Trade Resources Market View Communication Between Manufacturers & Distributors Is Improved

Communication Between Manufacturers & Distributors Is Improved

For most manufacturers that sell through a channel sales network, visibility ends where distributor involvement begins.

Imagine this scenario: A potential customer calls your factory or sends a quote request through your website. Your marketing department sends an email to your local distributor with the lead details. What happens next? Is the lead contacted by the distributor? And how fast does the distributor sales person reach out to that potential customer?

Most manufacturers don't know the answers or don't have a clear view of lead patterns. But if they want to optimize their sales channel and maximize revenue, they should. Price Pump, a manufacturer of centrifugal and air operated diaphragm (AOD) pumps, is all-too familiar with this story.

"We work hard to drive high value leads so that our distributors can sell more products," says Jestin Plowright, Sales and Marketing Manager for Price Pump Company, a leading manufacturer of industrial pumps. "But it's a challenge for us to know whether or not the sales reps are following up on the leads and what our sales forecasts looks like across our distribution channel. Right now, the only feedback we get from our distributors is the occasional email, and most of the time we have to solicit that information."

Plowright's concern is warranted. A recent study from the Harvard Business Review shows that 47% of leads are contacted more than 24 hours after the initial customer inquiry, greatly diminishing the probability of making a sale. Meanwhile, many customers are never contacted at all. Gartner Research reports that 43% of sales go to the company that follows up first on the lead. These studies highlight the danger of not knowing what is happening with your leads. But without visibility to their outside sales channel, it's nearly impossible for manufacturers to identify and address those red flags.

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