your efforts to increase customer spend;

  • Executable plans to enter new markets and increase market share;

  • A means to keep your sales function agile and innovative;

  • Systems and processes you can build upon as you grow;

  • A way to measure your return on the investment you’re making in digital sales and marketing;

  • Compelling messaging that shows why you are the best possible partner for your most ideal customers.

Hang on to this list. Then, as you map out your tech, having these bullets to choose from will give you an excellent point of reference to aim for.

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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.