The sheer volume of products in a specialty manufacturer’s catalog can make it nearly impossible for sales teams, channel partners and manufacturer’s reps to understand and credibly sell the right items. Specialty manufacturing part numbers were never designed to be external facing. But in many cases, those numbers have become the main identifier for literally hundreds of product options. This simply isn’t working anymore.
And it’s not just the issue of too many products, with too many numbers. The growth of competition has made differentiation by product feature obsolete, and global competition has made price competition nonexistent. The combination of too many products and too much competition has created a confusing product plethora that for many sales teams simply too frustrating to wade through. As a result, you’re losing business.
A recent survey by Walker Research revealed that by the year 2020, customer experience will be the major differentiator for brands over price and features. That’s good news for specialty manufacturers. A unified commerce solution can map to the customer experience for channel partners and reps, making it easy to find the right products, and the most relevant information, from any location. To solve the product problem faced by specialty manufacturers today, the right commerce solution must have these characteristics:
- Easily created specialty catalogs. In some instances, you may still want to print specialty catalogs for your largest distributors. However, most channel partners and manufacturers’ reps must be able to find the right products, and the right information, at the right time.
- Desire for personalization. Personalization is not just a new marketing buzzword, for specialty manufacturers it’s a requirement. A personalized buying journey is customized for each channel partner or rep. As a result of implementing a unified commerce solution, unnecessary information is removed and a direct path to relevant product information, training, ordering information is clearly mapped out.
- Mobile experience capability. Our partners are not sitting at desks all day long. There are field sales people who rarely visit the home office. To compete through customer experience, that experience must be accessible via mobile technology. That means the ability to find the right information at the right time, but also from any location.
- Sales tools that work. Channel partners are working in a highly competitive, highly stressful environment. Creating a unified commerce experience means easy access to the information they want, the “pull” if you will. But it also means you can deliver a powerful “push” – developing custom promotions that upsell and cross-sell your products to the right partners, in the right way, at the right time.
In our current competitive environment, selling based on features and product identification based on numbers is probably not working that well. Surveys show that by the year 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the primary competitive differentiator. Selecting a unified commerce solution that can create a superior customer experience and make the buying journey a pleasure, NOT a hassle, is your key to success.