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Why Distributor Management Is The Same As Good Customer Management. Part 1 of 4

To celebrate the launch of our new Distributor Management Programme, Distributor Management Expert Mark Hollyoake unpicks some of the complexities of working with distributors.

In part 1 he explores the similarities between distributor management and good CRM.

More and more organisations are turning to the distributed route to market as a way to grow value and volume. Historically, distributor relations have been regarded as a quiet backwater or led by proactive distributors actively seeking out organisations and brands, rather than organisations actively seeking to distributor partners to grow markets. However, as home markets come under increased pressure, the distributor route to market development offers viable growth.

If organisations get it right, the rewards are considerable – when a major FMCG brand decided to take a more active approach to distribution in USA/Canada and Russia, they saw export sales double within two years.

The problem is many organisations consider Distributor Management as complex, and unwieldy, operating beyond organisation’s immediate sphere of influence and core competencies. In reality, good Distributor Management requires the same approach as good Customer Relations (instead of customers you have partners), but the same principles of good practice apply:

The organisation needs the right people for the job. The necessary skills and competencies to drive the relationship forward.

  • The ‘right’ partner.
  • Clarify what value you want from the relationship.
  • Communicate proactively and joint plan with your partner.
  • Consider how the relationship is reviewed and evaluated?

Over the next few weeks, we will look at ways you can develop strategies to create a greater share of hearts and minds in distributed markets.


Have clear expectations for the market and partners required to develop them.


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Contact us at hello@customerattuned.com

Mark Hollyoake

Mark is a co-founder and Director of Customer Attuned Ltd. He is currently studying for his Doctorate at Southampton University, focused on Trust as a dynamic within business to business customer relationships.

His is an expert in B2B Customer Experience and Customer Management. This includes CM strategy development; execution of improvement plans (incl. organisational modelling for customer management); programme design; and partnership & alliance development.