Preferred Vendor Program: Winning the IDC

The Client​

A leading European manufacturer of modern workplace solutions partnered with Highlands to enter the B2B distribution channel in the US. Once Highlands gained product placement for our client in the wholesale channel, we prioritized creating a growth plan to drive demand. Highlands identified the Independent Dealer Channel (IDC) as one of the key paths to success.​

The Challenge​

It’s no secret the US B2B distribution industry is highly fragmented with a long tail of regional and local distributors. These independent dealers have a high degree of variation in their level of sophistication, go-to-market capabilities, and size of their customer base. These factors make the channel notoriously difficult to navigate and it’s easy to spend significant amounts of time and energy with little to show for it.

With over 60 years of experience with the IDC coupled with Highlands’ deep ties to wholesalers (a critical partner to the channel) gives us an advantage with winning in the channel. We use sales data and capability audits to identify the relevant dealers to partner with; those with the appropriate scale and have the capacity to drive sales.

The Highlands Difference​

Highlands has a long-standing relationship with a large independent dealer in the Northeast. Through our relationship we know about the dealer’s customer base, ways of working, and about their preferred vendor program. A Highlands Business Development Manager (BDM) called out our client’s assortment’s relevance to the dealer’s customer base and identified the preferred vendor program as an avenue to drive demand. The BDM built the business case to get buy-in from both the dealer and our client to participate in the program.

We executed the following on behalf of our client:​

  • Customer Contracts: Added our client’s products to the dealer’s key contracts with all the supporting documentation.​
  • Sales Training: Conducted several training sessions with the distributor’s sales team. This included a product sampling and sales asset distribution campaign.​
  • End-User Email Marketing: Partnered with the dealer and client to curate the appropriate content that meets the dealer’s requirements for end-user email marketing campaigns.​
  • Online Advertising & Social Media Campaigns: Coordinated between the distributor and client to create online marketing programs driving product awareness.​
  • Trade Shows: Supported the inclusion of our client’s products at key end-user trade shows with samples and selling materials.​

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