Delivering for Best-in-Class Wholesaler-Distributors
September 12, 2019  |  ByMark Dancer, NAW Institute for Distribution Excellence Fellow

I am very excited to announce that Innovate to Dominate: The 12th Edition in the Facing the Forces of Change® Series will soon be ready to preorder from NAW. If you want to be at the head of the line to preorder Innovate to Dominate, submit this form.

For more than a year, our research has gathered insights from hundreds of distributor leaders, thought leaders, suppliers and customers. We were guided by our primary goal: to help distributors connect the dots between the forces of change and innovating the distributor business model. Along the way, we discovered that distributors can do much more than only defend themselves against the forces of disruption. Distributors can lead the way in this new era of B2B innovation!

Distributors have a massive opportunity to help lead the way for customers and suppliers. If successful, distribution leaders will not only modernize their business model for the digital age, but they’ll become a driving force for revitalizing the value chain and strengthening the entire business sector of our economy.

Innovate to Dominate is a roadmap for distributor-led business innovation. Every chapter provides an essential methodology with examples and tools. The first chapter describes how to become the essential partner for helping customers embrace the future of business in the digital age. The next three chapters are in-depth explorations of future market scenarios and drive to potentially game-changing business model innovations created through brainstorming with distributor leaders. The fifth chapter fills a considerable gap by pressing distributors to build an innovation ecosystem of in-depth knowledge and disruptive services. The sixth and final chapter is a call to action for every distributor to develop a distribution-focused innovation discipline, one that turbocharges distributor business models and leads to sustainable competitive advantage.

One of our most important findings for distributor leaders is that they must develop personal skills around foresight and storytelling. Foresight is the ability to describe a compelling vision for how the future might unfold and how a distributor leader’s business will service customers, compete and thrive.

Storytelling is the ability to communicate that vision in a way that engages customers, attracts innovators and investors, and establishes distributors as a force for change and a partner for innovation. Without foresight and storytelling, distributor accomplishments will go unnoticed, diminishing their brand, and failing to position distribution as the primary enabler of innovation and competitiveness for the business sector of our economy.

To help achieve our goals for foresight and storytelling, Innovate to Dominate shares more than 50 distribution stories, each of which answers two questions:

  • How are you preparing your company to compete in the digital age?
  • What have you learned along the way?

The stories are substantial and insightful. They help illuminate our findings and make our recommendations relevant. But they are also only a beginning. Distributors must move forward together, adding new stories to the ones shared in Innovate to Dominate and, at the same time, get the word out — especially to the next generation — that the field of distribution is vibrant, changing and innovating.

In my continuing posts for the NAW Blog Distributing Ideas, I will point out milestones of distributor innovation progress and signposts of critical customer and market evolutions. Every post will tie to the key findings found in Innovate to Dominate.

I hope you will order your copies of Innovate to Dominate when you receive your NAW email to preorder. Use this comprehensive research study as your essential tool and roadmap for your company innovations. It will help you plan and track your journey and progress.

As a Fellow for the NAW Institute for Distribution Excellence, I am committed to NAW’s cause of helping distribution set the standard for B2B innovation and supporting every distributor’s efforts to not only survive but thrive in the digital age. Please share your stories of innovation with me at my new email address: mark.dancer@n4bi.com.

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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 channel innovation, and to enable an exchange of ideas between channel leaders on business transformation, technology adoption, social impact and community engagement. For more than 30 years, Mark has worked with leading companies to achieve channel excellence across a wide range of industries in developed and emerging markets.

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