Delivering for Best-in-Class Wholesaler-Distributors

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 [...]

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 [...]