Chemical distributors need to up their game: 4 things to do today

12 March 2021

Chemical distributors can no longer rely solely on their principal manufacturers for marketing content and collateral. Here are 4 things to do today to up your game.

By Kompass International

12 March 2021

With a lion share of 23.6% of global chemical sales, China is a world leader pushing innovation in the chemical industry, followed by the EU, with 23.4% global sales.

How business is conducted worldwide is changing. Chemical distributors have to change with the times or face becoming irrelevant. What are chemical distributors doing to improve their B2B marketing effectiveness? How can chemical distributors of all sizes benefit from following their example?

This article will take a closer look at how the chemical distribution industry is changing. We will discuss how to improve B2B sales in an increasingly competitive global market. Keep reading to create wider profit margins and boost your B2B chemical product sales.

Better B2B for chemical distributors

Before the days of modern digital technology, chemical distribution companies relied solely on smooth-talking traveling salespersons to solidify their B2B marketplace sales and develop long-standing customer relationships.

B2B marketing in 2020 and beyond still has a human element. But, businesses are increasingly demanding a digital means of learning about products before reaching out to distributors.

As this information and education on chemical products become more widely available online, the industry sees leaps in manufacturing and linguistics innovation. Let us explain.

1. Leverage eCommerce and digital prospecting

Although the COVID-19 pandemic is responsible for slowing down the world’s economy, e-commerce has accelerated with $82.5 billion in sales for May 2020, a 77% increase from the same time last year.

Kompass understands the importance of implementing an online strategy to grow a business’s strategic market share. Analyze, target, engage, and close sales with our ultimate global B2B prospecting solution, EasyBusiness.

Digital marketing provides more product exposure.

B2B companies have long avoided using eCommerce as their primary means of chemical marketing. They fear losing the intimacy of direct contact with their customers through phone calls and in-person meetings.

Equally important to improving client acquisition is leveraging sales intelligence tools to present sales material digitally on the company and partner websites. While in-person meetings with prospective clients are effective, you and your team can only be in one place at once. Marketing a sales presentation online has the potential to reach thousands of companies around the world 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Advantages of adding eCommerce chemical marketing strategy

With buyers increasingly researching and contacting companies through eCommerce and B2B Marketplaces and platforms like, chemical distributors can no longer afford not to be listed. The advantages of using eCommerce in B2B marketing include:

  • Integration with proven and trusted product distribution linguistics
  • Built-in web app development and eCommerce design and development
  • Ability to manage distribution directly, lowering the cost of warehousing and reshipping of chemical products
  • Systems and CMS integration (ERP, CRM, Amazon, WordPress, Joomla, etc.)

The chemical industry is uniquely suited for strategic eCommerce platforms and B2B Global Marketplaces because of the wide range of products fragmented further into any number of niches. Customer Relations Management is as essential now as it has ever been. These days digital marketing of chemical products sees prominence. Look for this trend to continue and gain more momentum in the future.

2. Understand megatrends in the industry

As you might have already suspected, the megatrends in the chemical manufacturing and distribution industry are almost all technologically based. Here are a few of the technologies that are being adopted by companies to stay ahead of the curve:

  • Sophisticated AI software to analyze chemical makeup and find new formulas
  • IoT sensors to monitor temperature, location, and vitals of shipments
  • Advanced robotics and the age of 3-D printing in manufacturing chemical products
  • Innovations in energy production and consumption lowering cost and meeting sustainability goals of the circular economy of nations

Digitalization and automation of more and more processes involved in the manufacturing and distributing chemicals are driving down production and logistics costs. Chemical distributors that fail to implement these cost-saving technologies will not compete in the long-term.

3. Use technology to improve research and development

The chemical industry accounts for a significant share of patents awarded with 99 billion invested in R&D in 2017. Developing new chemicals and improving on existing chemical processes remains primarily lab-based.

Performing lab-based experiments on chemicals to document the behavior of chemicals in a wide range of environments and conditions is a time consuming and expensive proposition.

The ever-increasing computing power of modern cloud-based systems is, for the first time, reducing the amount of time and money it takes to develop chemical products. At the center of this new strategy is the so-called ‘material informatics.’

Massive databases are being created on material science in open online digital platforms. These platforms make more vast amounts of information on accumulative knowledge of materials and chemicals available in a searchable format ever. Researchers can find and use these treasure troves of data to reduce and even eliminate the need for independent lab study.

4. Realize the importance of innovation

Chemical manufacturers need to rely less on existing business models of predominately R&D intensity to track innovation performance. This one size fits all approach to innovation matrixes isn’t going to cut it moving into the future.

Now and increasingly, chemical distribution will rely on multiple factors in measuring innovation in the future. These are a few of the new strategies for innovation chemical companies need to incorporate in their business models:

  • Focus on advanced digital technologies in the manufacturing process and distribution logistics
  • More extensive strategic partnerships, including innovation centers of excellence (CoEs)
  • Increasing the ability to leverage customer feedback through real-time customer engagement tools
  • Strengthening leadership support with formal training and higher budgets to drive innovation

Innovation creates new products and new revenue sources for chemical companies. Innovation in the manufacturing process gives a company advantages over the competition by making faster, cheaper, and higher quality products.

Lastly, innovation in the packaging and shipping of chemicals worldwide further enforces strong B2B marketing with faster and safer delivery. Innovation drives progress in the industry, and chemical distributors first in innovation will naturally be in chemical marketing.

Change is the only constant.

The chemical industry, much like all things under the sun, will continue to grow, change, and adapt to these modern times of daily advances in technology. Chemical distributors that remain flexible in their business models find themselves able to overcome challenges and maintain that all-important competitive edge.

For more, check out this infographic and market study on the latest chemical, plastics, and pharmaceuticals global business trends.


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