“Quality over quantity” is often quoted but not often implemented. The idea that more isn’t better but, rather, better is better isn’t difficult to comprehend. Putting it into practice, however, takes planning, dedication, and a focused drive for excellence. The results can be quite rewarding.

Simrit’s Preferred Distributor Program is based on this approach. That is, a small group of highly trained distributors who deeply understand our specialized products and customer-focused solutions is much more valuable than a large group of distributors who are just familiar with the product portfolio.

The program has been successful overseas for a number of years — the average partnership between Simrit and its international Preferred Distributors spans approximately 40 years — and we recently introduced the program’s proven advantages to our North American distributor network.

Cooperation and communication with key distributors benefits everyone. Distributors gain from access to in-depth training and ongoing communication regarding product innovations and improvements. Distributors are better able to consult and advise customers on the best solution for their specific needs. Ultimately, cooperation helps customers speed delivery and maximize the value of their end products. And this results in a more-coordinated, efficient, and valuable business structure for Simrit as well.

Simrit has devoted substantial resources to this effort. For example, a dedicated training program educates distributors on proprietary applications, materials, and products at the Freudenberg Sealing Technologies Academy (also available online). Further, customized training can be provided at the distributor’s facilities.

An active sales-support program coordinates joint customer visits and technical consultation for customized products, technical alternatives, and prototypes, particularly for complex applications.

Preferred distributors have around-the-clock access to Simrit’s e-commerce platform, which provides daily updates on more than 43,000 items, including vital details such as pricing and availability, as well as product and material data.

Internally, Simrit has put in place separate distribution-management and customer- service teams to support the program and its participants, with a committed focus on better understanding how to help distributors best serve their clients.

For companies interested in developing a focused distributor program, keep in mind several notable factors:
• Realize that distributors have special needs, such as for affiliate marketing and point-of-sale support, that are different than requirements for an OEM or major global customer.
• The basics of how the company does business with distributors should evolve over time. Identify important issues (such as the need for incentives) and adjust to satisfy those demands.
• Develop a program that’s tailored to every aspect of a distributor’s business, including logistics, marketing, technical support, and customer service.
• Continually pursue key distributors that strategically align with your goals.
• Base the partnership on trust, consistency, accountability, loyalty, transparency, and well-founded market knowledge.

With a commitment to “quality over quantity,” a distributor that intimately understands a product portfolio and provides valuable and timely solutions to customer problems can become a critical link in a company’s overall success.

Edited by Ken Korane.

Simrit is part of Freudenberg-NOK Sealing Technologies and offers an extensive portfolio of precision manufactured products.

© 2012 Penton Media, Inc.