Is Your Technology Enhancing your Distributors

A lot has changed in the past month as to how companies do business. In these volatile times companies are looking for any edge they can gain to improve efficiency and effectiveness in their business. For manufacturers there are many moving parts involved in trying to deliver a consistently excellent customer experience. It’s a process made more complicated by the fact that sales are handled by a network of external partners — which makes communication and pipeline visibility all the more tricky. 

Aligning all those moving parts to measure up to customer’s expectations can be tough. Adopting great customer experience measures takes effort and coordination, manufacturers have increasingly turned to sales technology to help them make the sales journey more efficient and personal. 

Unfortunately, it often contributes to more friction.

That’s because more sales tools don’t automatically equate to a better customer experience. In fact, quite the opposite can hold true. Too many tools, particularly those that aren’t well-integrated, slow sales reps down as they waste time navigating a hodgepodge of CRMs, partner portals, content libraries, and more. For channel partners, we know the struggle to manage multiple tools is even more burdensome — given that one distributor may be working with dozens of suppliers, each with its own tool.  

In today’s environment every lead, RFQ and customer matters. Without an integrated solution contact rates are slower, support materials may be late or out-of-context, and feedback on the status of a given lead will be limited or outdated. And without crystal clear, up-to-the-minute pipeline visibility, it can be nearly impossible to assess and remedy the problem. 

If your sales technology doesn’t help your partners deliver the best quality conservation to your prospects, then you might be missing out on valuable opportunities. 

When deciding whether to adopt technology tools(s) that enables distributors to win at customer experience, consider these 4 questions: 

Does it get rid of friction?  

Your channel partners or distributors are already overwhelmed with plenty of tech. Don’t add to the clutter by asking them to log-in to a special portal, or sift through generic emails combing for information relevant to them. Provide a solution that allows them to quickly and easily communicate your message with prospects, without having to toggle between multiple tools. 

Does it integrate with your other software? 

Real-time two-way integration with your CRM that provides you a clear picture of your channel sales pipeline and performance indicators. Data should flow seamlessly between distributor and manufacturer, sales and marketing. Teams can’t talk to each other — and make sound business decisions regarding their customers’ needs — if information is siloed or lost in the shuffle. 

Does it help reps perfect their timing? 

Reaching prospects at the right time is critical. In fact, you’re far more likely to make contact with a lead within the first five minutes of when they first reach out. Using a software platform with lead capture and distribution capabilities, a qualified lead can be shared with the appropriate partner instantly. This allows your external reps to make customer contact faster, when connection potential is highest. 

Does it help reps personalize their outreach?  

Channel partners are only as effective as you are at equipping them with the contextual resources they need. To set partners up for success, provide “context aware” sales enablement that maps the right materials to your customers by stage, product, and scope. For example, a customer lead shared with an external rep could be paired with a helpful product video or specific product spec. This enables sales reps to deliver a highly tailored conversation about your product or brand — without having to search for it. 

Delivering on Customer Experience is a Partnership

Your network of distributors is the backbone of your end-to-end customer experience, which is why it’s so critical for manufacturers to provide them the resources they need to nurture high quality customer relationships.