BlogsHow corona affects to the wholesale sales strategies?

How corona affects to the wholesale sales strategies?

How well do you remember those long nights in the fall of estimating this years sales figures or this years kick-off’s, where the direction of sales were under forecasting, raporting and implementation to the sales staff? I do think that many of you are still very familiar with the agenda, but how realistic do they sound now when the corona has hit the year from all the possible angles?

The biggest problems have occured within the companies that are in or wholeselling to markets that are hit hard by the corona-virus. All the new recruitments, customer events, sales fairs, job advertisements and even the physical sales meetings have stopped or drastically changed. How a sales director who is for example measuring their sales teams efforts by every visited customer a day can now measure the sales activites and effectiveness?

It’s no coincidence that the online sales channels have flourished during the pandemic in all B2B, B2C and C2C. People have cemented themselves inside their home offices but still have all the digital terminals open for purchases. For example Finlayson has increased their online sales in the spring by 747% and same kind of sales figures have been published by hundreds and hundreds of different online retailers. Even anti-digital people with small pensions have increased their online shopping behaviour.

The same trend is flourishing within online wholesalers but the subject of wholesales is as interesting for the consumers and media as worms are for lions. Even the brightest advocates of online shopping doesn’t know that B2B sales is actually bigger market in online shopping than B2C.

Many wholesale focused companies, usually directed by a veteran B2B sales directors are now in a deep trouble – not just because of the past lack of interest and budget for smart B2B online sales strategies but to the fact that the traditional sales army -method of flooding the buyers hours with meetings have been banned from the buyers side.

The same thing has actually happened in Finnish food retail sector a little while ago when S-Group made an announcement that no B2B sales representatives or merchandisers were now longer welcomed to their vast physical network of retail outlets to meet with the retail staff or buyers. So the direction of where the wholesales methods were going was already tpo be seen from only that single move by a giant retail chain.

So how a company interested of upgrading their wholesale strategy can make a sudden manouvre if all the previous weak signals have gone unnoticed?

Well the first and my personal favourite answer is to go and ask it from the buyer customers. Using the 2 ears and a one mouth -strategy is wise, because also the buyer is interested of developing the relationship and methods of more effective purchasing with the seller company’s representative.

Then that information must be mapped out and reflected to the sales strategy and directions that the seller company has been using ’till this day. If the buyers advices can then be squeezed into these little points:

  1. Any tools or methods that enable my buying to be more effective is interesting and I’m open for ideas
  2. All the extra hassle and friction should be erased of the co-operation
  3. The amounts of my wholesale buying doesn’t reflect on to the amount of wholesale sales efforts made by your company but more the overall market need for the desired products or services that your company is marketing

Then the overall co-operation, influencing, instructing, helping and guiding must be re-evaluated and first reflected to the sales strategies used in the past. If this strategy mapping and planning takes too much time and energy – especially if the lead time inside the organisation structures is too long – then a one quick fix solution would perhaps be to open up all the digital wholesale channels to the buyers.

This way the buyer can choose the most effective wholesale shopping outlet for her purposes. Many times the first solution is to offer the official and long waited (from the sellers perspective) e-wholesale outlet to the buyer consisted only of the sole products of that single wholesaler, but most often it’s not really giving the buyer person any real help or desired effectiveness. The rule of thumb is to get to the same wholesale purchasing channels and platforms that your professional buyers are already using or adding them more value. Here the digital wholesale platforms usually come in to play, because they offer the buyers more bang for their buck!

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