Black Ink Technologies, a leading SaaS-based customer and sales intelligence analytics platform for the durable goods industry, recently released its “Independent Dealer Development Report and Guidance,” which features findings and insights from Black Ink Technologies’ recent study on the challenges and opportunities concerning the durable goods manufacturing industry that sell through independent, authorized retailers. In June of 2018, Black Ink Technologies worked in conjunction with EPG Media’s Power Group publications representing the outdoor power equipment (OPE), powersports and boating industries to conduct the online, blind survey. The respondents were Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) (65%), distributors (27%), and independent sales representatives (8%).
The study shows that the majority of respondents are well behind the curve of adopting even the most basic sales enablement tools to help mitigate human capital waste, create greater customer-centric value, and engage in more fact-based conversations with dealers about market growth opportunity. Some of the major obstacles include data fidelity and access, automated reporting, and a general mind-set of being product-centric versus market-centric.
“I fully recognize that many OEMs and distributors don’t sell through traditional channels or even through Big Box, but there are lessons to be learned from them that can be applied to their business model,” said Jeff Winsper, president at Black Ink Technologies. “The irony lies within which type of retailer/dealer truly has the competitive advantage at the local level. Big Box or the independent dealer? The Big Box has very little understanding of their end user customer who buys their product but is armed with real-time retail analytics. The independent dealer is much more customer-centric, even on a personal level, yet they are woefully lagging with analytics and digital presence to take smart actions to grow the business. And guess who is growing more these days? The Big Box stores. I believe it is time for the OEM, distributor and independent dealer supply chain to break away from the 1990’s status quo of inertia to grow key consumer/pro segments at a pace it deserves.”
“Inventory planning, driving incremental profit, and creating precise end-user demand are just the beginning steps for empowering field sales people to have more meaningful independent dealer discussions,” said Bill Brunelle, co-founder of Independent We Stand. “This report shows the opportunities and shortcomings of OEMs, and distributors.
Five key findings from the study
Although technology can’t replace the experience of people, it can certainly complement their sales methods by providing insight and improving their productivity, thus allowing them to sell more, faster. The following are five key findings from the study:
- For those that use sales enablement tools, there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution, nor is any leading, “must-have” solution being widely adopted (see Chart 1 above).
- A low percentage of the total respondents use the most basic sales tools such as CRM software and, remarkably, many use “good old-fashioned paper” as common practice to deliver compelling dealer development reports (see Chart 1).
- From a dealer’s point of view, more than a third of the OEM and distributor salespeople are perceived as a cost, versus collaborative revenue drivers at the local level (see Chart 2).
- The ability to measure dealer success is challenging mostly due to lack of access, quality, and visualization of dealer data. 60% of the respondents state accessing, processing and displaying data is prohibitive (see Chart 3).
- Relying on a product-centric salesperson versus a market/end-user customer salesperson makes it challenging to upsell and cross-sell. When it comes to trying to understand what type of customer information would be valuable to inform a more precise sales and marketing plan to sell more, the challenges seem equally common across the respondents (see Chart 4).
All information and charts courtesy of Black Ink Technologies. The full findings from Black Ink Technologies’ Independent Dealer Development Report and Guidance are available for download at http://blackinktech.com/developmentreport