Delivering for Best-in-Class Wholesaler-Distributors
June 3, 2016  |  ByMark Dancer, NAW Institute for Distribution Excellence Fellow
NAW-How to Compete with Internet-savvy Distributors

Gearing up to compete with Internet-savvy disruptors involves three planning priorities:

1. Measurable importance. Take a fresh look at customers that may be migrating away from your business, and make sure that your offerings are important to those customers. Then, measure the value in the difference it makes in the customer’s business. These customers may have purchased from you because you were the only game in town or because your value was good enough. Success requires proof of value. And what can’t be measured, can’t be proven.

2. Meaningful difference Now that you have decided which of your offerings are important, especially to at-risk customers, take a hard look at whether your services are different from the new competitors. And more than that, differences must be meaningful. The only arbiter that matters as you test the meaningfulness of your differentiation is your customers. If they don’t value your difference, your difference won’t have the impact you are hoping for.

3. Unmatchable execution Measureable importance and meaningful difference are strategies; and while strategy is important, it does not tell the tale of who will win battles. Strategy must be followed by execution, and that execution must be unmatchable. Unmatchable execution flows from the vision of leaders, the discipline of managers, and, ultimately, the behaviors and values of customer-facing employees and others who support their efforts. Managing processes is essential, as is an investment in the knowledge, skills, and awareness of all employees. Disruptors may have an easier path to unmatchable execution because of the limited role of human interactions in executing their strategy. The opposite is true for distributors. For them, unmatchable execution is all about people and the behaviors and values that add up to their own version of unmatchable execution.

Adapted from Becoming a Digital Distributor: Strategies and Tools That Create Value
The full study shares data, analyses, tools, recommendations, and more than 250 direct quotes from distributors who provide expert advice for creating a vision and driving your wholesale distribution business forward.

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Mark Dancer, NAW Institute for Distribution Excellence Fellow

Mark Dancer, NAW Institute for Distribution Excellence Fellow

Mark Dancer founded the Network for Business Innovation to drive awareness, advocacy and excellence for B2B innovation, and to enable an exchange of ideas between leaders on business transformation, technology adoption, social impact and community engagement. For more than 30 years, Mark has worked with leading companies to achieve go-to-market excellence across a wide range of industries in developed and emerging markets.

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