SSP Fittings manufactures high performance fluid connectors. Full-time sales representatives, employed by SSP’s 30 Affiliate Distributors and 750 other distribution firms, sell the connectors.
SSP initiated a channeled distribution system and cut the number of direct distributors from 750 to 30. As part of this effort, the company required the 30 Affiliate Distributors, who typically carry dozens of product lines, to maintain higher inventory levels and provide a more focused effort on selling SSP products. In return, SSP pledged to provide high-level support, including product education and sales skills development.
To fulfill this promise, SSP engaged Avatar to create a comprehensive curriculum. The curriculum would teach all aspects of B2B sales (within their niche), as well as product education. Avatar applied a blended approach to curriculum design and created several on-line product education courses, coupled with instructor-led workshops, reference materials, catalogs, troubleshooting instructions and other collateral.
The initial project focused on sales skills and building product demonstration kits. It took approximately six months to complete. The second major wave, on-line product educational courses, is still underway after six months. While 12 courses are now posted, it will probably continue for several more months. The client views this as an on-going, dynamic effort.
The client has enjoyed continuous sales growth since engaging Avatar and is working with us years after our first engagement. Although they compete in a very tough market, they have been able to wrest market share away from their upstream competitors. The product education courses that are now being launched will further distance them from the purveyors of commodities with whom they compete.