Anyone can recruit distributors. Building a successful distribution network is a different story. Selecting the right distributors and ensuring they’re properly motivated to sell is a complex endeavor, but this resource will help you do just that. Remember: no one is too small to be global, but success requires more than reach.

Report: 2011 Life Science Manufacturer-Distributor Relationship Report

What are the biggest inhibitors to the success of supplier-distributor relationships in the life sciences? Where are the largest opportunities for improvement? What are common reasons for failure in life science distribution partnerships? What are the most important factors in the success of manufacturer-distributor relationships?

These are all important questions, but until this 2011 report all anyone had to go on was personal experience and anecdotes. We surveyed 47 manufacturers and 35 distributors of life science tools in order to answer these questions objectively with good, hard data. Regardless of if your company is a supplier, distributor, or both, if you’re looking to improve your relationships with channel partners you should make reading this report a priority.
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Blog Posts

  • The Plight of the Distributor

    Let’s be frank: if you are a laboratory products distributor, you have a ton of competition. With inexpensive digital marketing at anyone’s fingertips and drop-shipping increasing in prevalence, it’s incredibly easy for almost anyone to start a distribution company with little up-front investment. As the laws of economics would predict, if something is cheap and easy, lots of people...

    17th Feb 16 | continue reading
  • Why MAPs Are Good Business

    I’ve heard a number of manufacturers say that online sales are “a race to the bottom.” That’s a bit like hearing a dinosaur tell you that being warm blooded is overrated. While online sales certainly aren’t right for all types of products, e-commerce often provides a superior experience for purchasers – usually because it’s easier and faster. Research from...

    10th Sep 15 | continue reading
  • Case: Distributor Incentives

    Case studies from BioBM are fictionalized, although the situations are faced by leaders at real companies. LabTherm, a small, US-based manufacturer of laboratory incubators and ovens, had developed a proprietary heating technology that allowed them to provide a very high degree of temperature accuracy and uniformity more inexpensively than other high-end manufacturers. While they had a price advantage compared...

    25th Sep 14 | continue reading
  • Distributor Selection

    Having worked with a large number of manufacturers, it seems that there’s almost as many different processes to grow distribution networks as there are companies looking for distribution. However, there does seem to be one method that’s all too frequent: find a distributor that’s “good enough” and run with it. This admittedly sounds counter-intuitive – after all, why would...

    6th Mar 14 | continue reading
  • Motivating Your Distributors

    Last week, we discussed how the key to a distributor successfully selling a given product line (from the supplier’s standpoint) is how motivated they are to carry, promote, and sell the line. There is simply no substitute for effort. The responsibility for maintaining the motivation to put in that effort, however does not fall solely on the distributor. As...

    25th Jul 13 | continue reading
  • Qualities in a Distributor

    We find that life science companies have very different ideas of what qualities are most important when looking to partner with a distributor. Some focus on the size of the sales force, some focus on technical / scientific expertise, some focus on complementary products (or lack of competing products) in the distributor’s product offerings, some focus on the extent...

    18th Jul 13 | continue reading
  • Amazon Supply’s Positioning

    Amazon Supply has been making some waves in the laboratory products market since they got into what they refer to as “Lab & Scientific Products”. A lot of manufacturers have asked us what we think about their entry into the market and we have generally responded anecdotally that it’s most likely an extension of their current business model: Sell...

    3rd Oct 12 | continue reading
  • Distributors: Not for Marketing

    Many life science tools manufacturers, especially smaller companies, have a tendency to push a lot of marketing responsibility on to their distributors. In most such cases, the manufacturer often retains some broad marketing responsibilities which are usually focused on branding or awareness (for example, advertising in scientific journals or websites) and leaves their distributors responsible for most or all...

    21st Jun 12 | continue reading
  • Trust and Risk

    Trust is extremely important in life science business relationships (and business relationships in general). I don’t have to ask you to take my word for it, though. According to the sentiment of more than 80 life science manufacturers and distributors who took our 2011 life science distribution survey, trust is the most important factor in distribution relationships according to...

    14th Dec 11 | continue reading
  • Attorneys vs. Business

    Last week my father, who is a real estate broker and an attorney, was telling me about a real estate deal that he was working on. The buyer and seller had initially been in relatively good agreement but the seller’s attorney continuously advised his client to take an increasingly risk-averse position, thereby making the deal more one-sided and threatening...

    5th Oct 11 | continue reading