Delivering for Best-in-Class Wholesaler-Distributors
J. Michael Marks, NAW Institute for Distribution Excellence Fellow J. Michael Marks is Managing Partner of Indian River Consulting Group (IRCG). He became a NAW Institute for Distribution Excellence Fellow in 2002. IRCG is an experience-driven firm that continues to focus on the wholesale distribution channel. Prior to forming IRCG, Mike held the position of Executive Vice President at Lex Electronics, a vertically integrated electronics distributor. Prior to that, he was Director of Corporate Training and Development at Ducommon Inc., an industrial distribution company.

Leading the Sales Team into a New Normal – Value Creation Strategy #12

The pandemic is affecting the ways in which many distributors operate — especially how sales teams sell. Distributors have an opportunity right now to rethink their sales structures to innovate, despite this being a trying time. To do that, we must be curious about what the new normal looks like, return to a few fundamentals, [...]

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Stress Testing and Strategic Cost Reduction During the Pandemic – Value Creation Strategy #11

We’ve been tracking weekly sales in our Pandemic Revenue Index, in which distributors are reporting double-digit declines week over week. A lot of distribution companies have been handling the COVID-19 crisis moment to moment, with barely a chance to catch their breath. Despite the frenzied activity, distributors can put guardrails around their next steps to [...]

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Staying Competitive in the Face of Disruption – Value Creation Strategy #10

Many distributors have been doing things the same way for years. In some cases, what worked then still works now. Yet, part of preparing for the future is preparing for the unexpected — whether that is economic volatility or other industry disruption, such as the Coronavirus. There are three kinds of information. Facts, informed opinions [...]

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Winning in a Post-Amazon World – Value Creation Strategy #9

Many distributors think they need to look like Amazon to compete in today’s market. After all, more than 197 million people visit Amazon every month to shop the more than 12 million products available, according to BigCommerce. But just because Amazon is a household name doesn’t mean that distributors need to emulate its every move [...]

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Fight Complacency to Win Today – Value Creation Strategy #8

It's 2019 and more than 197 million people visit Amazon each month to browse more than 12 million products, according to BigCommerce. The numbers go up every day. But distributors don’t need to be afraid of Amazon. They need to innovate and sell to customers the way today’s customers want to buy. It’s that simple. [...]

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How to Unlock Profitable Growth in Today’s Market – Value Creation Strategy #7

For many distributors, growth has been stagnant. The question is — why? Partly because of their sales-oriented mentality, a senior executive may hear responses such as “we need to hire more sales reps” or “increase sales calls.” However, the real solution to market access is understanding what’s occurring in your markets and responding appropriately. It’s [...]

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Distributors: Listen Up If You Want to Beat Amazon – Value Creation Strategy #6

Most distributors think they know their customers, until they actually talk to those customers. That is because wholesaler-distributors often operate in an echo chamber, talking to their sales team, but not to their customers. Distributors in an echo chamber don't measure anything, so they don't understand what is working and what isn't. They also focus [...]

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Your Channel Partners Are Talking. Are You Listening? – Value Creation Strategy #5

They may never share a romantic candlelight dinner, but distributors and manufacturers who are united in a supply chain are certainly in a relationship. And in channel relationships, as with any other kind, the key to success can be summed up in one word: communication. Sounds simple. But, as in any relationship, communication between distributors [...]

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The Best Strategy for Staying Competitive: Be Proactive – Value Creation Strategy #4

Rumors of wholesale distribution’s death have been greatly exaggerated for quite a while. A decade ago, it was the Internet that was going to kill distribution. Now, it’s Amazon. If you’ve been in the business for a while, you know there will always be something hanging over the industry like a big dark cloud. But [...]

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5 Ways to Be More Valuable to Customers Without Cutting Prices – Value Creation Strategy #3

Ask your customers how you can provide more value, and most of them will automatically think of price cuts and discounts. But distributors are increasingly realizing there are other ways, from service to cost savings, that provide value but don’t chip away at margins. What’s more, I would argue that these alternatives provide greater value [...]

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