So your company has a brand new product that is going to change the way your customers do business. You’ve field-tested the product. Customers love it. It saves them money, increases their efficiency and throughput, and in general enhances their bottom line. Boom.
You’re ready for launch, right? WRONG.
Sure, the customer wants it — needs it, even — but have you thought through how you’re going to get it to them? Will the distribution channel pick it up and run with it the way you’ve perhaps assumed it will?
Before you can answer this, you have to ask yourself — What’s in it for them?
What needs does it meet for your distributors, and what will entice them to pick up your product and run with it? To answer this, you must first consider what distributors value:
- Demand for the products they inventory (with the manufacturer doing most of the demand creation)
- Good margins to go with good revenue
- Volume discounts and rebates
- An installed base that generates parts, supplies and ancillary equipment sales
- Sought-after brands that are valued by the operator
- Protected or exclusive sales territories
- Quality products that work out of the box
- An ease of placing and receiving orders
- Good terms
- Low or no freight costs
- Marketing support, promotions and spiffs
The bottom line is this — your product could be the greatest thing ever invented. Better even than — dare I say it — sliced bread. But if you don’t meet the needs of the distributor, it will go stale in the pantry.
Before your next product launch, be sure you’ve considered BOTH of your target audiences’ needs — the customer and the distributor.