A Quick Guide to Running a Successful Wholesale Distribution Business
When it comes to scaling a business, many business-to-business (B2B) wholesale distributors and consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands face the same reality: inefficient workflows. This occurs as a result of a company’s growth, with processes becoming more complex but workflows remaining the same.
According to a study conducted by IDC, a marketing research firm, businesses lose 20%–30% of their revenue each year due to inefficiencies. With smaller margins, a loss of 20–30% can have a greater impact on the company’s profitability when growing a wholesale distribution company.
Fortunately, with the right strategy, inefficiencies can be eliminated. Here’s a step-by-step guide to increasing efficiency, reducing downtime, maximizing store visits, and doubling sales orders.
1. Plan your sales routes ahead of time
Create sales routes for your sales reps so they spend less time behind the wheel and more time in front of customers. Assist your team in focusing on specific regions, opportunities, and customers. Align your sales reps with prospects and empower them with realistic goals that leave room for strategizing and selling.
When you’re ready to automate, you can also use the route sales software. This software can help you map out territories, customers, and prospects and easily distribute them to your team.
2. Track your sales team using GPS
Tracking sales reps in the field is less about micromanagement and more about understanding sales activities and customer behavior. Utilize mobile sales software with GPS tracking to help with store visit visibility. With mileage and gas tracking, you can eliminate human errors, identify loyal customers, and hold sales reps accountable.
The goal is to gain an understanding of your sales team’s performance or inefficiencies, as well as insight into customer behavior, in order to identify opportunities or weaknesses.
3. Keep track of KPIs
Key Performance Indicator (KPI) reporting gives management and outside sales reps a clear picture of sales quotas (orders, revenue, sales, store visits, etc.) and whether or not they are being met on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. This is critical for ensuring sales teams are meeting their sales targets and identifying areas for improvement.
Many outside sales representatives provide management with an end-of-day report that is written out manually, which can be time-consuming — time that could be spent selling. Consider using a sales app that includes KPI reporting as one of its automated features.
4. Train your sales reps
If your sales reps don’t understand your B2B sales process, it leads to longer buying cycles, which kill efficiency and potentially a sale. Knowing what needs to be done at each stage of the sales process gives you a significant advantage over other field reps who are winging it.
You can start by outlining the steps required for a sales rep to convert a lead into a closed customer. Remember, no matter what technology you have, if reps are not trained to deal with noes or build relationships, you will be met with inefficiency in the field.
5. Leverage an order-taking mobile app
Your field sales reps are at a severe disadvantage if they do not have or use order entry software that frees up their time to strategize selling, prospecting, or building client relationships. According to McKinsey and Company, leading companies are embracing automation as a key driver of cost efficiency and increased sales. So, what are you waiting for?
Order-taking mobile apps include features that automate time-consuming and manual tasks for sales reps, such as order processing, customer and product information sharing, route management, customer management, KPI reporting, trade promotion, and more. Most importantly, it simplifies selling, allowing sales reps to sell more using a mobile app. It also gives management greater visibility into the sales process and access to data for making day-to-day business decisions.
Efficiency is a critical component of any wholesale distribution company’s success and is frequently a major focus area for improvement. Without an effective strategy, it can be difficult for wholesale distributors to grow, and there is often the risk of increased expenses or loss of money. Implementing the five steps outlined above should result in significant improvements for your company.
You can learn more about how to maximize your store visits and double your sales orders by downloading this FREE eBook.