Delivering for Best-in-Class Wholesaler-Distributors

Why Distributors Must Become Strategic Marketers – Distributors in the Digital Era #56

Looking ahead to the coming connected world, consider a scenario in which all transactions are digital. Orders are received from a variety of virtual channels including a distributor’s online store and mobile apps, as well as customer e-procurement platforms and online marketplaces. Data transparency is nearly ubiquitous. Suppliers, distributors and customers succeed on what they do with [...]

Is Your Webstore an Imitation or an Innovation? – Distributors in the Digital Era #55

In my last post, Invent Zero-step Distribution to Save the Value Chain, I argued that distributors must invent "zero-step" distribution to save their value chains. My logic is that out-of-the-box innovations are essential if incumbent value chains are to remain a viable and valued source for customers. This is true, because the business model of many disruptive marketplaces is all about [...]

Let Your Employees Surprise You! – Developing Your Workforce #8

Have you ever been described as a "micro-manager" or "control freak"? Are you the type of leader who needs to have a final say in every decision, big or small? Do you feel the need to protect "your turf"? If you can relate to any of these questions, then it’s time for you to rethink your leadership style. At the time Gary Garfield became the CEO of one of the world’s largest [...]

From Purpose to Performance: Lessons for Distribution Leaders – Developing Your Workforce #7

As a distribution leader, have you ever wondered about the following questions? How do I prevent people from just “going through the motions” at work? How do I get people to devote more of themselves to work? How do I motivate people to take initiative in their jobs? How do I get people to perform to their full potential? Every CEO wants to have a more committed [...]

Invent Zero-step Distribution to Save the Value Chain – Distributors in the Digital Era #54

Many distributors are striving to transform their business to fend off the threat of disruption by virtual marketplaces and other new players. In doing so, distributor leaders are looking to the future as they leverage digital tools to offer new customer experiences and dramatically improve their operating efficiencies, sales productivity and marketing effectiveness. These efforts are [...]

New Technology and New Thinking Can Help Your Team Sell Smarter – Value Creation Strategy #2

Last month, I talked about how often outside sales reps should call on existing customers. The answer largely depends on two things: whether there is opportunity for increasing sales to that customer, and how often that customer wants to see a sales rep. Both of those factors are evolving along with our rapidly changing marketplace. But while it may be a sound business decision to [...]

Chairman’s Column: Attract, Train, Challenge!

What does it take to win in the digital game? I have pondered this question for more than a decade. There are more questions: What does the organization look like that will prevail in the digital arena? How does a CEO develop a vision for the future, when that future is charging toward a new competitive framework that is rapidly changing and requires flexibility and quick response? How does a CEO [...]

Which Talent Strategy Has Your Company Adopted? – Developing Your Workforce #6

Your company's talent strategy is directly affected by your perceptions of people — people as capital, people as resources, people as talent, and people as cost. Below are six types of talent strategies, what my coauthors, Barry Lawrence and Bharani Nagarathnam, and I call the 6 Bs, which are rooted in different propositions: Buy, Build, Borrow, Bounce, Bind, and Boost. They come from our [...]

Can Gig Technician Services Pay Distributors for Value? – Distributors in the Digital Era #53

When it comes to getting compensated for value, there is a massive elephant in the room — distributors are in the wrong business. Or, more accurately, they have the wrong business model. Distributors are service companies built around a business model designed to sell products. Customers buy products and reap value created by distributor services for free. Granted, distributors attempt to [...]

How Often Should Sales Reps Call on Customers? – Value Creation Strategy #1

How frequently should sales reps call on existing customers? It's a good question, because most distributors we've worked with are investing $75 or $80 per sales call once they account for all expenses associated with hiring, training, managing, transporting, supporting and compensating an outside sales rep. In some ways, though, this question misses the mark by assuming that outside [...]