While all businesses measure sales and revenue, very few measure one of the key drivers of both metrics—the quality of their business-to-business partnerships. Meaningful relationships between suppliers and wholesalers allow both parties to pivot quickly and effectively in a rapidly changing world. This consideration and agility enable them to identify and serve emerging opportunities faster than the competition.
But building engaged partnerships requires a core commitment to listening and responding with empathy. It requires a more in-depth, unbiased understanding of your partner’s needs so that you can work toward your company’s objectives while seeing how helping your partner achieve their goals is a benefit to you.
For wholesalers, in particular, the act of providing feedback to suppliers can make or break the relationship between them and their end consumer, as good supplier relationships allow wholesalers to increase the speed, volume, and diversity of the products they offer to retailers.
Consider these four tips for driving mutual success within your supplier and wholesaler relationships:
1. Expect complexity
B2B relationships are complex. Where B2C relationships are built on a simple product dynamic, B2B relationships are built around the many moving parts of internal politics, individual ambitions, and financial incentives. When looking to improve B2B relationships it’s vital that you don’t underestimate the complexity of the landscape you’re working in.
2. Strategize Together
While wholesalers find comfort in local ways of doing business, there is so much opportunity to be gained from strategizing with suppliers, becoming more than simply transactional customers. This alliance requires two-way communication, with both partners sharing feedback, learnings, and news ongoingly.
3. Narrow your focus
For suppliers and wholesalers alike, it’s important to focus on the relationship as its own metric. During any feedback or listening session, think of the relationship as the primary metric, not a secondary metric to sales and revenue. If you focus on bettering the relationship, pathways to improving sales and revenue will follow.
4. Collect and provide feedback confidentially
All feedback should be collected and provided confidentially, ideally through an experienced third party that will examine and provide you with recommendations objectively. At Advantage Group, our over 30 years of experience in over 40 countries worldwide have shown us that guaranteeing confidentiality breeds confidence and honesty—both of which allow suppliers and wholesalers to foster more meaningful and mutually beneficial relationships.
These four tips provide a solid foundation for strengthening supplier and wholesaler partnerships and maximizing their potential. When applied to how you interact with your partners and how you provide feedback, you’ll quickly find that improvements across your business follow.
Read more here to learn more about how our B2B engagement programs strengthen supplier partnerships.