In today’s fast-paced, tech-based marketplace, fast service and delivery are in high demand. Consumers want to receive their supplies quickly so they can meet the demands of their customers in a timely manner. The best way to keep up with your customer demand is to build your industrial distribution network.
Distribution is an impactful element of the buying process that influences 62% of shoppers’ purchase decisions. Ensuring your network can keep up with demand without sacrificing quality is essential to maintaining customer loyalty. Building your distribution network can help you attract new customers, mitigate losses, improve productivity, and stand apart from the competition.
Keep reading to learn seven effective ways to build your industrial distribution network for continued success.
- A distribution network is the lifeline of your company, allowing you to meet the needs of your customer while setting yourself apart from the competition.
- Marketing for manufacturers is an impactful way to build a distribution network.
- Tracking trends and streamlining processes can help improve productivity, efficiency, and enable you to provide a positive customer experience.
What Exactly is a Distribution Network?
An industrial distribution network is a path your products take to reach your markets. It encompasses everything from warehousing services and storage processes to transportation and tracking. Your distribution network is the way you meet the needs of your customers, and it’s a major asset for manufacturers.
Some distribution networks are small operations handled by start-up companies while others can be large, complex systems managed by major enterprises. Each distribution network is designed using variables like customer demand, product offerings, supply availability, and customer experience.
Distribution is important because it impacts supply chain costs, affects customer satisfaction, and drives overall profitability. That’s why building a successful distribution network can give you an advantage over your competitors. You can enjoy additional benefits, like:
- Lowered costs
- Greater transparency
- Broader reach
- Quicker growth
For a distribution network to be successful, you must create a strategy that streamlines the process and enables you to fill orders quickly and efficiently. A successful distribution network also needs constant optimization to ensure your system is as effective as possible. This takes research, analysis, and planning to have the system in place to manage customer demand and maximize opportunities for revenue growth.
Marketing for manufacturers can help you build an industrial distribution network that delivers results. This is demonstrated in more detail in the following video:
7 Ways to Build Your Industrial Distribution Network
Below are seven ways to build your network, meet customer demand, and boost conversions for your industrial business.
1. Use Content Marketing
Content marketing for manufacturing companies can be highly effective for attracting new business and driving website traffic for manufacturing companies. Develop content guidelines that apply to everyone across the distribution channel. Doing so can help you:
- Send a consistent message
- Solidify customer relationships
- Develop a consistent brand value
- Increase customer engagement
- Build customer loyalty and brand advocates
By clearly communicating content expectations, you ensure everyone on your team is on board with the message you’re sending to your customers. This contributes to a positive customer experience and strengthens the core of your distribution network.
2. Develop Customer Personas
Unlike most businesses who create personas for their customers, industrial distributors must create buyer personas for the resellers in their distribution network. As you begin to develop these customer personas, consider demographics like location, regulations, and market size. All of these can impact your marketing approach. Learn what motivates resellers to understand how to segment them for targeted marketing efforts.
Once you’ve identified customer personas, you can create targeted, personalized messaging that resonates with consumers and meets their specific needs. Doing so can help increase conversions and generate more revenue.
3. Track Changing Trends
Between trends in the marketplace and trends in marketing for manufacturing companies, it’s important to keep track of changing developments. Conduct online research to see what shifts are happening in your industry, and observe what new processes or communications your competitors are implementing and follow suit. You can also monitor social network forums, groups and platforms to see what new ideas people are discussing and watch for communications and whitepapers from experts in your field.
Whatever the changing trends may be, use the insight to adjust your own strategies. The insight helps you update communications, tweak your distribution processes, and shift your game plan to ensure you’re keeping up with the current state of the industry and staying ahead of your competition.
4. Promote Collaboration
Although each team in your company has a clearly-defined role, cross-departmental collaboration can strengthen the relationship between the teams. Develop a strategy for clear communication that helps increase productivity and efficiency. When all teams work together toward the same goal, your company has a better chance of smooth operations, managing the customer experience, and generating a more successful outcome overall.
When information is siloed within a company, information can fall through the cracks. Through team collaboration, you ensure everyone has access to the same information and can follow the entire trail of an order from start to finish. This results in fewer questions, less confusion, and stronger distribution networks.
5. Implement Automation
To really streamline and simplify your distribution processes, implement automation into your system. Automation technology can:
- Increase productivity
- Ensure accuracy
- Boost production rates
- Use materials more efficiently
- Improve product quality
- Increase safety
- Reduce lead times
Automation provides more flexibility in distribution networks and frees up time for you to focus on other aspects of your business. Most important, automation provides invaluable data that can help track your efforts and gauge the efficacy of your systems. It’s an invaluable tool to help build your industrial distribution network.
6. Analyze Data
Measure overall success by tracking and analyzing data. You’ll be able to see what elements of your strategy are effective and what areas need improvement. You’ll also be able to:
- Monitor inventory
- Manage contracts
- Forecast seasonal demand
- Reduce human intervention
- Adjust supply based on market trends
Data provides invaluable insights that help you improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your distribution networks. This helps to ensure you’re delivering quality products people need in the amount of time they need them.
7. Monitor Your Network Constantly
Your distribution network is going to be a continual work in progress. Customer demand will change and industry trends will come and go. That’s why you need to keep a constant eye on your distribution network. Analyze all of your distribution channels and immediately address any issues that arise.
Share your findings with your team so everyone is aware of the improvements that need to be made. This also ensures similar mistakes can be avoided in the future. Develop a reporting system to track profits, revenue, goals, and distribution efficiency.
Build Distribution Network with a Trusted Partner
Shanahan Strategy is a trusted marketing agency helping industrial and manufacturing companies strategize for market share and sales growth. We can help you build your industrial distribution network to meet customer demand and set you apart from your competition.
Contact Shanahan Strategy today to learn more about how we can help you meet your goals.