Keys to Market Access, Part 2: What Are Your Customers Buying?

IRCG Whitepaper Cover1A market access strategy provides a framework for distributors to align their investments with real opportunities for growth. This blog is the second of five looking at the five keys to unlocking profitable growth.

The second key to a successful market access strategy is to provide different levels of service to different customer segments.

Step back and think not about what you’re selling but what your customer is buying. The customer wants to look good to his boss. He wants to increase profitability and reduce hassles. And there is no company today where time is not a critical constraint; everyone is doing more with less.

Despite the differing level of value customers ascribe to the services provided by wholesaler-distributors, distributors often offer the same level of service to everyone.

Some customers are price-conscious and whichever source offers the lowest price gets their business. Other customers value product availability, extended credit terms or the ability to procure most of their needs from a single source. Does your sales support change based on what the customer needs? If it doesn’t, the sales team may have an impact on some customers but very little, if any, impact on others.

Segmenting your customers based on what drives them helps you identify how you can align selling resources so that their needs are met at the lowest cost to you. Do sales reps primarily fill demand that already exists or do they create demand by, for example, showing customers how a product or service can improve productivity?

Most companies that complete an analysis of their customers’ buying preferences will find that some of the accounts assigned to an outside sales rep can have their needs met by a lower cost function such as the Web or inside sales. In most cases, this actually results in better customer service and improved sales coverage in the eyes of your customers.

A market-based sales model that incorporates specialized roles is more efficient and effective, especially when backed up by real strategy, effective sales management and solid analytics.

The next blog in this series will examine why analyzing activities in addition to result is a key components of improving your access to growth.

Download the 5 Keys to Unlocking Profitable Growth (PDF).