Delivering for Best-in-Class Wholesaler-Distributors

Optimize Pricing and Improve Profitability – Intelligent Sales and Profit Acceleration #12

Marketplace pressures continue to evolve and change the competitive landscape, ranging from commoditization to eCommerce to the changing workforce. These factors are beginning to negatively impact the bottom line for many distributors. Distribution is traditionally a thin-margin business to begin with, so these new pressures are challenging many distributors. What is your company’s profitability outlook [...]

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The New Normal of Vendor Cost Increases – Intelligent Sales and Profit Acceleration #11

The current economic environment provides a once-in-a-generation window of opportunity for manufacturers and distributors to take pricing actions that boost profitability – significantly now and compounding into the future. Due to the overwhelming demand, supply-side constraints and monetary inflation, both manufacturers and distributors are experiencing an unprecedented frequency and magnitude of cost increases. Many vendors [...]

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Where Are You on Your Pricing Journey– Intelligent Sales and Profit Acceleration #10

Most distributors believe that their efforts of building home-grown pricing matrices amount to accomplishing strategic pricing, but they often experience only modest or flat or even declining (over time) profit improvements. Why? The truth is that strategic pricing isn’t a “yes” or “no” proposition. I’ll propose a new way to think of strategic pricing as [...]

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Migrate from Indiscriminate Order Taking to Strategic Market Making – Intelligent Sales and Profit Acceleration #9

Every day, in B2B businesses everywhere, salespeople are having conversations intended to produce current and future revenue and profitability. For the vast majority of these sellers, whom they spend their time with on any given day is largely an unplanned or reactive outcome. Most sellers don’t have clear insight into which customers produce the greatest [...]

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Understanding the Dynamic of Vendor Cost Supports – Intelligent Sales and Profit Acceleration #8

For distributors in many industries, receiving special cost support from their vendors is critical to winning price-sensitive, end-customer or project business while maintaining profitability. In industries such as electrical, plumbing/HVAC, automation, power transmission, vendors commonly provide distributors with lower costs than their everyday, standard into-stock (SIS) costs. These special lower cost levels are commonly delivered via Special Price Agreements (SPAs) or rebates. In many [...]

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Integrating Strategic Pricing to Optimize Profitable Growth – Intelligent Sales and Profit Acceleration #7

In my last article, I touched on strategic pricing by discussing the tension between sales and pricing. Strategic pricing for most manufacturers and distributors isn’t truly a mature discipline (witness the continuing reliance on Cost-Plus, endless pricing overrides and the neglect of contracts and customer-specific pricing agreements), but it’s stuck in a deadlock between sales [...]

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Resolving the Tension Between Sales and Pricing – Intelligent Sales and Profit Acceleration #6

Many distributors may consider strategic pricing to be a relatively mature opportunity because it’s been around for a few decades now. After all, lots of distributors have built pricing matrices, established controls and put pricing managers in place. While this may be the case, many still treat pricing as a checklist activity, without any intention [...]

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Product Expertise Isn’t Enough for B2B Buyers Anymore – Intelligent Sales and Profit Acceleration #5

It’s no secret that for years most distributors have neglected core sales skills training for their sellers. There are several reasons for this benign neglect of sales skills investment. First, historically, industrial B2B buyers didn’t necessarily need a highly skilled seller. Their purchases were largely needs-driven — not discretionary — and so the core need [...]

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Accelerating Organic Growth with Sales Analytics – Intelligent Sales and Profit Acceleration #4

As companies build their plans for growth in this new year, it’s a good time to leverage sales analytics to build actionable sales goals. Sadly, for many distributors, sales planning has historically been anecdotal, intuitive and virtually data-free. Aside from knowing what a customer (or group of customers) bought last year, and then guessing at [...]

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Sales Acceleration: Rethinking Seller Roles – Intelligent Sales and Profit Acceleration #3

2020 has been a tough year for most distribution sales teams. In certain markets — such as janitorial and sanitation, HVAC, home improvement and landscaping — shifting consumption patterns have spurred rapid growth. Customers increasingly engage with suppliers through e-commerce, market platforms such as Amazon and Alibaba, and virtual meeting platforms. These new, emerging buyer [...]

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