As an industrial manufacturer, you have several different options when it comes to getting your products to market.

If your go-to-market strategy involves selling through distributors, how do you get their attention and their business – especially when vying for the big regional or national accounts?

First, it’s important to realize that not all distributors are the same. Here are some of the different distribution models you may encounter:

Industrial Manufacturing Distribution Models

  1. National Distributor: Sells to the entire United States. Typically has a strong online presence and many different types of end-user accounts.
  2. Regional Distributor: Sells within certain states or a territory, such as the west coast or the mid-west states.
  3. Local Distributor: Sells within one state, or within regions of a state.
  4. Master Distributor: Sells only to other (typically smaller) distributors, not to end users.
  5. Internet Distributor: Sells to end users online only.
  6. Integrator: Distributor who services large end user customers, sometimes from inside their facility or on a contract basis.
  7. Expeditor Service Model: Helps end-users maintain inventory levels on a just-in-time basis.
  8. Specialty Distributor: Specializes in a narrow line of products, services or industries.
  9. GSA Contractor: General Services Administration contractors buy manufacturers’ products and resells to the federal government.
  10. Buying Groups: Groups of smaller distributors that consolidate their purchasing power to compete with larger distributors.

Out of all these channels, most manufacturers are using national, regional, and local distributors, so those are the ones we’ll focus on. The problem is that competitors are likely focusing on these same accounts.

So, how do you improve your odds? As it turns out, an Industrial Manufacturers’ Rep (IMR) firm can open doors you never thought possible.

Just ask Monster Tool.

How Monster Tool Grew its Territory and Sales by Partnering with an IMR

If you’re wondering about the results you can expect to achieve or the return you can expect to generate on your investment by outsourcing a national account to an IMR, consider the experience that Monster Tool had when they partnered with Durrie Sales.

Headquartered in Vista, California, Monster Tool, a division of GWS Tool Group, is a manufacturer of solid carbide cutting tools. The company wanted to grow their footprint and sales in the Midwest. But they knew they couldn’t do that at scale from California using their internal sales team alone, so they hired Durrie Sales.

Durrie Sales helped Monster Tool resolve its inventory challenge in the Midwest by adding their inventory to Durrie’s Chicago warehouse. Durrie also introduced Monster Tool to Grainger, one of the largest distributors in the country.

The results? Durrie Sales helped Monster Tool shorten its product-delivery times to its Midwest customers, penetrate new distributors and end-user accounts, and boost sales by 34% at one of Monster’s large Midwest customers in the first quarter of 2021.

Read the case study here.

So, let’s look at how a good IMR can make a big difference in your go-to-market strategy.

4 Benefits an IMR will Bring to Your Go-to-Market Strategy

If you aim to land larger accounts (or grow your revenue with existing accounts), you should consider adding an IMR firm to your strategy. Here’s why.

  1. The primary advantage of using the services of an IMR is that they may already have a great working relationship with the very accounts you’re trying to win. Your entire pipeline is dialed up to Ludicrous Speed when an IMR already has their foot in the door for you.
  2. Another advantage is that IMRs carry multiple product lines that complement yours. Booking a sales appointment with an end user or a distributor is tough if you only sell one type of product. You can find yourself on the outside looking in for years. But an IMR with a broad product portfolio can easily pitch your products as part of a complete solution.
  3. Another top reason to outsource your industrial manufacturing sales is that an IMR can tell you who is buying what, when, why, and in what quantities. Industrial manufacturers’ representatives work with multiple manufacturers and sell to multiple distributors and end users. This gives you increased visibility into who your end users are and where your products are ending up – vital business intelligence that helps you increase your sales and market penetration.
  4. Finally, an IMR helps you navigate the complicated world of pricing contracts and supplier agreement letters. After all, how do you get a price increase out of a large national account? Not easily. They typically have supplier agreement letters that are 30 pages long and full of clauses and conditions that can eat into your profits. An IMR helps you read and understand the fine print in pricing contracts so that you negotiate from a strong position and maintain your margins.

As you plan your go-to-market strategy, it’s important to give your launch every chance at success. One great way to do that is by partnering with the right people who can get your product where it needs to be – in the hands of the big distributors who can turbocharge your growth.

Industrial Manufacturing Distribution Models Cheat Sheet
6 Things Manufacturers Should Look for in Independent Sales Reps