Due to the increased domination of industrial sales channels by distributors, suppliers must develop strong relationships with industrial distributors in order to succeed in new markets. Initiating partnering relationships with distributors in new markets, however, entails significant risks and commitments with the prospect of substantial long‐term rewards. To help suppliers assess and select distributor partners, this study focuses on the starting‐point of the relationship by exploring industrial distributors' expectations of benefits. A nationwide survey of US industrial distributors showed that distributors expect financial and competitive differentiation benefits with greater differentiation benefits inferred to lead to fewer financial benefits. Several observable distributor characteristics can be used by suppliers to conduct preliminary assessments of distributor expectations and thereby prepare for a healthy future relationship.
Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing – Emerald Publishing
Published: Dec 1, 2004
Keywords: Distributors; Channel relationships; Supplier relations
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