Five Steps To Follow When Implementing Connect For Distributors Solutions
Deciding to use new solutions to grow your business is an easy choice. Planning a seamless rollout of those solutions requires some thinking with support from readily available experts.
July 21, 2022
Encompass has helped 280 distributors (and counting!) successfully launch Connect for Distributors solutions like DSDLink, PayLink, and Retail Insights.
These solutions enable tier-to-tier automation with advanced reporting, predictive forecasting, and eCommerce. Additionally, each solution easily integrates with any ERP and can either be used individually or together.
The decision to move forward with a new solution that benefits a business is often the easiest part; however, the steps that come after that are the most important aspects of successfully launching new solutions to help your business grow.
By being an involved partner from the decision, all the way to rollout and execution, the Encompass team discovered the five most important considerations to think through so you can reap the benefits of our software solutions faster.
Important keys to consider for your Connect for Distributors solution rollout:
1. Lead With Why
Cloud-based product solutions with a purpose are easier to integrate and navigate for all those involved in their implementation and use. Encompass experts work with you to answer the following questions so you're prepared to share the "why" behind the work with anyone who may wonder.
Where are you now?
What frustrations do you have? What’s causing you to waste time?
Where do you want to go?
Do you want to be more data-driven? Do you want to make ordering easier for retailers?
How are you getting there?
What software solutions are available that work with your ERP? What level of support do you want throughout the process?
Once we’ve determined the answers to those questions with you, you will have an alignment of strategy and a solid foundational story to share with others who may be involved in the rollout process.
Solutions designed for our industry are much easier to maneuver and deploy, especially when it comes to creating and aligning plans.
2. Get Sales Team Buy-In, Early And Often
Change is daunting, but when ‘the why’ is effectively communicated and your team feels supported with the right material, the path to complete adoption becomes streamlined.
Implementing a new tool or adopting a change in an organization creates concern for the groups it impacts. Sales representatives may worry about job safety. The IT team may be concerned about the workload they’ll need to tackle. Everyone has a story of concern – and that’s okay.
Once you expertly share your story of why the change is happening, you can refocus your energy toward getting teams excited about the change and craft talking points for each audience on how they will actually benefit from the new solution(s).
For example, you can share with sales representatives that 75% of the time they’ve spent on manual processes can now be invested in selling products and growing their accounts with the use of Connect for Distributor solutions.
It’s critical to work with a software provider that gives you the material and support you need to communicate the change to your team, stakeholders, and customers - and offers you 24/7 support along the way.
3. Focus On Accounts, Not Launches
From our experience working with distributors, soft launches of impactful solutions rarely work. What does work is when wholesalers create target lists and focus on those accounts first.
Ex: Begin with stores based on profit margins
When adopting new technology, it’s important to create a thorough plan that includes a detailed timeline and measurable goals. That likely sounds like work, so that’s why the Encompass team is available to help your organization create an account-based rollout plan custom to your organization’s needs and priorities, step by step.
Encompass’s eCommerce Implementation Consultant, Kirk Carter, has 30 years of experience working for beverage distributors, and has held roles in the warehouse all the way to VP of Operations. His firsthand experience with Encompass - and DSDLink, for example - allows him to put himself in the shoes of distributors to guide them through the implementation process. If you’d like to connect with Kirk and pick his brain about the process, you can send him an email at Kirk.Carter@EncompassTech.com.
4. Dial In Your Training Program
At this point, you have your story, your stakeholders, and your setup figured out. Now it’s time to prepare yourself for training and educating those who will be hands-on with the solutions. Successful training programs focus on:
How the sales rep role is evolving into a more consultative role.
Brainstorm with your sales reps how they can use data to inform and inspire retailer orders.
In-depth training on the technology itself.
Share Encompass’s solution-focused webinars with the sales team.
Enabling the team to communicate the value of the solution to their accounts effectively.
Provide sales representatives with sales enablement material like these DSDLink, PayLink, and Retail Insights one-pagers.
Encompass provides all the necessary resources to inspire and equip your team, both in-person and digitally. Resources include on-site training, webinars, collateral, tutorial videos, and more. We're a call away if there's anything else you may need!
5. Ensure Expert Execution
Once your team has been trained and enabled, they can begin to focus their efforts on their specific accounts, and you can measure success in the process. Keeping reps accountable with incentives, friendly competition, and even just verbal encouragement can help drive results. Encompass also has a variety of team members with distributor and retailer experience to help you achieve a successful adoption rollout.
Jeff Woody, Encompass’s Retail Insights Field Representative, focuses on ‘boots on the ground’ efforts and does distributor ride-alongs to facilitate valuable conversations between distributors and retailers to help drive retail adoption. Jeff has 12 years of experience in the food and beverage industry, working for corporate and independent catering companies, and as an AB wholesaler in both operation and sales roles. If you’d like to connect with Jeff, you can send him an email at Jeff.Woody@EncompassTech.com.
Let's Work Together
Connect for Distributors solutions drive business growth with access to live inventory insights, a retailer-specific self-ordering platform, and simplified payment processing.
If you have any questions or need someone’s brain to pick along your rollout process, we encourage you to contact us at (970) 449-8000. For existing customers, you can also submit a support request.