A sales rep sells products directly to customers. A distributor, on the other hand, acquires products from a manufacturer and has their own sales reps do the selling. Here’s what you need to know about sales reps vs distributors – and how to enable them to sell your products.

While a distributor acquires products from manufacturers in order to sell them to an end-customer, a sales rep tends to sell a product on the behalf of a certain company, interact with customers etc. Your organization may have sales reps who sell to distributors. Who, in turn, have sales reps who sell to retailers, resellers or end-customers.

This is rather straightforward. The bigger question is, how you can help each one sell your product?  How can you actually enable internal sales reps to pitch your value prop, interact with customers and sell products – and how can you do the same for the sales reps working for your distributor?

Now, the good news is that the process is fairly similar. The bad news is that it is usually so much harder to enable distributors and their sales reps – simply because they’re further away from you and your organization. For example, take a look at the below ways to enable and help sales reps and consider this: how much more difficult is this to do if the sales rep is in another organization, if they’re employed by your distributor?

3 ways to enable sales reps – external and internal

  1. Train and onboard: To enable sales reps, internal and external, you need to give them comprehensive training that gives them a strong understanding of your products, sales techniques, target market, company policies etc. You should ensure that they understand the value prop your products have and how to effectively communicate it to potential customers. Oh, and they have to be given all this the moment they start – so that they can hit the ground running and start closing deals without a super-long ramp-up time.
  2. Give them sales tools and material: Give them the necessary tools and material to succeed – including sales enablement tools, marketing material, pitches and pre-packaged value props. Remember: they need to be able to access the material and tools they need wherever they are, so that they never lose momentum or motivation.
  3. Motivate and engage: Whether the sales rep is employed by you or a distributor, they need to be engaged and motivated. They need to have an easy way to ask questions and get product updates, and they need to be able to request additional material and always have the right versions. Otherwise, the risk is high that they lose engagement, which tends to translate to bad results.

How can you enable distributors and their sales reps?

You probably noticed that all the enablement that is needed will be so much harder to give your distributors and their sales reps – than it is to give the same help to sales reps in your own organization. After all, you probably have a marketing team that your own sales reps can call upon, you probably have a Teams or Slack channel for questions and an internal Sharepoint that might not be the greatest content repository but that gets the job done.

The problem is when all this is to be directed outside your own organization. When a distributor and their reps should get access to the right material (and not a bunch of internal files), when they should be invited to chat and interact (without accidentally seeing something they shouldn’t) and when the only way they can connect with you is by emailing their Key Account – or Partner Manager (who probably spends hours and hours in an inbox that keeps growing).

The SP CE way to enable your distributors and their sales reps

This is one of the problems that SP_CE solves. We give you a dedicated Partner Portal where you can manage all distributors – and their reps – from one central place. Each distributing organization gets their own portal, their own space where reps can ask questions, be notified about new material, and be sure that they’re always working with accurate information. That way, your distributor and their sales reps will be enabled to sell your products, while you and your team can escape the hassle of emails, save a ton of time and even more headache.

Curious to learn more? Contact us today to see how SP_CE works in action.

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