We all know the business reasons to sell through multi-line manufacturers’ reps. Things like these:
- Reps are known and trusted resources for customers in their local territories.
- Reps help manufacturers avoid fixed costs, like salaries and benefits, of direct salespeople.
- Reps tend to remain in their territories and work with the same customers for decades, while direct salespeople tend to relocate every few years.
But here’s a new reason to sell through reps: Multi-line reps are fantastic for the environment!
Let me explain. Multi-line reps tend to cover two to three manufacturers’ products during each sales call. If separate direct single-line salespeople had to be sent to call on those same customers to cover the same topics, it would take two to three times the number of single-line salespeople, each working for a single manufacturer and driving their own vehicle.
What happens if twice the number of salespeople and twice the number of vehicles make those same sales calls? If the average salesperson drives 50,000 miles annually, then every time one multi-line rep is replaced by two single-line direct salespeople, it means an extra 50,000 vehicle miles.
The average passenger vehicle emits 404 grams CO2 per mile.1 So, 50,000 extra vehicle miles means 20,200 kilograms more CO2 in the atmosphere annually.
But there is more! Single-line direct salespeople tend to fly more air miles than multi-line reps, perhaps 20,000 miles a year. So, the two single-line direct salespeople in our example would also add 40,000 air miles that would not be flown by multi-line reps. The average commercial airliner emits 184 grams of CO2 per passenger mile,2 so that’s 7,360 additional kilograms of CO2 emissions.
Total environmental impact: 27,560 kilograms of CO2 emissions. That’s 60,760 pounds. Roughly 30 tons. About the same as losing 12 acres of new forest.3
So, selling through reps is not just fiscally responsible, it’s environmentally responsible too! Why would you go to market any other way?