Situation: A technology company developing an international SIM card for sale to B2B and B2C mobile phone customers wanted to drive sales world-wide through in-country distributors. The North American-based sales team first took the lead in vetting potential distributors, and quickly found the volume of inquiries to be more than they expected. This led to a back-log of applications to review, resulting in delays to the company’s international expansion.
Task at hand: In talking with them about their situation, we found that they had no clear or repeatable way to qualify potential distributors, and no set process to onboard and train the qualified ones. The company expected that on-boarding distributors might be an important ongoing process as the company grew and was able to open more geographical regions.
Action taken: The first thing we did was establish the qualifying criteria for a distributor and put that information on the website. This way before going further, a distributor would be aware of the qualifications they needed to have before applying. Just introducing this small change significantly reduced the amount of unqualified applicants. The next thing we did was set up an application and approval process, followed by a four-week onboarding term that included technical training, marketing, and finance/billing/administration/on-going support for the successful distributors. This process was refined until it was running smoothly enough to hand over to a newly hired sales support manager.
Results: This repeatable process eliminated the time wasters, allowed the salespeople to get back to their job of selling, and gave the company a way to expand into new markets knowing that a tested and working distributor process was in place. This helped the distributors to flow through a process that guided them to get signed, set-up, trained and selling quickly thereby supporting the global expansion of the business.