2018 Top 50 Distributors: For Proforma, Relationships Are Top Priority
Each year, Promo Marketing compiles the Top 50 promotional products distributors into one comprehensive list. For a peek behind the curtain at how some of those tremendously successful companies work, we asked a few of them to share their thoughts on the promo industry, their plans for the future, what it takes to make the become (and stay) a top distributor, and more. Here, we profiled Proforma, No. 3 on the 2018 Top 50 Distributors list.
Proforma nabbed the No. 3 spot on this year’s list, with nearly $369 million in promotional products sales. We spoke to Greg Muzzillo, founder of Proforma, about industry acquisitions, the company’s future and outside competition facing promo companies.
Muzzillo offered some thoughts on the changing landscape of the promo industry, specifically the role of acquisitions moving forward. “As the industry starts to get ‘smaller,’ I believe the larger suppliers will want to do more business with the larger distributors,” he said. “As suppliers consolidate, they will be increasingly unwilling to serve as ‘venture capital’ for struggling distributors. It will be imperative for distributors to have size and buying power behind them to stay competitive.”
Proforma invested more than $10 million over the past several years to develop a new technology platform for Proforma owners that the company believes will create new efficiencies for owners and supplier partners. Muzzillo also outlined some of Proforma’s plans for the near future.
“We are excited to release a new program in 2018 called the Service Bureau Business Model,” he said. “This is a new bundle of distributor services exclusively for new member owners with sales ranging from $5 million to $50 million. We are currently talking with several diverse distributors with sales exceeding $30 million.”
“This service package caters specifically to the needs of these high-level owners, giving them premier access to Proforma’s new state-of-the-art technology platform and proprietary e-commerce solution, exclusive one-on-one meetings with the industry’s top suppliers, business development and marketing tools proven to attract top acquisition and sales representative prospects, and more,” he continued.
When asked about the threat of companies outside the supplier- distributor model—Vistaprint, Custom Ink, Amazon, etc.—Muzzillo weighed in on what industry distributors can do to stay competitive.
“We are in the relationship business,” he said. “It is becoming more important than ever before to be proactive in maintaining your client relationships. Think about how you would feel if you learned you were about to lose a relationship with one of your best clients. How would you react? Start doing those things now.”
As for Proforma, Muzzillo said its plan for continued success is simple: “Staying true to our mission, bringing on great people and building great relationships,” he said.
View the full 2018 Top 50 Distributors list here, or click here for stats, trends and analysis from the list. For more in this top distributors profiles series, click here to download a free PDF resource containing all six interviews.