Last year we reviewed the threat of disintermediation to distribution businesses. Our previous article revealed some of the basic ways your company can prevent loosing clients to this trend.
Additional ideas on preventing disintermediation are being discussed in a wide variety of business publications, such as:
Specialization and Upgrading Customer Service
You should definitely focus on the special needs of your customers and your region. What can you do to fulfill those needs either for specific products, services or simply by making doing business with your company a pleasant part of your customers day?
Almost every aspect of preventing disintermediation circles back to showing and providing additional value over and above what your client receives from buying direct from the manufacturer or online via a website (usually low price and two day delivery).
Adjusting to Payable Trends
Be flexible and adjust your invoicing processes to your customers desire to pay monthly, by invoice or by line item. This improves their ease of doing business with you and increases your chances of keeping customers buying from your business. The rapid changes in electronic banking and online transactions can save your clients time and money.
Many want to be able to interact with your business outside of the typical paper invoice and slow US Mail. Make certain supporting these adjustments for your clients can be handled by your business systems and will not increase your internal costs.
Take a look at creating sales relationships higher up in a customer organization and not just with the procurement manager or buyers. This gets the value proposition of your special support of their needs with products and customer service visible to the executive decision makers in an organization. Personal relationships and demonstrated understanding of a customers specialized needs can prevent loosing a client to an online provider.
Continue to focus your ideas and efforts on differentiating your business with specialized products and services your clients cannot get from other sources. Ongoing communication with all of your clients, from the buyers to the users and their management, will supply your team with the details to improve and further develop your unique value proposition.
Make certain you take full advantage of your Enterprise Resource Planning system to target your most profitable clients for these type of initiatives. Use your system reporting and analytic capabilities to measure your progress and decide on next steps to prevent disintermediation.
Contact Socius for assistance with adding required reporting capabilities or improving payables automation to meet evolving customer expectations.