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What Contractors Expect from Distributors. Or Should We Say Brands?

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In a recent Point To Point research study, we asked 499 building products distributors what contractors expect of them in two areas: product information and sales/marketing assistance.

It was clear from the data that contractors know what they want from distributors.

It was also clear that distributors are looking to brands to help them meet expectations—their own, as well as those of their contractors.

Product Information Expectations
When distributors were asked what product information customers expected them to provide, 46% of respondents listed warranty information first. Second through fourth expectations were:

  • Product updates
  • Preferred pricing
  • Technical product information/literature

How will distributors get this information for contractors? From brands.

When distributors were asked what they expected a manufacturer to provide them, the answers were strikingly similar to those given by contractors. Distributors want the following from brands:

  • Preferred pricing
  • Sales support
  • Product updates
  • Technical product information

Brands that accelerate and enhance their communications with and support of distributors for product information—particularly in the areas of updates and technical information—will also serve contractors, giving distributors the ability to meet contractor expectations.

Sales/Marketing Assistance Expectations
The distributors surveyed believe contractors also look to them to provide the following in sales and marketing assistance:

  1. Marketing/sales support
  2. Installation training
  3. In-person training
  4. Videos

How will distributors plan to meet these needs? Again, with the help of brands. These contractor sales and marketing expectations fall under the category of “sales support,” the second most listed expectation of distributors for manufacturers.

Brands can meet the sales and marketing expectations of both distributors and contractors by:

  • Creating push-pull promotions that incentivize distributors and contractors
  • Offering contractor-relevant content—including videos—for distributors to upload to their websites
  • Producing “train the trainer” programs for distributors to help them provide installation and in-person application training to contractors
  • Providing in-depth training videos and online courses for contractors, uploadable to distributor website

Conclusion
Distributors believe contractors are looking to them for product information and sales/marketing assistance. But distributors are looking to brands for the very same things—both for themselves and for those they serve. By stepping up to the challenge to help channel partners at all levels, brands can take a leadership role that will build loyalty, increase productivity and boost sales for all involved.

Why Building Products Brands are Falling Short

Topics: Building Products Manufacturing