Carton Sealing Solutions

Ask Your Distributors What Your Customers Want

[fa icon="calendar"] Apr 25, 2017 9:23:21 AM / by Andrea Obston

Successful companies know how important it is to learn what customers need. One of best sources is their distributor network. Companies that want to get close to their end-users should build a network of Tier One distributors and listen to them,” advises Marc Schaible, Business Development Director for Better Packages, an IPG brand. “IPG has found that building this kind of selective authorized distributor network is critical to success. These exceptional distributors act as a bridge to customers. They are key to understanding customers’ needs and the ways a product satisfies them.”Know your customers.jpg

Find Out Customers’ Pain Points First 

High performing distributors use a consultative sales process with customers. They uncover the customers’ needs and pain points before recommending any products or solutions. They ask questions that lead to an understanding of where products fit into their customer’s success.  “Our distributors sell solutions that may or may not be the lowest cost way to seal a carton,” says Schaible. “These distributors understand what’s driving costs for their customers,” says Schaible. “They listen and learn from them. “Less sophisticated distributors don’t get to know their customers. Their only approach is to ask the customer, ‘What are you buying today? Here’s my price and I’m cheaper than a competitor.’”

Solutions can take many forms. Some customers are looking for productivity increases. Others are interested in reducing material costs. For others, the key pain point is all about reducing pilferage costs. Noted Schaible, “When those factors are important to a customer, our distributors often offer a combination of our two IPG brands: Central® brand of water-activated tape and Better Package’s dispensers. Together, these two IPG brands provide multiple benefits, which can satisfy our customer’s varying needs.”

Long-time distributor Shorr Packaging Corp. uses the consultative sales process to uncover customers’ real needs and respond to them. “Before we recommend products to our customers, we ask lots of questions. Our goal is to get the right product into our customers’ warehouse for the right application,” says David Bowen, a Senior Account Executive with Shorr. “When you walk into an account and they say ‘we’re using this’ we find that, most of the time, they don’t know why. So we probe.   We ask questions to understand the ‘what and why’ of their customers’ current situation so they can determine the right solution. The questions they ask might include: How much weight is going in box? What is the value of the product? How will the product be transported? How long will the product spend in the box? Is it delivered in 24 hours or will it sit in a warehouse for a year before it goes out the door? All of these questions get us closer to the customer and help us to offer product solutions that are going to fit their needs.”

A Partnership Built on Product Knowledge

Shorr is a very well respected and customer-centric distributor which is willing to consult with customers facing remarkable change. They sell both the IPG Central® brand water-activated tape and the Better Packages brand of dispensing machines. Bowen says the reason for the company’s 30+ year relationship with the IPG brands is: “The combination of the machines and the tape represents a strong value proposition.”

Key distributors enjoy doing business with IPG because of the unique combination of products in IPG’s bundle. This sets IPG apart and allows the process of custom solutions to support the consultative sale. IPG also recognizes these key distributors as extensions of IPG’s supply chain. “These key distributors are critical to our success,” says Schaible. “They are educated in the marketplace and always open to learning more. They bring their experience to their customers and we bring education and training to them.” Top tier distributors like Shorr welcome the manufacturer when we offer to be trainers for their sales teams. IPG brings equipment in to review with the distributor sales force and explains the benefits of IPG Central® brand water-activated tape and the Better Packages dispensers. Schaible elaborated, “We help them deal with customers who only focus on price; those who don’t yet understand the need for security or the benefits of the printed brand water-activated carton sealing solutions.”

Longstanding relationships

Building an educated and consultatively-focused distribution network takes time. Many IPG brand distributors have been representing the company for over 30 years. “For a business relationship to last that long, it must be mutually beneficial,” says Schaible. “There has to be something in it for both parties. What’s in it for our distributors is the financial success that comes from representing two of the most respected brands in the industry. Our two 100-year old brands, Central tape and Better Packages’ dispensers, provide instant credibility to our distribution network because these products are best in class. And, with the advent of ecommerce, the security that water-activated tape provides a shipping carton becomes even more important. IPG brands benefit from the distributor’s access to customers that value secure, branded carton sealing solutions. The distributors we want to work with have long-standing relationship with these customers.” 

Another key to building a customer-focused distribution network is delivering high quality leads to those distributors. “Our distributors tell us we generate more leads for them than any of their other packing vendors,” says Schaible. “These leads get them in the customer’s door in ways they never could before. These leads build and nurture our long-term relationships with our Tier One distributors.”

Staying Close to the Customer After the Sale

Successful distributors stay close to the customer after the sale and continue to demonstrate value to their customers and the brands they represent. Supporting the sale means ensuring that equipment installation goes smoothly, that the customer’s workers are properly trained on equipment use and that the equipment is maintained and serviced. “Tier One distributors go above and beyond to make sure the customer continues to be satisfied,” says Schaible. “There will be times when a customer needs supplies on the same or next business day to satisfy critical needs. That’s where good distributor relationships are critical. They stock those supplies and can meet such last-minute needs for them. These distributors understand where the products fit in their customers’ operations and they give us feedback that enables us to continue to evolve our products to meet the changing needs of the marketplace.”

About Better Packages

Better Packages, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Intertape Polymer Group (IPG), is the leading manufacturer of tabletop water-activated tape (WAT) dispensers used in carton sealing. In 2017, both the Better Packages brand of WAT dispensers and IPG’s Central® brand of water-activated tape are celebrating their 100-year anniversary. Better Packages’ product line includes auto-dispensing electric machines used in high volume fulfillment centers, as well as manual dispensers. Central brand water-activated tape is offered in a wide range of paper-only and reinforced gummed paper tape styles, roll lengths and widths. In the U.S., Better Packages sells through multiple channels that include industrial and packaging distributors and catalog wholesalers, as well as direct to end-user customers. Its worldwide distribution network consists of over 300 authorized distributors selling into over 70 countries. For more information, see: www.betterpackages.com and www.itape.com.

Media contact

Andrea Obston aobston@aomc.com

(860) 243-1447 (office) (860) 803-1155 (cell)

(860) 653-2712 (home)

Topics: Better Packages' 100 Year Anniversary

Andrea Obston

Written by Andrea Obston

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