For HVAC distributors, maximizing results in a given territory is critical to long-term viability. Those who want to thrive, not just survive, must develop and implement sales strategies to ensure growth and increase market share.
There are three main ways to grow an HVAC distribution business in a territory:
- Helping Contractors’ Clients grow their business so they buy more from you.
- Encourage existing contractor customers to start buying products from you that they don’t buy at all or buy from competitors.
- Add new customers.
Building a business strategy based on these growth principles – and linking fundamental management practices to sales processes to drive growth – is key to a distributor’s success in 2022.
Good relationships drive sales and market share growth
Helping entrepreneur clients grow their business and earn a bigger share of their wallet goes hand in hand. Both depend on a relational approach businesses rather than a transaction-based approach.
For distributors, this means having a deep understanding of your entrepreneur customers’ businesses and the challenges they face. What are their pain points? What prevents growth? What’s stopping them from buying more products from you? Answer these questions and you’ll be on your way to delivering real value in the form of growth strategies, business education to support growth, and expert insights into how your products and initiatives can drive profitability.
When it comes to Offer value directly to customers, sales associates are the boots in the field for every distributor. No matter how skilled or experienced the sellers are, they cannot succeed without support. In addition to providing ongoing training and other professional development opportunities, managers can give sales teams strategies to help them make the most of their time (and respect your customers’ time, too).
- Formalize daily activities with strategic calendar planning so sellers know who they will be visiting and when.
- Have a plan for each meeting with a client and set clear achievement goals.
- Role play in advance how to end a sales call.
- Send an agenda before a meeting. This allows the client to prepare, demonstrate the associate’s attention to detail, and communicate the purpose and expected outcome of the meeting in advance.
- Capture commitments made to contractor clients in a meeting and follow up with a sense of urgency. Frequent status updates from customers and supervisors help drive urgency and close sales.
Finally, make sure you have a plan for adding new customers from within the territory. Are you covered both geographically and in all market segments? Strategically add new customers and communicate in advance with existing customers who may be affected or have concerns. Build a profile of the types of customers who are successful with your business and create a “value story” that you can share with all potential customers to showcase all that you provide.
Guiding sales teams to success
Some of these approaches may be new to external sellers. It is essential that they are educated and trained on the actions as well as the expected results. When process and results are connected for sales teams, they are equipped to build effective relationships support sales and market share growth.
What steps can distributors take to support sales team success?
- Define team goals. What level of sales increase do they need? What percentage increase is needed for each customer? How many new customers should they add, based on sales volume?
- Regularly review progress. Talk to them frequently, not just at the end of a sales quarter or during an annual review. Discuss challenges and help them adapt to stay on track.
- Train for success, then find and celebrate victories. When challenges arise, focus on identifying solutions to help sales teams grow.
Distributors depend on the success of their sales teams. By supporting sales teams and strategically aligning company processes and practices with sales results, distributors enable associates to build customer relationships to drive sales and market share growth. .
Candy Cunningham, RDBThe BDR Customer Relationship Specialist is the primary contact for the company’s Distribution Training sales channel and provides ongoing resources to BDR’s Distribution Partners to help them run successful courses that advance their business. Candy has a strong background in Distributor Sales and Territory Management, with extensive experience in Marketing, Careers, Annual Dealer Meetings, Dealer Recruitment and Global Territory Sales Support.