Sunday, May 31, 2015

The 4 "C"ornerstones of Distribution

This one comes to us from the NAW - National Association of Wholesalers , and whiles it's not earth shattering or new. I felt it was worth repeating,  Thanks to the Internet, more products than ever before are becoming commoditized.  After all, anyone can search online to find just about anything, so what's left to compete on?

Image result for cornerstoneYou need to make your business distinctive
according to Scott McKain, founder of McKain Performance Group Inc. "You need to reimagine your role in the value chain," he said at the NAW 2015 Executive Summit this year in Washington, DC. To stand out in an increasingly crowded market, distributors must develop four "cornerstones of distinction," McKain said. Of Course all of these can also be aided by the right software tools.


Image result for clarityIf you don't understand what makes you different, how can you expect your customer to understand it? McKain said. And if you haven't clearly defined it, how can you understand it? Clarity of your distinction helps direct your efforts around achieving your goals. By using the MDS-Nx system you can utilize a single 360 degree view and of customer and manage all touch points, web , phone ,email etc so your message is clear. Example "We sell on the highest grade generic pharmaceuticals" make sure this message is on all communication and is repeated on every call. It becomes your identify and makes you stand out.  You can do other things as well - but focus on your primary message. And make it clear.


Don't get caught up in doing the same thing you've always done – or what your competitors are doing. What can you do to stand out from the competition? It doesn't have to be complex, just distinct. Pick a single point to focus on and execute that point creatively. Using software you can track customers purchase and buying patterns and make suggestions based upon those patterns. Innovate by being an advocate or explain how others you sell to are using these products.


Image result for communication"Sales is no longer about providing information," McKain said. "It's about providing insight." Information is readily available on the Internet for anyone willing to look; today's sales people need to be able to share a story about the role their companies play in improving how others do business. See the creativity item above , its' the same concept but expanding it to outbound sales, it's not just about the product specials you can offer, it's about how those specials will help your customers provide better service and ultimately grow their businesses as well.

Customer experience focus

Image result for customer focusDistribution is not just a transaction business. Making sales is a big part of the goal, but your customers likely aren't going to remember the transaction. They're going to remember the experience. Describe for yourself a scenario where everything goes exactly right with a customer, then identify what you must do to achieve that with every customer encounter. What roadblocks keep you from providing that ultimate customer experience? Document each encounter using the MDS-Nx integrated CRM system and build the model of interaction based upon what each customer likes, keep track of birthdays, kids name's , specific dates (like when the contract price comes up for review) and tailor your sales model around those key pieces of information.  Setup weekly or monthly communications based upon customer need and preference. And followup on their time frames this will keep them as a happy and engaged customer who want to talk to you.

By building your business with these four cornerstones you will be able to differentiate yourself and standout from the sea of folks offering similar or the same products as you are. It's a service industry as much as a commodity industry and you have to watch both.

For more information on TSH or MDS call The Systems House, Inc. at 1-800- MDS-5556. Or send a message to

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