B2B Customer Interactions Are Down 40%. It’s Not Just You.

The challenges distributors are facing as they head into 2023 are too numerous to count. Watch James Dorn and J Schneider break down the top 5 priority threats.

Read more about the evolution of B2B channel sales and actionable ways distributors can stay relevant and grow.

Follow Dorn on LinkedIn for more channel strategy and insights for industrial manufacturers and distributors.

Video Transcript:

James Dorn: So if you’re a distributor, your account managers are having 40% fewer meaningful interactions with your customers. That is an alarming amount.

J Schneider: I almost didn’t believe it when I saw it. And now let’s think about the manufacturer from that perspective. As a manufacturer, that number’s probably closer to 70, 80%. [James] That’s a great point, yeah.

JS: Right, it’s getting even worse. So if those engagements are, I think, compounded, it’d be even worse for the manufacturer. And that’s even more alarming. So the question is, how do you reverse that trend?

JD: It’s, yeah, good question. I would start with why, understanding why this is occurring. And from our research, we’re able to pinpoint that a lot of this comes down to not the behavior of a distributor, but really what’s changed with the end customer. They have changed dramatically over the last two to three years in how they choose to buy products and how they choose to learn about new solutions to fix problems in their facility. So by understanding your end customer, how they’ve changed, why they’ve changed, you can be better equipped to actually communicate with them more often and in a more meaningful way.

JS: You’re right, understanding that end customer is imperative, but it’s also imperative you do that together. So if you’re a distributor, with your manufacturer as a partner. If you’re a manufacturer, with your distributor as a partner. Jointly together, collectively going out into the market and understanding that end user in a more meaningful way. Because their buying behavior has changed. The reasons they behave that way have changed. It’s not as predictable as it was even two years ago to understand, hey, if I do this, my buyer will do that, or my customer will do X in return. It’s not a universal truth anymore.

JD: Yeah, I think it’s a great point, J, of partnering deeper with your manufacturing suppliers. Because moving into next year, the market’s going to be softening a little bit, and it’s going to become extremely difficult to actually get the attention of your end customer because more distributors and more manufacturers are trying to do the same thing. So having a better understanding of your end customer, partnering with your supplier manufacturers, and really designing new engagement strategies to win top of mind share with the end customer, critical.

JS: This is something we should start today though, right? And if we talk to our manufacturer distributor partners, they’ll put it on their plan for next year. We’ll get to it in Q2 or Q3. I would argue that that ship has sailed. Time is not your friend here.

JD: No.

JS: Start immediately. You’ll just be that much further behind. Because if it’s moved that quick without you noticing as a manufacturer, imagine how quick it’s going to move in ’23 and ’24.

JD: Yeah, great point.