In partnership with NEMRA (National Electrical Manufacturer Representatives Association), Alexander Group (AGI) recently completed a comprehensive study on the key drivers of a strong and effective relationship between manufacturers and independent sellers. One hundred eighty-five sales representative principles and 29 manufacturing executives participated in the study, providing both fresh and invaluable insights on the key ingredients to maximize the seller–manufacturer relationship. The findings show a strong alignment between manufacturer needs and the capabilities of well-managed representative firms. At the same time, it is clear that both sellers and manufacturers should re-evaluate and invest more in key areas that promote an effective, long term relationship.
AGI-NEMRA Study Focus Areas
The study focused primarily on three high level questions:
Manufacturer Demographics & Strategy: Of all the key factors that AGI analyzed, three correlated to differentiated sales growth.
Manufacturer Areas of Focus to Support Relationship: Manufacturers primarily focused on structured/frequent communication, training and enablement/support programs to strengthen their relationships with reps. Reps see enablement/support as the most critical factor but are skeptical of how effectively manufacturers are communicating with them. There is tremendous opportunity to improve communication, which sellers feel is often more of a hindrance than a help.
Independent Rep Areas of Focus to Support Relationship: From the seller perspective, the most important relationship driver is better access to manufacturer support programs and resources. This is also a top three priority for manufacturers. Interestingly, manufacturers do not prioritize performance-based compensation or C-suite commitment, which are the other top three relationship drivers for reps. This is potentially a big miss for manufacturers who want closer and more effective partnerships with reps but do not advocate for reps in the C-suite, and stick to legacy commission practices for innovative products and solutions.
The full findings from the AGI-NEMRA study provide unprecedented and invaluable information to help both rep firms and manufacturers improve their relationships and ultimately effectiveness. In addition to a full Study Report, AGI and NEMRA have developed:
A summary of the study report will be shared with NEMRA Rep Firms and Manufacturer Members. In addition, NEMRA will highlight key findings from the study at its 2017 annual conference, February 1-4 in Orlando, Fl. If you would like a copy of the study output and/or a review of the findings, please reach out to an AGI Manufacturing practice leader or to NEMRA.