Distributor Sales Training: Strategies For Building a High-Performing Sales Force

Distributor Sales Training
Field Sales Account Management


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Studies suggest that best-in-class companies close 30% of sales qualified leads, while average companies close 20%. How do you close that gap? Effective sales training.

Every sales team needs solid training and ongoing coaching. But reps in the wholesaler and distributor industries need it more—mostly because margins are small and competition is fierce. If your sales team can’t close more than 20% of its deals, your company will probably struggle to stay in business.

Not to worry! Distributor sales training will teach your reps to build strong relationships with customers, expand market reach, strengthen your brand’s image, and enhance overall sales performance.

In this article, we’ll show you how to build an effective distributor training program for your company.


Why Is Distributor Sales Training Important?

If you manage a sales team in the wholesaler and/or distributor industries you’ll benefit from distributor sales training. How so? Here are four specific advantages your team will enjoy:


Enhances Sales Performance

When reps have deep product knowledge and grasp advanced sales techniques, they’ll close more deals.

Distributor training will teach your reps about the products they sell, how they stack up to the competition, how to present product benefits in compelling ways, and how to overcome objections.

With this knowledge, your reps will almost certainly make more sales than they otherwise would.


Builds Stronger Customer Relationships

Returning customers spend 67% more than new customers. The question is, how do you convince folks to purchase from your company multiple times? You build relationships with them.

Think about it like this: would you rather shop at a local store you’ve been to a dozen times, or nationwide chain who just discovered? Most people would choose the first option because they already know and like the local store. The same goes for your customers. Relationships will keep them coming back.

Guess what—distributor sales training will teach reps to build business relationships that last.


Expands Market Reach

Once your reps have been properly trained they’ll be able to find new market opportunities; not just capitalize on the ones they already have. This will help introduce your company to new customers.

It makes sense when you think about it. Well-trained reps have deep product knowledge and understand the nuances of successful selling. Why wouldn’t they be able to use these skill sets to engage different kinds of customers and/or customers in different geographical areas than they usually do?


Strengthens Brand Image

Brand image is important—especially in sales.

Distributor training will teach reps to uphold certain standards, which will make it easier to close deals. Why? Because potential customers will know what to expect from your company.

This, in turn, will breed trust. Every seller knows that trust is the foundation of a successful sales process. Without it, your team will never close the number of deals it hopes to close.


Key Distributor Sales Training Areas

Distributor sales training is obviously beneficial. The question is, how do you build a program that successfully prepares reps to close deals? Just make sure it covers these key topics:


Product Knowledge

Your distributor training program should teach reps about the products they sell.

Educate reps on product features and benefits, technical details, how your current customers use your products in the real world, and why your products are better than the competition.

Your reps won’t be able to make sales at a consistent clip if the information above isn’t ingrained in their brains. So, above everything else, give your reps the product knowledge they need to succeed.


Sales and Marketing Skills

The best sales reps are constantly honing their skills. As such, your distributor sales training program should teach reps about the most effective sales and marketing techniques.

What’s the best way to connect with new leads? How can they build trust with potential customers? What objections are most common and how can reps overcome them? Which email templates work best?

Make sure your sales training answers these questions—and the many others like them.


Customer Service Excellence

Top-level customer service will elevate your company to new heights.

When customers like buying from your company, they’ll do it more often. As mentioned above, existing customers spend way more than new ones, so incredible customer service has huge ROI.

To ensure reps treat customers the right way, teach them active listening skills, which will help them build rapport with leads, solve problems for prospects, and meet customer needs with consistency.

We also suggest integrating your CRM system with your other sales tools. That way the data each tool collects can be organized and used to deepen customer relationships on autopilot.


Inventory Management

Your reps can’t sell what they don’t have. This is why inventory management skills are so valuable in the wholesaler and distributor industries. Make sure your distributor training covers this topic.

Teach them to forecast demand, assess stock levels, and order new products when necessary. Then take things a step further and teach them how to store, handle, and transport products the right way.


Compliance and Regulations

It’s not the most exciting topic. But every distributor sales training program worth its salt will teach reps about industry regulations. That way they have the information they need to maintain compliance.

Ask yourself questions like, “Which laws and regulations are vital to our industry?” and “How does our company handle specific compliance issues?” and “How do we monitor team compliance?”

Then answer these questions inside your training program so that you don’t have to deal with legal issues.


Market and Competitor Awareness

What products do your competitors sell? And how do they stack up to your company’s products?

Competitor research will help your reps differentiate your products from the other solutions on the market, and position them as viable alternatives. Both of these things will pay dividends down the road.

On a related note, keep your sales team updated on market trends. Have industry standards changed? What about customer expectations and preferences? Add these details to your distributor training.


Brand Values and Culture

Your company is more than the products it sells. By teaching reps about the values of your brand, you’ll give them information they can use to connect with potential customers on a deeper level.

For example, your brand might stand for transparency. If so, your reps can promote this fact during the sales process. They can say something like, “We’re all about transparency here at [Your Company], so I’m going to give it to you straight. [Your Competitor] makes a pretty good product, but if you want [Benefit Your Offer] you’ll be better off with [Your Product] because [Main Product Differentiator].


Technical Proficiency

Finally, make sure your distributor sales training program teaches reps to use your company’s tech stack.

Have you invested in a sales enablement tool? What about task automation software? At the very least, your sales team uses a CRM solution, right? Educate reps so they can use these platforms effectively.


7 Best Practices for Distributor Sales Training

Now that you know what your distributor sales training program should include, let’s talk about how to supercharge your efforts in this area. Here are seven distributor training best practices to implement:


1. Conduct a Thorough Needs Assessment

Your distributor sales training program should be uniquely crafted for your sales team. So, before you do anything else, conduct a thorough needs assessment to discover:

  • What skills do your sales reps not have?
  • What’s the best way to teach reps these new skills?
  • What metrics will you measure to gauge future sales performance?


2. Customize Training to Learner’s Needs

There are many ways to train sales reps. The best distributor training programs match specific techniques to each individual learner’s needs. That way said learners get the most out of their training.

One rep might need to improve their lead generation skills, while another will need to learn to overcome objections and close deals more consistently. These reps shouldn’t go through the exact same training.

Instead, develop your program in a way that makes it easy to customize for each rep on your team.


3. Implement a Blended Learning Approach

If possible, add in-person and online classes to your distributor training.

Doing so will help reps interact with more experienced sellers and get hands-on experience, while also giving them a bit of flexibility to complete certain lessons on their own time.

When it comes to online classes, short and punchy works best. These kinds of lessons allow reps to consume content in between other tasks, which will help them complete their training in less time.


4. Create Accessible Content Hubs

Where will your sales reps access their online training? If lessons are scattered across multiple websites, or stored in multiple folders within your company’s cloud storage program, they won’t get watched.

Instead, organize all of your distributor sales training content inside one centralized hub.

This will make it easier for you to upload new lessons when necessary, and easier for your reps to find and consume the content in a timely manner. Both of these things are essential to success in this area.


5. Track and Monitor Training Completion

Your distributor training program won’t benefit your sales team if reps don’t complete the modules. With that in mind, find an effective way to track and monitor training completion.

Sales performance management tools like SPOTIO make this easy. Simply use the platform to track all of the activities your reps complete on a daily basis. Then go over the data to make sure they finish the training you’ve assigned to them. It’s a simple way to keep your reps on track toward your training goals.


6. Solicit and Incorporate Feedback

Do your reps enjoy the distributor sales training program you’ve developed? You won’t know until you ask.

Solicit feedback on a regular basis to discover which aspects of your training need to be improved. Then—and this is really important—incorporate the feedback you receive.

No, you don’t have to implement every suggestion your reps make. But carefully considering their opinions will allow you to create better training materials and build a better culture within your sales team.


7. Provide Continuous Training and Reinforcement

Your reps should receive sales training and coaching throughout their tenure with your company. After all, new products are released, best-in-class sales techniques change, and customer preferences evolve.

Top sales managers understand this and look for ways to update their distributor sales training programs with new and relevant content. That way their reps always have the information they need to close deals, drive revenue, and succeed in their roles. Be this kind of sales manager!


Ease Distributor Sales Training Demands With SPOTIO

If you want to increase sales in the wholesaler and/or distributor industries, you have to invest in your reps. One of the best ways to do that is to develop an effective distributor sales training program for them to go through. Good news—after reading this article, you know how to build a successful program!

Make sure your distributor training includes the key areas mentioned above. Then implement the seven best practices we covered to ensure reps connect with and implement the things they learn.

Looking for other ways to close more deals? The right technology will help. When it comes to field sales, SPOTIO is the platform you need. It was specifically designed to help field reps find leads, engage prospects, and convert customers. Sign up for a free demo of SPOTIO to see if it’s right for your team.