What Dealers + Distributors Want from Manufacturers

Dealers are an essential part of most manufacturer's sales strategies. So why are they often treated as second-class citizens?

Distributors want a better partnership. Interestingly, vendors tend to measure the success of their partner’s growth and new business year-over-year but fail to measure more value-based factors like satisfaction. As it turns out, our dealers may not be as satisfied as we believe them to be.

The realization that only 20% of channel marketers rank their partner programs as effective, per the 2021 Channel/Partner Marketing Benchmark Survey, confirms the reports of partner dissatisfaction may not be overstated.

How can we help perfect our partnerships going forward to elevate performance and increase sales with dealers? With 63% planning to make deeper investments in technology to drive partner revenue growth, it’s worth considering what an enablement platform can bring to the table.

Simplicity in Tech is Critical for Adoption + Needed to Drive Revenue

The platforms manufacturers provide to dealers and distributors are lacking appeal. Feedback from partners in the AFV State of Partner Marketing report indicated lack of adoption was due to the difficulty, time, and effort to use them. Some partners also expressed that their own systems had better analytics.

The Channel/Partner Marketing Benchmark Survey also found that email was the most used channel for partner communications. Partner portals fell to 5th on the list after outreach by account managers, online meetings, and newsletters (more email).

The problem with partner portals is they usually result in a depository for content that’s hard to find, use, and share. Emails mean that messages and collateral languish in the inbox—perhaps never even read—or that partner reps download collateral to their devices and use it even after it’s no longer current.

An enablement platform encourages adoption with ease of use and a reduction to the time and effort dealer and distributor reps must expend to sell your products. If the goal of 91% of channel marketers is to increase revenue directly attributed to partner ecosystems this year, you need more than 1/5 of your partners using the platforms you provide as a critical resource to help them market and sell.


Consume Content on Modus Platform
Manufacturer dealer expertise
An Enablement Platform Supports Partners
as a Strategic Function

Partner enablement helps manufacturers solidify relationships, gain mindshare, and improve revenue performance. It does this by simplifying what it takes to improve sales productivity and ease the effort required for dealer and distributor reps to sell your products.

CSO Insights recommends improving performance, “…by providing integrated content, training, and coaching services for salespeople along the entire customer’s buying journey, powered by technology.”

Partners expect you to consistently share information allowing them to move to expert/advisor status when working with prospects and customers. And it’s to your benefit to ensure dealers have a simplified way of understanding how to differentiate your products and accurately position your solutions.

An Enablement Platform Delivers Many Advantages

One is streamlined product launch and go-to-market programs that efficiently provide the most relevant, up-to-date information reps can use to engage buyers. Other advantages include:

Just-in-time learning

Just-in-time learning that makes training compelling, consistent and easy to consume—along with quick updates on new features and interactive quizzes to aid in product knowledge retention.

Easy-to-find content

Easy-to-find content that is relevant for the customer that dealers are talking to.

Reporting what content reps are using

Reporting that shares information about what’s been used and by whom, so that your partners know which buyers are engaging, what content their reps are using.


Visibility, so your territory managers know which partners to focus on—and you know what content to optimize to continuously improve performance.

Virtual Sales Tools + Training Reinforcement
Help Partners Excel

Enablement is sought out when it simply delivers the content and tools distributors crave. It’s easy to create interactive content like product demos, virtual product tours, or share a library of sales collateral. Dealers can communicate your differentiation using the exact content they need, whether online or offline.

Corporate Visions’ Decision Labs recent research indicates that interactive content invites buyers to stay engaged and aids in recall of the conversation. It’s not difficult to extend this principle to your partners’ sales reps in relation to increasing competency. More than 58% of employees prefer just-in-time learning presented in bite-sized chunks as part of a go-to-market initiative or product launch. An enablement platform that puts training in a rep’s workflow will find it used as 49% prefer to learn in the flow of their work.

As your dealer and distributor’s sales reps gain competency, you’ll find a parallel increase in their confidence to offer your products first in answer to solving a buyer’s needs.

Content with the Right Messaging + Customization

Content such as datasheets, infographics, white papers, and eBooks, is arguably crucial to dealers. These are tools that help educate and inform the buyer and ideally offer a solution sell. But are they as helpful as they should be? 

Currently, the feeling amongst the dealer community is that much of the content delivered is too broad, not necessarily applicable to their customer base, and not outcomes or solutions focused. Re-evaluating the quality of the content you provide to your partners is made easier with the depth of data and value-added analytics provided by enablement platforms. Say hello to the visibility you’ve been missing to optimize for each partner, specific to their needs and those of their customers.

Partners Thrive with Ongoing Support + Commitment

As independent businesses, dealers tend to focus on margins. Having good products that sell well and deliver on time is a must. But dealers also want support and commitment. The more comfortable they feel with the vendor and the products you offer, the more inclined they are to position your products with their customers. Often, misalignment occurs when there’s a lack of support from the manufacturer. A partnership that prioritizes communication, new product and go-to-market programs, current content and collateral will thrive.