10 years ago it was easier for salespeople and management!

Digitalization is changing the dynamics and operational model of physical B2B sales channels, and that is a problem for many companies

Digitalization is changing the dynamics and operational model of physical B2B sales channels, and that could be a problem for many companies!

Let’s say, 10 years ago salespeople would sell usually 1 product line to dealers. Also business and processes were “simplier”. You go to tradeshow, you have the product, here are the manuals, prices, training… you’d tell the dealer to call back when they get the PO.

Nowadays, the same salespeople have a product “suite” of 3 products to sell to dealers. Not only, that they might personally struggle with the progress and increase in scope of offering, but they also have to convince the dealer, who simply might not have operational “bandwidth” to cope and to sell this “suite” to end users, including after-service. You also have to explain to dealers that they might lose some revenue and client ownership, as online activities will drive the end users directly to manufacturer arms.

In our client cases, we have noticed that many companies have organically, rightly so, added new features little by little, to improve their channel efficiencies. The problem, in fact is not wrong or lack of IT tools ranging from CRM, online operations to dealer portals. It is the lack of clear updated processes and business logic of how all these tools and processes work seamlessly together today and in the future and what are the real benefits to channel partners.

Most dealers also evolve and want to be served better and benefit of the fruits of your digitalization processes. For example, dealer portals are useful, but if your dealers have other principals to serve as well, what makes your portal more interesting and user friendly?

Now, add to this operational dilemma 3 new perspectives:

Firstly, the cultural element. Meaning that dealers work differently in different countries.
Secondly, operational element. Meaning dealers are made of different types of companies.

Thirdly, technology element. Meaning digitalization increases the amount of information and data flow which can be shared to increase productivity and sales in the channels.
Suddenly, your great operational diagrams have few more question marks.

Needless to say, at the age of digitalization, the manufacturers have to react faster to ever changing technologies and competitive landscapes. So, have you planned already how, what information you will share and to whom you will “distribute” the benefits of all the telemetrics or sales and marketing automation?

The challenge and question is not, “what do we have for channel partners ?”, but “how do we work better and streamlined with them as a global operation, but still catering to everybody’s individual needs, competences and resources?” One size does not necessarily fit for everybody.

We help our clients to improving channel efficiencies:

Firstly, by adopting a holistic “partner success approach”, which aims to de-engineer and reconstruct all the processes from IT to sales. And secondly, channel audit to understand who is ready, capable and committed to follow your digitalization strategy.

Once you have all laid out, you can understand where to start, what to do and where to go from there.

The Writer: JUHA SEPPÄNEN (CEO of NORDIC INDUSTRIES DEVELOPMENT)
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