4 Common Challenges Distributors and Wholesalers Face and Technology Can Solve

Nov 06, 2020

Sales fleet spends a significant amount of time on the field visiting customers. If the process is optimized, the salesforce could execute their duties faster and better. Respectively, a higher number of customers will be served daily and thus, the company`s bottom line will be improved. 

But how can you make it work this way? Firstly, the company has to be ready to transform its daily processes and secondly, it has to find the right tool to help optimize them. Here we explain 4 common challenges a distribution solution can solve.  

Lack of means for tracking sales efficiency 

A common issue for distribution or wholesale companies is not being able to track the sales fleet activities, missing an accurate picture of what time they are spending with each customer and what are the reasons for each visit. This challenge can be solved by equipping your salespeople with a business app they can use on the go. This will not only increase your visibility, but it will make the salesperson`s life easier too. Instead of having to fill in weekly or monthly timesheet reports, they will have them automatically generated based on check in and check out time for every customer, activity that they had (placing an order, delivering goods or collecting payments) and more. 

Time spent en route 

Distribution and wholesale companies look for new ways to optimize the routes of their sales fleet, so that they spend more time with customers on a daily basis. Having all customer locations at hand can help them be more efficient, and at the same time allow their supervisor to know when a salesperson started their day, how long they were physically with customers and between outlets. In such situations, a distribution app can do the job. It can propose an exact order of visiting for the scheduled daily route to minimize the total duration to complete. Additionally, a geo-fencing functionality can be put in place, so that a visit cannot be started unless the salesperson is within the customers’ location (based on GPS coordinates). 

Don’t limit your company only to empowering salespeople. Give a flexible tool in the hands of the supervisors as well. This way you will help them schedule delivery visits for sales people based on geo coordinates and assign them to specific routes based on the agent visiting capacity. So, once the salesperson starts his daily route, he can see the full list of customers that he needs to visit during this day. What’s more, such an app can notify each customer for the ETA when the agent starts the journey to his location. 

customer view -wholesale and distribution blog
route map - wholesale and distribution blog post

Example screens of Dynamics Mobile Van-sales app 

Information from customers and from the field 

Distribution and wholesale companies underestimate the information their salespeople can provide based on their observations on the field. Your salesforce has the unique position to track feedback from customers through surveys. Also, they are your insiders about competitor moves – new merchandising activities, new sales promotion and more. All they need to do is to collect and store this information at one location and share it in their reports.  

Analytics of the performance   

A key part of each distribution and wholesale business is analyzing the salespeople performance. But it can be challenging task if the data is not collected regularly or is stored at different locations. Visualizations can provide a better picture of the sales activities related to routes, sales per periods, top customers, and top salespeople.  

kpi - wholesale and distribution blog
controls - wholesale and distribution blog

If shown on a map you can obtain a better idea of which locations to be served more often due to higher sales volumes:  

mobile fleet - wholesale and distribution blog

Looking for more information about how technology can enable your organization to work smarter? 

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About the author
Marina Varlyakova
Marina is a dedicated marketing professional, focused on B2B commerce. She has gained more 10-year experience working for investment companies and a Big 4 consultant company. Always ready for new challenges, Marina has gained knowledge in Microsoft management solutions and keeps on exploring the competitive edge they provide to businesses from different industries.