They are valuable in ways that extend beyond the normal sales functions.

In addition to the synergy a manufacturer representative offers, the ability for a rep to perform well rests in the high caliber of their sales personnel. These firms attract and retain the top entrepreneurial, goal-oriented and competitive talent in the industry.

Reps like long-term relationship with vendors and customers, which is why most reps live in the territory they serve, and for manufacturer representatives like Three Sixty Sales that focus on a few major customers, working only a few skyway steps away from the customer is a huge reason for a vendor to consider partnering with a manufacturer’s rep. Their ability to get face-to-face time with the customer allows them to establish strong relationships that last a long time.

Customers appreciate the time-saving aspect of working with manufacturer representative firms that sell with a large card line. The breadth of their lines often addresses multiple solutions for the customer in a single meeting. Distributors appreciate the product training and other support manufacturer rep firms provide.

Independent manufacturer representatives are a real resource. These professional firms provide timely, relevant and ultimately valuable feedback to both their Manufacturer and Customer partners. Manufacturer rep firms make multiple points of contact, including engineers, purchasing agents and designers. They support each buyer throughout the process, and supply multi-level, in-depth interdepartmental coverage, which can help bridge the communication gap that can exist between engineering and purchasing. A manufacturer representative’s advice is relevant and pertinent because of the familiarity achieved over the course of years with the total corporate culture of a customer like Target. They grow together with their customer. Watching the changes in corporate practices and the evolution of their procedures gives independent sales agencies an intimate picture of the company and allows them to anticipate upcoming changes. This long-term understanding and greater market exposure also gives a representative firm a broader range of information, which can be analyzed objectively, given their outside perspective.

The tenure of a sales rep firm within their territory is typically counted in terms of years and even decades— not months. Successful factory-direct salespeople are often promoted, leaving the territory and negatively affecting sales within that territory. Recent figures indicate the average company salesperson stays for 19 months, down from 24 months previously. For manufacturers that want strong and lasting relationships with the customer, a dedicated rep firm will help.

Both distributors and customers value the representatives that they work with. Reps and distributors are partners in providing excellent service to their mutual customers. Customers can tailor their delivery schedule to match production needs through either the Rep or the distributor. Services offered by rep firms aren’t limited, and creative solutions are often found to satisfy objectives of both manufacturers and customers. Manufacturers that find value in these extended services may look beyond standard commission formulas towards new methods of activity-based compensation.