Manufacturer’s Reps, and Product Data – Making the Connection between Customers and Sales
Manufacturer’s Reps are in the unique position to connect with just about every aspect of the supply chain in our marketplace. From their relationship to the manufacturers they represent, sales calls to the warehouse distributors, and keeping the retailers and resellers in their territory up-to-date on all the latest products, they see first-hand the effects great product data can have on sales. Recently, SEMA’s Manufacturer’s Rep Network (MRN) polled some of their members to learn more about the role product data plays in connecting manufacturers and the customers that sell their products to the end user.
Question 1: What is the biggest obstacle that can be overcome when companies participate in the SEMA Data Co-op (SDC)?
Bill Eagan, of Airheart Sales, replied, “Using the SDC can verify that a reseller has the latest products loaded into their system. The SDC helps to minimize the risk of missing a new product release, offering a discontinued product, and making sure the most accurate product descriptions are used.”
Brian Hosenfeld, of R&R Marketing, responded, “It is the massive undertaking of manipulating data from various sources into a useable format. The task that has to occur for a reseller to find the time, resources and personnel to accomplish this task has caused road blocks in the past. That’s the beauty of SDC; a reseller can access all the information they need, formatted to their individual requirements, and our manufacturers can focus on improving their data sets instead of filling out load sheets”
Les Rudd from Bob Cook Sales added, “The SDC also provides a template for the MRN Members to utilize, that helps us stay on top of updates and changes from the manufacturers, as well verifying the latest year/make/model changes are in the feeds.”
Nathan Kunzman, of Kunzman & Associates stated, “The SDC allows manufacturers and customers to gather, utilize and manage data more efficiently. The amount of time and energy spent managing data takes away from the main objective of selling, so the obstacle of not enough hours or staff can be greatly mitigated.”
Question 2: How can Manufacturer’s Reps bridge the gap between Manufacturers (suppliers) and Distributors/Retailers (receivers)?
Eagan - “Reps need to continue to tell Suppliers and Receivers about the benefits of SDC. For Suppliers, we need to stress the importance of having good data in today's e-commerce world. Receivers need to understand that SDC has the most complete and current data available with the ability to provide unlimited updates, and the option of instant data delivery anytime a new product is made available.”
Hosenfeld - “Our clients rely on us to be subject matter experts for their brand and to help them acquire and CLOSE business opportunities. In today’s digital driven world, data is king. We can help carry the message of what SDC can provide and how they work with Receivers to deliver data in the format that is ready to load in their system. What an incredible sales tool!”
Kunzman - “When reps are actively involved in gathering data and assisting in management of it with the SDC, they can bridge the gap by becoming the conduit between the two and to help double check the information that is being shared.”
Rudd - “Reps should encourage Receivers to sign up – once they have, and experience the value of the SDC system, their endorsements will help convince those manufacturers not participating to get on board with SDC.”
Vic Bennett of Gantt, Thomas & Associates - “The SDC is an asset to both Suppliers and Receivers, and we as Reps can spread that message when working with both customers and vendors.”
Question 3: How will having your manufacturers participating in SDC as suppliers benefit all sales channels?
Bennett - “Having data that is clean, complete and usable in all channels of the marketplace gives the Supplier an edge over his competitor who isn’t taking advantage of the SDC benefits.”
Eagan- “In today's e-commerce world, data is key to success. Better data means accurate product descriptions and the most current product offering leading to higher sales and fewer returns.”
Hosenfeld- “We’re a digital driven world. Transactions at all levels process some way through an electronic medium. No two customers are alike, and SDC’s ability to custom tailor the way the Receiver exports the data makes for a very seamless process and boosts those sales we are all looking for.”
Kunzman - “When our manufacturers participate as an SDC Supplier it increases their visual presence on websites, and customer’s internal point-of-sale systems, which translates to additional sales opportunities.”
Rudd- “Providing our industry with a quick, consistent, and accurate supply of product data.”
The SDC helps MRN members keep the flow of information, from manufacturer, to W/D, to the reseller, and down to end user or installer, accurate and available. If you would like more information about the SEMA Data Co-op, please contact Allen Horwitz at AllenH@SemaDataCoop.org or 888-958-6698 x 9.