Your Wholesale Business: 6 Essential New Year's Resolutions | Handshake

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    Your Wholesale Business: 6 Essential New Years Resolutions

    New years resolutions. Our biggest opportunity each year to map out our goals on a cleanslate. Amidst your personal new years resolutions to eat healthier, take that vacation, or learn anew skill, its also a great time to think about new years resolutions for your business. Here aresome goals that will help you start the year off strong.

    New Year's Resolutions for Your Wholesale Business

    1. Set the bar higher for efficiency.

    Increased efficiency means faster operations, faster cash flow, and lower overhead costs--allcrucial to your bottom line. You can probably already think of several ways your wholesalebusiness can increase efficiency. Whether its in how your sales numbers are reported, howyour reps submit their orders for fulfillment, or how product is shipped, take some time to findthose efficiency gaps and set up a plan to conquer them. Areas that that can often useimprovement include accounting, order management, communications, and databasemanagement.

    In all of these areas, figure out whether you have the best processes and technologies at work

  • to make your business as agile and productive as possible. One way to make this taskmanageable is to prioritize these efficiency issues and tackle them separately. You can alsopinpoint the gaps that are easiest to fix and act on them immediately so youll have a sense ofmomentum early on.

    2. Make metrics a priority.

    In a similar vein, a surefire way of making sure everything across your wholesale business isperforming optimally is by tracking metrics. Many wholesalers havent gotten into the habit ofdoing this yet. At most, theyre only tracking numbers like total gross sales, profit margins, andcommissions.

    Theres a world of other useful metrics out there, however, including fill rate (the rate at whichyou ship the correct items on time), visit to order time (the time it takes between an order beingcaptured to the order getting fulfilled. More on this in an upcoming post), the number of salescalls each of your reps is able to make each day, etc. Metrics like this can reveal weaknessesthat you can improve upon, motivate reps, and boost productivity.

    3. Go from a reactive to proactive customer service approach.

    Do you find that your customer service teams are spending most of their time putting out fires?Are they almost exclusively answering incoming calls, rather than also making outgoing ones?Is your team also having to spend too much time on tedious tasks like data entry, leaving littleroom for anything else but dealing with incoming customer complaints? Its time to rethink yourcustomer service strategy.

    Going from a reactive to proactive customer service strategy means putting your customers firstand reaching out to them directly. When an order is delivered, your team can call the customerto ask if they have any questions about that order or whether they need to add anything else totheir assortment. Similarly, if you encounter a shipping problem or delay, your team shouldinform customers about it and explain how the issue will be resolved, rather than having themfind out on their own (no one likes bad surprises).

    Your sales reps can also take a more proactive approach to customer service on the front lines,coming to meetings prepared with a customers order history, lists of curated products that areright for their store, and a more modern buying experience. This approach will make theseconversations much more positive and make both your customers and your team happier.

    4. Renew your commitment to sales training.

    As more B2B buyers expect an omnichannel buying experience, with the ability to orderproducts quickly and easily from a suppliers website and/or mobile app, the role of sales reps ischanging. Sales reps are taking on a more consultative role with customers, and are arguablybecoming more important than ever.

    This new advisory approach to selling, however, may be new territory for some members ofyour sales team. Management teams need to respond to this with focused, effective salestrainings. This could include more in-depth product trainings, trainings to help reps better

  • understand the competitive landscape, sales conversation training, etc. Not only will your repsall be on the same page about your sales strategy, theyll be equipped with the information,tools, and attitudes to sell in wholesales modern age.

    5. Shake up your trade show strategy.

    Have you always had the same approach to your yearly trade shows? Resolve to shake thingsup this year. Take a closer look at your usual trade show roster, as well as other shows thatmay be on your radar, and calculate the past and/or potential ROI of each (you can even usethis handy trade show ROI calculator). After taking a closer look at the numbers, you maydecide to drop a certain show thats yielded middling returns and try out a new show that haspotential.

    Its also a good idea to take a look at how youre planning your shows and designing yourexhibits. Look out for innovators in the trade show space, and find out how you can applysimilar techniques to your own booth design. Take it a step further by rethinking your on-th--floor strategy and ways to optimize your valuable trade show time, whether by usingtechnology or conducting more pre-show marketing.

    6. Give back to the community.

    If your company is already involved in your local community, great. If not, make it a new yearsresolution to give back this year. Find a cause thats relevant to your brand--or one that simplymatters to you and your employees--and devote a few hours to it each month.

    Its not only great for the community, it also has tangible benefits for your business: it canaffect employee engagement and satisfaction, increase brand awareness and value, andgarner support from your customers.

    Ready to make 2015 your wholesale businesss best year yet? With these new yearsresolutions in mind and a clear plan to achieve them, youll be off to a running start in January.Post originally located at:

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