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“We must never be too busy to take time to sharpen the saw”
- Stephen Covey

Article Archives

These articles are compiled works from The Distribution Team. They can be downloaded for your private use. We do ask that if you wish to republish them, please send us a note prior to use.

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Coving All the Bases

Post by: Jason Bader - Principal, The Distribution Team

A couple of months ago, I was working with a client who felt like he had neglected certain aspects of his company. He had been spending the last year heavily focused on sales and marketing, particularly driving a e-commerce platform. Previously, the company had just offered web services to existing customers and this was a whole new animal. The focus paid off. The company grew their online sales to previously unregistered customers from essentially zero to approximately $250,000 in monthly revenue. This was a heck of an achievement and the growth shows no signs of slowing down. This business development has been impressive, to say the least, but at what cost?...

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Pioneering Efforts Must Be Protected

Post by: Jason Bader - Principal, The Distribution Team

Many of you know me as a trainer of distributors, but I occasionally jump over to the other side of the supply chain. Over the past 15 years, I have done one day sessions focused on helping manufacturers and independent rep agents understand the independent distributor. This class was really born out of desire to help reps move from entry level roles serving retail establishments or direct end user demonstration and support. When these folks move over to calling on independent distributors, they need to modify their approach and find a way to be the most valuable resource in the vast quiver of brands supported by the wholesaler. One of the areas I touch on is how to work with a distributor when you want them to launch a new product into the field and how much effort is required to do so. They often forget all the nuances required to make that new product introduction a success. Because of this substantial effort, distributors get a little resentful when the product is offered to local competitors too quickly. It can often feel like a kick in the teeth and will cause that distributor to minimize their interest in a new product, or even flat out refuse to bring it to their customers without an already established market. All this could be avoided if the manufacturer stepped back and recognized what was being asked when they expect their distributor partner to pioneer a new product...

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Developing an Inside Sales Program

Post by: Jason Bader - Principal, The Distribution Team

As is always the case, distribution topics seem to come in waves. It seems like a topic comes into my
circle of influence and repeats for about 90 days. Perhaps it just seems that way because I become more
aware of topic and tend to hear it throughout my daily interactions with clients, guests and colleagues.
This quarter, I am becoming more aware of the importance of inside sales programs in the distribution
space. For those of you who have been around me for a number of years, you will often hear me talk
about this role, or team, being equal to field sales programs. Unfortunately, this has not been a popular
opinion for much of my distribution career, but a kid can still hope.

Let’s just look at the numbers. From a seated position, inside the office, the average internal
salesperson can touch at least 30 customers a day versus the field salesperson averaging about 10
meaningful customer interactions....

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Can Outsourcing Reduce Operating Expenses and Mitigate Labor Shortages?

Cultural Evolution in the Legacy Distributor

From Peddler to Prospector: The Changing Role of Outside Sales

Who's the Alpha Now?

When distributors are just starting out, they usually have to beg for lines.  Over time, this dynamic shifts; but not always in the mind of the distributor.  

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Suggested Reading

I have been a subscriber to GetAbstracts.com for the past two years. Like many, I struggle to read all the business book recommendations that people share with me. Truth be told, I am not patient enough to slog through a 300 page tome to get to the good stuff. A couple of years ago, my brother turned me on to GetAbstracts.com. Essentially, the service is like the “Cliff Notes” for business books. I look up a book, download the 5-7 page abstract, and get to the meat and potatoes. If I really like the book, I might go buy it for my shelf. One of my clients has used these short abstracts as the basis for a monthly discussion with his executive team. The possibilities are endless. Going forward, I plan to share some recommendations for subscribers to download. Check out the free trial and start “sharpening the saw” today.

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Endorsed Services

At The Distribution Team, our goal is to help our clients with any challenge that may arise. Unfortunately, some problems might be a little outside our wheelhouse. This is why we have aligned ourselves with top-notch service providers that excel in their area of expertise. Whether you are interested in gathering information about customer preferences or looking to create a vendor managed inventory program, our endorsed professionals with get you going in the right direction.

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