If you've ever tried to land wholesale accounts for your company, you know how annoying it can be to receive only negative responses to your emails and pitches. It can feel like you're getting slammed in the face over and over again, and it can make you want to give up completely. Let’s try to understand how to increase your chances of getting a “YES” from wholesale buyers, and how to keep them happy.
Whether you are an established CPG business or new to the wholesale game, Q4 is usually a bad period, especially in the food and beverage industry, to sign new buyers unless you sell seasonal products.
October officially marks the beginning of Q4 and preparations for holiday season with Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s all running at full speed. For wholesale buyers, it’s one of the busiest periods with almost no breaks between the holidays - and it requires their full attention and expertise to make accurate projections as to how much to sell this year to avoid potential spoilage. No wonder they don’t respond to your emails at least till January – so pitching them October through January is generally a very bad idea and a total waste of time.
However, not pitching wholesale buyers during Q4 doesn’t mean you should be sitting back and watching sales drop. There’s a lot going on behind the scenes during this period, and it’s the best time to start planning your sales materials, sales pitch and strategy to catch buyers’ attention the moment the holiday season is over.
Landing new wholesale accounts is vital to any CPG business success, but it’s an extremely tedious process and involves lots of phone calls and email follow-ups. In a nutshell, buyers want to know what you are selling and how they are getting the products. More specifically, the buyers need to know every single detail of how they are placing the orders and how they are receiving them. B2B buyers often ask the questions below directly:
1. What is your case count?
2. Can you do mixed cases?
3. What is your minimum order?
4. Which days do you deliver? Turnaround time? Lead time?
5. Do you do urgent deliveries? Rushed deliveries during holidays?
6. How to place orders: by fax, email, phone, online portal?
7. Do you have a mobile app to place orders?
8. What is the price list?
9. Does your price list include delivery? If not, can you waive it for me?
10. What discounts do you offer?
11. What is your promotional schedule?
12. What are your payment terms?
13. What payment types do you have?
14. Do you provide samples?
15. How do I return products?
16. Do you have a digital catalog?
Every day, wholesale buyers will receive hundreds, if not thousands, of presentations or PDFs which will jam up their inbox. And it’s quite understandable they don’t have time for back-and-forth questions and can’t wait for you to get back to them with more details.
All the information should ideally be presented to a buyer the first time around, so that they don’t have to respond and ask all these questions. Line or sell sheets have assisted CPG founders in converting prospects, educating current clients, and promoting less popular products. Sell sheets usually include product images and information like descriptions, promotions, shipping and prices.
Let’s assume you succeeded in landing new wholesale accounts after being rejected several times, not getting responses for a long time, changing your pricing lists and payment terms. What next? Can you relax? Not really, as the trial period is known for its extremely high churn and keeping your newly landed accounts happy is paramount. It typically costs 5 times as much to gain a new customer as it does to keep an existing one. A partial list below is what will assist your wholesale buyers in making the best decisions possible at the right time and becoming more productive:
- Provide buyers with your own private-label B2B eCommerce mobile app to easily place orders on the go
- Provide ‘one-click’ product filters to easily access certain items or item categories within your catalogs such as "Special Offers," "New Arrivals," "Seasonal Products" and much more
- Provide buyers with their order history to easily recreate previous purchases
- Let buyers create Favorites and Wish-lists
- Let buyers search products by category, sub-category and any combination of product attributes
- Accept multiple payment methods
- Display cut-off times and delivery times
- Display real-time inventory levels and maximum order limitation
- Have a wide choice of promotions including “Mix and Match”, “Bonus”, “End of Order”, “New Customer” and so on
Landing new wholesale accounts can help you increase your bottom line profitability, expand your distribution and exposure in new regions, define where you want to be, clarify your options, and establish partnerships throughout the industry. However, thinking of pitches and sell sheets as a main sales strategy on your way to signing new wholesales accounts won’t yield results in a long run. Take advantage of Q4 to build a truly omnichannel digital strategy to differentiate your brand from competitors and to keep your wholesale accounts happy.