B-to-B Goes ‘Plug and Play’
RTF’s six agents work with independent and national distributors that have anywhere from five to 500 salespeople. “Our goal is to educate them about the products we represent, and give them sales tools, like the fully illustrated product catalogs and other information, so they can comfortably and knowledgeably sell,” says Friedman. “We don’t earn a dime until the sale is made, so it’s in our best interest to make sure every one of our distributor sales representatives is armed and ready to sell.”
The catalog layout and production expertise United Receptacle provides “is extremely important when we’re dealing with our customers in the catalog business,” Friedman notes. He explains that as catalogers, “They have one shot, and one shot only to grab the interest of their customer.” Therefore, it’s important to choose the right product displays, take professional in-use product shots, and produce coherent page layouts for use throughout the distributor’s catalog.
Market Snapshot: Universities
Take, for example, a cataloger who targets the university market with products including, but not limited to, receptacles. “United would select eight or nine of its products most appropriate to that marketplace, bundle those together in an appropriate page display, and develop the graphic layout in the persona/image of that particular cataloger’s format,” says Friedman.
Not only does this step make it easier for the cataloger — who then can opt to accept the page layout as is — it also gives United a “leg up on getting its products placed,” Friedman notes. “With the customer’s identity already in hand, you have something tangible to show and ultimately display in the catalog. Then, it’s the expertise of the cataloger to get the message into the hands of the correct buyer to make the sale.”
A customer such as a major university account is big business: It could easily spend $50,000 to $100,000 on outfitting an entire campus with new receptacles. United offers all its customers “have it your way” customizable options, for example, different colors, or the addition of school or corporate logos.