As a manufacturer, you’ve probably faced increasing pressure over the years to improve the quality of online product information you send to your distributor channels.

With varying requirements for the type, amount, and format of product information requested, it’s never been more important than now to have an effective B2B channel management strategy for your e-commerce product content. Without one, you risk a number of penalties from fines, to reduced online sales and outright refusal to carry your products.

Here are four warning signs you should invest more in your current channel management strategy:

1. No clearly articulated vision

Does your team have a shared, measurable vision for managing and distributing product information to your channel partners? Do you agree on how many channels you want to add, how many products each of them should carry, and what multichannel management “victory” looks like?

If not, invest in designing a channel management strategy that articulates what your destination looks like and how (and when) you will get there.

2. Inability to satisfy your channel partners’ requirements

Do your channel partners complain that your organization is difficult to work with or that it’s hard to get product information from you in a timely manner? Are they unsatisfied with the amount and format of product information you send them? Do you struggle to send the right type of product information they ask for?

You should invest in “listening tours” and get honest feedback from distributors about the type, format, and amount of online product information they need. Prioritize listening over selling and develop a methodology to gather information from your selling channels.

3. No single source of product information

If your team constantly scrambles to build custom content files or write queries to generate reports, you need to take a serious look at why you can’t easily prepare and send product information to your channels.

Work with your IT group to understand where your content is stored, how it’s structured, and how you retrieve and send it to distributors. Develop and agree on a plan to consolidate redundant processes, reduce manual work, and improve the quality of your online product content.

4. Lack of business process to expand channels

Without a plan to grow your channel partners, you won’t be able to grow your SKU selections on e-commerce websites. If your team always feels resource constrained, regardless of how many channels or projects you might have, study where your B2B channel management strategy fails and how automating manual work can help.

What are some of the problems you experience with managing e-commerce product information for distributors?

 

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