Aligning Territory Sales Strategies
Develop and implement sales strategies to ensure distributorship growth and increased market share.
For HVAC distributors, maximizing results in a given territory is essential to long-term viability. Those who want to thrive, not just survive, must develop and implement sales strategies to ensure growth and increase market share.
There are three primary ways to grow an HVAC distribution business within a territory:
- Help contractor customers expand their business so they will buy more from you.
- Encourage existing contractor customers to start buying products from you that they either haven’t been purchasing at all or have been purchasing from competitors.
- Add new customers.
Building a business strategy based on those growth principles – and tying foundational management practices to sales processes to drive growth – are key to a distributor’s success in 2022.
Great relationships drive sales and market share growth
Helping contractor customers grow their business and earn a greater share of their wallets go hand in hand. Both depend on a relationship-based approach to business rather than a transaction-based approach.
For distributors, that means having a deep understanding of your contractor customers’ business and the challenges they face. What are their pain points? What’s preventing growth? What’s holding them back from buying more products from you? Answer those questions, and you’re in a position to deliver true value in the form of growth strategies, business training to support growth, and expert insights on how your products and initiatives can drive profitability.
When it comes to delivering value directly to customers, sales associates are the boots on the ground for every distributor. No matter how much skill or experience sales associates have, they can’t succeed without support. In addition to offering ongoing training and other professional development opportunities, managers can further empower sales teams with strategies to help them make the most of their time (and respect your customers’ time, too).
- Formalize daily activities with strategic schedule planning so sales associates know who they will visit and when.
- Have a plan for each customer meeting and set clear achievement goals.
- Role play in advance on how to complete a sales call.
- Send an agenda before a meeting. This allows a customer to prepare, demonstrates the associate’s attention to detail, and communicates in advance the purpose and intended result of the meeting.
- Capture commitments made to contractor customers during a meeting and follow up with a sense of urgency. Frequent status updates for customers and supervisors help drive urgency and close sales.
Finally, make sure you have a plan for adding new customers from within the territory. Are you covered both geographically and in all market segments? Add new customers strategically and communicate in advance with existing customers who may be impacted or have any concerns. Create a profile of the types of customers who succeed with your company and build a “value story” you can share with all prospective customers to highlight everything you provide.
Support sales teams for success
Some of these approaches may be new to outside sales associates. It’s critical they’re educated and trained on the actions as well as the intended results. When the process and results are connected for sales teams, they’re equipped to build relationships to efficiently support sales and market share growth.
What steps can distributors take to support the sales team’s success?
- Define the team’s goals. What level of sales increase do they need? What percentage increase is needed from each customer? How many new customers do they need to add, depending on sales volume?
- Regularly review progress. Talk with them frequently, not just at the end of a sales quarter or during an annual review. Discuss the challenges and help them adjust to stay on track.
- Coach to success, then find and celebrate the wins. When challenges arise, focus on identifying solutions to help sales teams grow.
Distributors depend on the success of their sales teams. By supporting sales teams and strategically aligning company processes and practices with sales results, distributors empower associates to build customer relationships to drive growth in sales and market share.
About Candy Cunningham
Candy Cunningham is the Distributor Relationship Specialist & Trainer for Business Development Resources (BDR), the premier business training and coaching provider to the home service industry. Candy has over three decades of experience in HVAC, with roles in distribution sales and territory management. As a territory manager, she was recognized in the Top 10 Percent of National Distribution Sales on three separate occasions. Now an integral part of BDR’s training department, Candy leads training classes focused on maximizing results as well as guides distributors in building training journeys for their customers. Learn more about BDR at www.bdrco.com.