Delivering for Best-in-Class Wholesaler-Distributors

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 remote working and online ordering. However, the [...]

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 behaviors are [...]

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 that the COVID-19 pandemic will result in a shift to customers [...]

How to Improve Digital Sales During Coronavirus – Leveraging the Power of AI #14

– Coronavirus has thoroughly disrupted the sales processes for distributors. Not only have customer demands changed, but the process of selling has also been transformed. Social distancing has forced an accelerated digitization upon distributors. Suddenly, businesses that relied heavily on personal interactions and skilled outside sales reps are unarmed. Meanwhile, inside sales, customer [...]

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 employees know it. The role of first-line managers shifts from [...]

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 recover, a new normal will [...]

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 and guesses. The worst case is when everyone [...]

Which Multi-Trillion Dollar Opportunity Should You Pursue? – Leveraging the Power of AI #13

Digital marketplaces were a major theme at the recent NAW Executive Summit, and for good reason; B2B marketplaces are predicted to be a $3.6 trillion boon for distributors in the next few years. This new opportunity is certainly good for distributors, but it does make action even harder. How can AI, e-commerce and marketplaces all be multi-trillion dollar opportunities? Further, which one [...]

Sabotage Outsider Disruption by Turbocharging Communities – Distributors in the Digital Era #77

Distributors may avoid outsider disruption by being human, but only if they make concrete plans to work with customers where they live and work — in communities. A new mindset is required. Segmenting customers is about selling. Serving communities is about collaborating. Relationships are built on trust, and at its core, building trust is a very human endeavor. As distributors transform [...]

Why Setting SMART Goals with Your Employees Is the Way to Go – Developing Your Workforce #20

In NAW's Optimizing Human Capital Development: A Distributor’s Guide to Building a Sustainable Competitive Advantage Through Talent Strategy, my coauthors and I talked about how goal setting is directly linked to profit, performance and productivity. When goals are well set, they can provide guidance and direction facilitate planning motivate and inspire employees assist with [...]