Delivering for Best-in-Class Wholesaler-Distributors

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, keep a positive attitude to solve problems, stay relevant and [...]

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 being blindsided by predictable [...]

We’re Reminded of NAW’s Value to Our Industry During a Pandemic

Welcome to my first Chairman’s Column. I want to take this opportunity to focus your attention on what NAW has been working on these past three months of the pandemic. Since March 13, the association’s team, much like many organizations around the world, has been working from home. During these unprecedented times, the NAW staff continues to work tirelessly on behalf of our members, [...]

Know Your Customers From Afar – Leveraging the Power of AI #16

The COVID-19 pandemic has complicated the relationship between distributors and customers. Distributors’ sales processes have changed as travel and onsite visits have become all but impossible. Customer behavior has shifted within this new environment too. The combination of these factors means that distributors now face a unique and challenging puzzle: They must figure out how to make [...]

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 artificial intelligence for optimal pricing or effective selling. The real struggle is [...]

How to Leverage Sales Analytics for Successful Remote Selling – Driving Performance with Analytics #2

As distributors respond to COVID-19, they are noticing the limitations of traditional recessionary responses such as cost reduction and working capital preservation. These responses may not be optimal due to the inherent constraint of this recession: social distancing. This constraint directly affects face-to-face sales. Transitioning sales teams to work successfully in this new environment [...]

A Playbook for Distributors to SURGE Ahead Using Customer Stratification – Driving Performance with Analytics #1

Each of your customers brings value to your business. Some already provide a considerably high value that your business relies on, while others have significant potential that you haven’t fully tapped. Then there are the customers who cost more to serve than they provide in value. The question is: Do you know which customer is which? And are you adjusting your approach [...]

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 [...]

4 Ways AI Can Grow Business During COVID-19 – Leveraging the Power of AI #15

The United States is entering a new phase of crisis management. For the first time in weeks, restrictions are easing instead of intensifying. The economy is reopening. And for distributors, that means the biggest changes are yet to come. Many distributors have been on pause for the last few weeks. But, as businesses reopen, the competitive landscape will begin changing quickly. Some [...]

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 start to make the uncertain a [...]