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A Distributor's Guide to Becoming Simply Irresistible

Scott Frew
Scott Frew

Distributors, such as yourself, are faced with ever increasing vendor compliance whilst operating on ever decreasing margins. Simultaneously, you have to differentiate yourself in a very crowded market. I have written this blog to motivate you to change the way your distribution business works through automation and to make your company incredibly addictive. 

Addiction is not solely about the products you offer and how quickly you can ship them to their destination, or how you manage consumption-based vendors. Instead, it’s more about the services and support you can wrap around traditional functions that will set you apart.

Whilst most distributors have heavily invested in providing pre-sales training, order fulfillment, sales and technical assistance for their VARs/SPs, there is a whole lot more that you can do to add further value up and down to all of your partners. And by value, I am talking about maximizing EVERY opportunity every single day.

As an intermediary of data flowing from end users to VARs, then through to vendors and data coming back down the other way, you have access to an extremely valuable resource. What you decide to do with this resource is what will make you a great business partner in your ecosystem.

If you ignore this opportunity or rely on others such as vendors to run your data for you, you are doomed to fail or certainly destined never to grow your vendors faster than the general market.

With this data, the appropriate platform and streamlined processes, you can enable your partners to grow not only their recurring revenue streams, but increase upsell, cross-sell and end of life opportunities (and I guarantee you are not even looking at these today). At the same time reducing your headcount (this is the only way a distributor can increase margin spread)!

In my past, I have competed with all of the global distributors and some regional ones and yet, I have managed to build multiple value-added distributors from scratch and grow faster than any competitor. How did I do it? It was always all about the “fries with the burger”.

I mandated our processes using our configurators for net new sales, to obtain 100% for maintenance attach for EVERY order. I then added the suggested “fries”, do you want headsets with the phone system? Rack ears for those big switches? Someone to install that complex security product? Staging? Advanced replacement options?

That created a massive installed database that could be mined, and recurring revenue opportunities which we created before even a vendor (if they did at all). In fact, my competitors got so smashed on renewals, they would simply say to the VARs, when the quote comes out, call us we’ll beat their price!

A VAR can only do that to you once, then they will lose track of it for next year for the cheaper price. You would think all was lost - but not quite! At the next anniversary, our instance of the platform would alert us to the opportunity again. Now, we could either go back to the reseller that bought from the cheaper competitor to win them back, OR we could approach a more closely aligned partner to close the sale.

Effective data management also creates a massive opportunity for those of you who might get axed by a vendor. But I will leave that for another time and another blog!

The platform offers you the ability to proactively manage ALL product lifecycle opportunities, and gives you the differentiator you need to demonstrate true value in today’s competitive environment. With, you can integrate and automate the management of all of your revenue opportunities from cradle to grave, whilst concurrently reducing your costs!

Or you could be the old school, dinosaur distributor, and hope the vendors keep you on and manage your data for you or…

Download our white paper, “Deploying a Product Lifecycle Program in Distribution” for tips about how to drive profitable growth in your distribution organization.

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