The Usual Story
Congratulations! You have an innovative product and have built up enough excitement via Kickstarter, press releases, etc to manufacture and start selling. With new-found confidence you start looking towards bigger and better buyers – retailers and distributors.
Where do you even begin?
You`ve received dozens of emails from sales reps and distributors looking to sell your product, but are they of good quality? Knowledgeable in your industry and product? Can you handle the time it takes to manage their activities?
Perhaps you have a sales rep or sales team in house, but as a new or small manufacturer it`s hard to prove your worth to retailers. Maybe you`ve even blown a sales opportunity with a bigger label retailer.
Suddenly confidence is slowing down, frustration and time management become real issues, and you`re not sure how to build your company into the one you`ve been imagining since the beginning.
What you could do..
You could focus on sales reps and arbitrary marketing strategies either online or offline to get some sell-in. Trade shows might be an option but they are a little pricey and who knows if you`ll actually get new buyers from it.
You`re selling to whoever will listen to maintain revenue because while you know marketing is important, it can be risky if you`re new to the retail scene and inexperienced.
This is a classic scenario where sell-in is dominating what should be every product manufacturer`s priority…sell-through!
What you need to do..
While every manufacturing company has their unique set of skills (usually involving the creation of the product) it`s good to know where your strengths are and your weaknesses. In other words, where is your time best spent because at the end of the day it`s about your productivity towards developing your business.
Businesses outsource services like accounting, web design, SEO, etc all the time. Why? Because it would take hundreds of hours to do what a professional could accomplish in a third of the time.
How do you value your time? Do you have months to throw away?
We mentioned sell-through above. It`s the ability for your retail or distributor to sell to its customer – the consumer. Why is this important?
If a buyer knows they can sell your product effectively then they will have no problem re-purchasing from you again and again. Makes sense, right?
Sell-through is the key difference between a struggling manufacturer and one with consistent sales in various venues.” — Me
Creating sell-through is a tough job though. It requires effective management of sales teams, promotions, selling materials, pricing strategies, and much more. Usually a small and even mid-level sized companies have difficulty with this aspect.
How do I develop sell-through?
Honestly? It takes a few months to properly set up an effective retail strategy. If you don`t have experience in selling to retailers… you be spending a year developing yours.
Sounds pretty gloomy, eh?
That`s where aligning some or all of your retail marketing and sales strategy with an outside, specialized, and experienced team can be a huge advantage.
Just like hiring an outside accountant or web designer, an experienced retail marketer saves months of missed sales and headaches through management and promotional expertise.
Retailers expect you to manage your promotions, products, and pricing. If you can`t or they think you can`t then you have no chance.