Delivering for Best-in-Class Wholesaler-Distributors

"This Optimizing Channel Profitability book is a highly effective guide for distributors in any line of trade to use to start the process of optimizing channels and getting paid for real, understood value that distributors provide. I found a number of action steps and ideas that relate to my industry so I plan to ask my division leaders to digest this study and then we’ll all strategize as a team on which actionable items we’ll move forward with right away."

—Mike Medart, President and CEO, Medart Engine & Marine

Senthil Gunasekaran, Pradip Krishnadevarajan, F. Barry Lawrence

Buy the Book and Map
$200.00 NAW Direct Member
$315.00 Nonmember
Buy Additional Map
$55.00 NAW Direct Member
$86.00 Nonmember
Buy the E-Book and E-Map
$180.00 NAW Direct Member
$295.00 Nonmember

Prices charged are subject to membership verification.

Please read our E-book process before you complete your purchase, because all E-book purchases are final.


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2-15 items: 15%
16-30 items: 20%
31-100 items: 30%
101-250 items: 40%
251+ items: 50%

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Return Policy

An NAW publication in salable condition may be returned within 15 days of receipt for a full refund. E-books and digital downloads are not returnable or refundable.

Distributors: Order copies for your manufacturer partners too so you can create a common ground for collaboration!

As manufacturers face new competitive challenges, distributors alter their capabilities, and customers change their requirements, the path forward keeps shifting.

Many manufacturers have not updated their channel policies in a decade, while wholesaler-distributors have undergone significant changes in terms of online disruptions by non-traditional competitors, multi-generational workforce dynamics, digital transformation challenges, evolving salesforce structure, and so forth.

Clearly, old assumptions about channel design and management are being challenged. While distributors and their suppliers are busy responding to forces of change from their organizational perspective, are they also looking at the forces of change from their channel perspective? How do we align our interests in today’s age of disruption and the customer experience-driven economy?

These questions were the driving force behind this groundbreaking research study. The solution does not come from distributors alone or manufacturers alone, but rather from collaborative research. This first-of-its-kind study is based on a consortium made up of multiple distributors (15 distribution firms from six lines of trade) and manufacturers (5 manufacturing firms from four lines of trade) who came together to research and develop solutions. The consortium answered questions both quantitatively and realistically using real-world channel data.

The result is a comprehensive Channel Alignment Framework that presents a menu of creative channel compensation forms that can help distributors and their suppliers develop various channel capabilities that can create value for end customers. The focus is on making a one-to-one connection among a supplier’s channel compensation, a distributor’s capabilities and customer value, all leading to a process where all three entities can have constructive, objective dialogue rather than subjective, selective fault-finding. The framework ends with linking how distributors can capture value from customers and how it is linked to their financial goals.


The framework creates a common ground for distributors and manufacturers to perform two things at the same time: relate to their individual goals while keeping an eye on customer value. The framework starts with supplier goals and ends with distributor goals, which forces both partners to recognize and respond with mutually beneficial actions.


Channel collaboration becomes a key competitive advantage when traditional distributor and manufacturer value propositions are under pressure from multiple forces of change. While both partners have an urgent need to rethink their value propositions, the channel alignment framework provides a common ground for them to rethink and redesign their collaborative approach to the market.

Optimizing Channel Profitability includes:

  • 24 best practices on channel design and management from actual distributors and manufacturers that are easy to understand and visually depicted on the accompanying wall map (the map is in the back of the e-book)
  • 44 ready-to-implement action steps
  • 38 real-world distributor and manufacturer examples from across the industry!

Use this groundbreaking study and wall map to

  • Map your current channel strategy and identify both gaps and opportunities
  • Understand channel forces that you need to manage for channel alignment
  • Comprehend how the trade-off between channel partner goals drives channel profitability
  • Examine manufacturing industry dynamics from a channel management standpoint, in terms of four dimensions: market power, mindshare, value share and digital trends
  • Uncover and remove channel blind spots in your channel planning and execution
  • Develop a collaborative and creative channel mindset, and proactively think about channel alignment as competitive advantage rather than just react to market forces
  • Make the Channel Alignment Framework map a part of your channel meetings and shape your channel influence for collaboration and relevance!

For Manufacturers:

  • Assess the five aspects — mindshare, market power, value share, ownership and digital trends — of your distributor relationship!

This book is a collaboration of the NAW Institute and Texas A&M, two leaders in wholesale distribution education and training.


What Distributors Are Saying

“The Optimizing Channel Profitability study has been a key element in our sales management development course. The principles found in this study lay a solid foundation for enhancing the relationship with our channel partners and ultimately growing both of our businesses.”

—- Annisha Russell, Channel Services Regional Business Lead, Rockwell Automation

Optimizing Channel Profitability could not have been explained any better than how this study explored it. The content was easy to understand and apply to what is important to my company and business.”

—-Walter C. Reinthaler Jr., Branch Manager, L&W Supply

About the Authors

Senthil Gunasekaran

Senthil is the Co-founder of ActVantage. With 18 years of experience assisting hundreds of B2B firms, he helps distributors create, capture and innovate value by aligning people, process, technology and metrics. He also delivers executive education and speaks at industry forums. As a thought leader, he is an author of seven best-selling books on generating, managing and sustaining profitable growth, and holds a doctorate degree from Texas A&M.

Pradip Krishnadevarajan

Pradip is the Co-founder of ActVantage. He enables distributors with business transformation and helps them stay relevant in the eyes of the customer while positioning for the future.  He is recognized as an industry thought leader with 15-plus years of experience assisting hundreds of companies. He is a co-author of seven inspiring books that are consistently among the NAW Institute's Top 10 Best Sellers. He holds a Doctorate in Business Analytics.