Listen On These

Sponsored By

016: The Role of Marketing in Distribution with Carolyn Quinn, Pike Systems

October 2, 2019

Carolyn Quinn never wanted to be known as a child employed by the owner of a business -- she wanted to be the chief executive officer. 

Now president at Pike Systems, Inc, a cleaning supply and equipment company based in Illinois, Carolyn leads an effective sales team that is intensely focused on providing value for their clients. From support tools to on-site training, Pike Systems is committed to find the proper program for the proper client to ensure their ongoing success.

“I've read all of the materials on inside sales teams and how that should function and our janitorial supply industry is just not there yet…  people still don't know how to use our products and until they know how to use them, we have to be out in the field.”

In fact, Carolyn DID grow up in the family business. She remembers going to work with her dad on Saturdays and working with her sister to restock the showroom before the store opened at 8:00. She practically has performed every role in the business from filing to restocking to pulling orders, but she never did get to drive the delivery truck.

Before talking on leadership at Pike, Carolyn earned a degree in marketing at Babson College and spent some time working on the trading floor at Goldman Sachs. Back at Pike she applied her marketing expertise writing newsletters and putting together proposals for the sales force, but then quickly transitioned into a sales territory of her own.

When it comes to sales and marketing, Carolyn had a vision to go beyond promotional giveaways with the Pike logo. She wanted to do training webinars, targeted email campaigns, data-driven analysis… “This is something much bigger than putting a logo on a Yeti tumbler and things of that nature.”

Listen in to hear how Pike divides their sales process into three distinct roles, the importance of building strategic bonds both within and outside of the industry, and how Carolyn believes in contributing to the success of her customers through education every single day.

“We have to know more than the manufacturer does and not only know that, but know how to integrate one manufacturer’s products with another… the amount of satisfaction in knowing that program that you put together is producing results, saving money, in some cases saving lives, and just making things easier for people is really rare.”


Distribution Talk is produced by The Distribution Team, a consulting services firm dedicated to helping wholesale distribution clients remove barriers to profitability, generate wealth and achieve personal goals.  

Edited & mixed by The Creative Impostor Studios.


Portland, Oregon • Charlotte, North Carolina