Delivering for Best-in-Class Wholesaler-Distributors
Mark Dancer founded the Network for Business Innovation to drive awareness, advocacy and excellence for B2B innovation, and to enable an exchange of ideas between leaders on business transformation, technology adoption, social impact and community engagement. For more than 30 years, Mark has worked with leading companies to achieve go-to-market excellence across a wide range of industries in developed and emerging markets.

Are Your Managers Managing Your Culture? – Distributors in the Digital Era #87

I’ve learned from many distributor leaders that a company’s culture is determined not only by its values, but by the particular employee behaviors that are most aligned with achieving its ideals. A positive, well-managed culture will drive productivity, reinforce customer experiences and enable innovations. A negative culture, however, can kill strategic initiatives and demolish returns [...]

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Are You Innovating with One Arm Tied Behind Your Back? – Distributors in the Digital Era #86

As some distributor leaders drive their businesses to offer unique customer experiences, enabled by new operating models, they are finding that their company’s traditional knowledge and skills are coming up short. Leading-edge distributors already know this, and so they are competing on continual innovations and embracing the practice of building an innovation ecosystem, which consists [...]

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Are Distributors Learning from Retail’s E-Commerce Transformation? – Distributors in the Digital Era #85

In many ways, the impact of digital transformation and disruption on the retail industry is ahead of similar changes happening in distribution. Distributors can learn from retail and then upgrade their strategies and operational plans to be better prepared for changes that are certain to come. Distributors that fail to learn from retail’s transformation risk [...]

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Announcing the NAW Podcast Series: INNOVATE TO DOMINATE – Distributors in the Digital Era #84

One of the most important findings in the book I wrote for NAW, Innovate to Dominate: The 12th Edition in the Facing the Forces of Change® Series, is that “distributors won't go far by going it alone.” In the digital age, the battle for customers is not just about putting up a webstore or leveraging [...]

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Distributors Are Innovating, But Are Manufacturers Paying Attention? – Distributors in the Digital Era #83

Distributors are a strategic go-to-market asset for manufacturers and many are stepping up to reinvent the traditional distribution business model for the digital age. My recent conversations with manufacturers indicate that many suppliers have not noticed, and very few have actively engaged with, even their most influential distributor partners. The partnership between distributors and manufacturers [...]

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Offering Virtual over Human Services Is a False Choice – Distributors in the Digital Era #82

As distributors imagine business after the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a growing consensus that the crisis will lock in a trend toward customer preferences for virtual experiences. While a sustained shift in buying habits is very likely, that outcome does not reflect the full impact on the future of business. Yes, social distancing has forced [...]

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Unbundle and Rebuild Your Sales Force – Distributors in the Digital Era #81

Many distributors are reporting that the Coronavirus crisis is leading to an increase in online ordering and virtual interactions with their customer service reps and inside salespeople. As this trend takes root, it may shift customer interactions away from a distributor’s field salespeople. As a result, salespeople may be defensive or uncomfortable. However, if customer [...]

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Distributors Must Lead to the New Normal – Distributors in the Digital Era #80

The conduct of business will change as the Coronavirus crisis recedes, but it’s too early to know the new normal with certainty. Just as first reporting in any emergency often proves to be inaccurate and wrong, so too may early predictions about a new normal for doing business miss the mark. It’s easy to accept [...]

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Empower Your First-Line Managers to Survive a Crisis – Distributors in the Digital Era #79

The defining characteristic of a crisis is uncertainty. First-line managers are a powerful force for surviving a crisis, but only if leaders help them embrace a new role. Every employee wonders how long the crisis will last, which work is most important and if their job is secure. Leaders don’t have all the answers, and [...]

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Risk Prediction and Mitigation Are the New Normal – Distributors in the Digital Era #78

The hard truth about the Coronavirus is that extreme, unexpected events are becoming an essential new requirement of effective supply chain planning. In the current crisis, distributors are doing the crucial work of delivering critical products to essential businesses. As the virus peaks, distributors will play a leading role in rebooting our economy. As industries [...]

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