As a marketer in the green industry, one of your greatest assets is your sales force. With the right tools, they can educate and motivate distributors to push your product. The key is making sure your sales reps can easily and consistently convey your brand and product differentiation. The following tips will help you turn your sales staff into brand stewards.
Provide a ready-reference piece that outlines each product, targeted users and key product benefits to help your sales reps prepare for presentations. Include a head-to-head comparison of your product vs. competitive alternatives. Pull intriguing facts and tidbits from market research. You will have better control over the message and your sales force will properly position your products in the minds of distributor reps.
Green industry distributors operate on a fairly consistent schedule. Make certain you are planning ahead and arming your sales force with the selling materials they need WHEN they need them. Having your materials arrive after decisions have been made is akin to closing the barn door after the horses have all run off…a frustrating waste of time, money and effort.
One of the best sales tactics is to have your reps work distributor trade shows or go on ride alongs. Having your reps in contact with end users gives them valuable experience and insight into the distributors selling process and the buying decisions. It also demonstrates a cooperative partnership with the distributor.
Your communications program is a key selling point to emphasize with distribution. Prepare a brochure, CD, video or PowerPoint presentation that highlights your total program. Send your reps tearsheets/reprints of ads that appear in various magazines. Provide reps with a publicity book that includes articles about your products. Distributors will appreciate knowing what you are doing and the efforts being made to support the products they sell.
To make sure your sales force is fully versed in your products, conduct educational sessions at your sales meetings, incorporating different “stations” covering different features/technology and their competitive advantages. Your sales force must be fully informed and able to communicate what those advantages mean to a distributor rep’s paycheck.
An informed and well-armed sales force can be the difference between a distributor rep that pushes your product and one who pushes your competitors’.