Canadian Electrical Wholesaler

 

 

By Frank Hurtte

HurtteOctober 3, 2016

I recently attended a day-long distributor planning session, a sales meeting that ended with a “round-robin” planning session. Vendor salespeople and distributor specialists were assigned tables around the perimeter of the meeting room. Salespeople spent a few minutes at each table talking about existing opportunities and future targets. After eavesdropping, I noticed salespeople discussing accounts where they felt additional actions could push the selling process forward. 

Soon after the meeting, it hit me like a ton of bricks: salespeople knew their assigned accounts but didn’t fully understand the targeting process. At the end of the day, nearly every salesperson listed the same three or four accounts as their targets – the same accounts and contacts were given for a diverse group of products and technologies. Later, I asked a couple of salespeople and their managers to define “target” – the results were interesting:

      “A target account is a new account”

     “exploratory”

     a target should be “one of my top 5 accounts”

All answers came from the same sales team, same management, attending the same meeting.

Vendor salespeople were no different. When asked for a “target” for their new product line, one district manager rattled off: forest products, mining, food processing, and automotive industry. Why was this particularly bothersome? The nearest forest and mining businesses were thousands of miles away. To a salesperson thinking about targets, this sends two messages, “My vendor doesn’t even know a target for my territory,” and “This product may not deserve my selling time.”

Proper targeting is the key to successfully launching new products. Human nature drives a desire to produce fast results. Dr. Robert Atkins, inventor of the Atkins Diet, stressed the need for an initial quick success in weight loss to drive future behaviour over a long period of time. Dr. Shinichi Suzuki discovered that children who experienced quick success in music were more likely to continue their studies, even once practice became routine.

Specialists can drive a result by “stacking the deck” for early success. This creates the initial one or two wins that build long-term success. Since you are responsible for getting the new products into your company’s sales pipeline, time invested in early thinking about targets pays important dividends.

For each new product answer the following questions:

     Which customer types would best benefit from the product? This should be answered in as specifically as possible. A bad example would be General Motors. A good answer would be the painting department of a large metal assembly company (General Motors) where explosive paint fumes create the need for tools with special arc proof coating. This opens the door to thoughts about a number of different companies where the environment is similar. Vendor partners and nationally based organizations like to use SIC codes to make these decisions. Unfortunately, the SIC registry is not an exact science. I suggest you put your personal knowledge and your team’s knowledge to work in developing a short list.

     Who at these companies is most likely to understand the impact of the benefit? Hopefully your salesperson has multiple account contacts. Careful thought should be given to selecting the right contact. If your product has a safety feature, showing it to a maintenance person may prove to be disastrous. She may judge your product based on it being difficult to use rather than the importance of added safety. This is as important as selecting the client company.

     Do you (or the vendor salespeople) know of companies experiencing success in some other part of the country/territory? What drove their success? Nothing can jump start the success of a new product like an introduction to the local plant of a company that has already experienced success. Before adding these people to your list, it is important to know a few details. What were the situations leading to the use? What went well? What was learned? How well has this been publicized within the company? Make contact with the key decision-maker at the remote location. Call for these details to make the success story more valid for local users.

Once you have this information and the opportunity presents itself, specialists can gain buy-in from the salesperson. Discuss your ideas for quick successes. Whenever possible, overlay your choices with her own top accounts. It is easier to sell more to existing accounts. When you are finished with the initial process you should have the following information:

  • Target account names: no more than 6
  • The right contact by name or title
  • Proper collateral materials: literature, demos, samples, joint call dates
  • A few specific bullet points to use in selling the product: Remember salespeople have dozens of accounts
  • A mutually agreed upon time frame for initial contact

Targets need to be revisited. After the salesperson’s first customer meeting, the specialist can help fine tune the targeting process by discussing the high and low points of the call. If new collateral is needed, it can quickly be brokered to the salesperson. If the demo didn’t go smoothly, a personal tutorial will rebuild confidence and drive better demos at the next target. If this meeting produces major discoveries (e.g., the competition has the same thing at 10% lower price), adjustments can be made for the entire sales organization.

Targeting accelerates business growth, but is this worth the effort? Here is a parting thought: new research indicates that organizations who are great at targeting are 47% more effective than those with average targeting skills. Specialists are uniquely qualified to make an impact! Good luck and happy targeting.

Frank Hurtte is the Founding Partner of River Heights Consulting. The Distributor Channel is a service of River Heights Consulting. Find out more: www.RiverHeightsConsulting.com    

 

OlsonBy Katrina Olson

A recent CEW article by David Gordon caught my eye. The headline was, Are Your Sales and Marketing Teams Inhibiting Growth?

As a marketing consultant, writer, and trainer, I recognized the challenges and barriers that David was writing about. We agree on many issues (and their causes) facing electrical distributors and marketers. But I also hear from marketing people all the time that the C-Suite is hindering their efforts which, in turn, hinders the company’s growth.  

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2018 Electrical North American MeetingOn October 29-31, 2018, the AD Electrical North American Meeting drew over 1,000 attendees. This event attracted 151 first time attendees and representatives from over 362 companies in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Attendees benefited from a variety of agenda topics, including: Network Meetings, Emerging Leaders Session, and Country-specific Business Meetings. New to this year’s agenda was a SPA Optimization Workshop led by industry veteran Mo Barsema. In addition, members and suppliers also attended a panel discussion on managing and measuring your digital success.

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CEW 6 HR 400People with low levels of coping skills are at higher risk for mental health issues and mental illness than those with high levels. Gaps in coping skills inhibit the ability to solve problems and to make healthy and effective decisions.

To examine how coping skills can predict health outcomes, Dr. Bill Howatt facilitated a doctoral research study that examined the question: “What role does an individual’s coping skills have in predicting psychological and physical health outcomes?” The study found that coping skills mattered and were, in fact, a moderator that partially explains why some individuals had better physical and psychological health outcomes than others. The study concluded that when combining a person’s coping skills with their perceived stress levels, coping skills were significant in predicting which employees were at more or less risk for health issues.

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Changing Scene

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Desdowd Inc. has been chosen to serve as Thermon’s manufacturer's agent for the province of Quebec ...
Gerrie Electric Wholesale Limited’s website has a fresh new look but continues to offer the same ...
Following a record 2018, Westburne continues its investment in its British Columbia team with two ...
Cree, Inc. has signed an agreement to sell its Lighting Products business unit, which includes the ...
On March 1 Eaton announced intentions to spin off its lighting business, creating an independent, ...
John Wade’s tenure of over 25 years working in the electrical industry in various capacities were ...
At least 17 privately-owned companies in Canada’s electrical industry continue to earn Canada’s ...
From February 25 to 27, 2019, AD welcomed more than 280 AD independent distributors and service ...
Liteline Corporation has named Eric Teacher as Liteline's newest Regional Sales Manager — ...
  The Canadian Electrical industry is at the forefront of innovation. Our products help ...

 

 EFC Announces 2018 Marketing Awards Winners

2018 Marketing Awards WinnersElectro-Federation Canada (EFC)’s Marketing Awards program recognizes member organizations that demonstrate marketing excellence and innovation within the Canadian electrical manufacturing and distribution industry. Winners of this year’s awards were recognized at EFC’s 8th Annual Future Forum, held earlier this month. (Shown in photo: EFC President and CEO Carole McGlogan with representatives from Bartle & Gibson, winners of the Integrated Marketing Award — distributor under $50 million.)Electro-Federation Canada (EFC)’s Marketing Awards program recognizes member organizations that demonstrate marketing excellence...

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CEW 6 ShowReport 400Leaders and innovators from business, government and the education sector gathered for this ABB premier collaboration event. More than 11,000 delegates attended the bi-annual ABB Customer World Houston 2019 from March 4 to 7 in Houston, Texas. ABB’s latest pioneering technologies were displayed over 150,000 sq ft of a colourful, buzzy display of futuristic conveyor belts and robots, an ABB Formula E Generation 2 car, and much more groundbreaking technology. ACW attendees also took part in keynote sessions and seminars focused on realizing the tremendous productivity and performance improvements that digitalization delivers for companies of any size and from any industry.

In his keynote address at the event, ABB CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer explained how ABB was shaping its business for leadership in digital industries to support its customers in a time of unprecedented technological change and digitalization. He was joined by Hewlett Packard Enterprise CEO Antonio Neri. 

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Changing Scene: 

Cree logo 2 400Cree, Inc. has signed an agreement to sell its Lighting Products business unit, which includes the LED lighting fixtures, lamps and corporate lighting solutions business for commercial, industrial and consumer applications, to Ideal Industries, Inc. for approximately US$310 million before tax impacts, including up-front and contingent consideration and the assumption of certain liabilities. Cree expects to receive an initial cash payment of US$225 million, subject to purchase price adjustments, and has the potential to receive a targeted earn-out payment of approximately US$85 million based on an adjusted EBITDA metric for Cree Lighting over a 12-month period beginning two years after the transaction closes.

The agreement continues Cree’s strategy, announced in February 2018, to create a more focused, powerhouse semiconductor company, providing growth capital for Wolfspeed, its core Power and RF business, and equips Cree with additional resources to expand its semiconductor operations. The deal also enables Cree Lighting to gain additional global focus, channel support and investment as it becomes a growth engine for the IDEAL team.

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Peers & Profiles

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On a regular basis, our publications profile members of our industry through their responses to a ...
First and foremost, sitting down with Susan Uthayakumar feels more like sitting down and conversing ...
Sales of electrical supplies from full-line electrical distributors capture the geographic ...
Laura Dempsey has been working as an outside sales representative for E.B. Horsman & Son for ...
Michael Gentile, President and CEO of Philips Lighting Canada, has had a long and distinguished ...

 

 Young Leaders: Taylor Gerrie

Taylor GerrieOn a regular basis, our publications profile members of our industry through their responses to a Q&A. It’s a way of recognizing industry movers and shakers, and helping our readers get to know them better. 

Recently we launched an initiative with Electro-Federation Canada's Young Professionals Network to include profiles of up-and-coming leaders. We provided the list of questions below to Taylor Gerrie, Automation Account Specialist at Gerrie Electric Wholesale Ltd. in Burlington, Ontario. Here are Taylor’s responses.

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Susan Uthayakumar, President of Schneider Electric Canada: Driving Success

Susan UthayakumarBy Owen Hurst

First and foremost, sitting down with Susan Uthayakumar feels more like sitting down and conversing with a friend than conducting an interview with the Canadian president of one of the world’s largest electrical manufacturers. Of course, she exudes the confidence and knowledge her position demands, but equally identifiable are an open and engaging nature.

In a recent sit-down, we learned a little about Susan’s history and what drives her to succeed.

To begin, Susan was born in Sri Lanka and immigrated to Canada at a young age. She went to high school in Canada and attended the University of Waterloo where she earned undergraduate and graduate degrees.

Upon completing university Susan began her working career with Deloitte, which she describes as a great starting point as she was surrounded by highly driven and intelligent individuals. She welcomed being in a position that was demanding and helped nurture a strong work ethic. Her work with Deloitte also instilled a great interest in acquisitions, which would serve her well as her career unfolded.

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CEW 3 Perspective 400

We often learn how to look forward by first looking back, or at the very least we realize that despite our best efforts we have not truly advanced quite so much as we had thought. Sure, technology is rapidly advancing. That’s beyond question. But what about our approach to selling it? Have we changed that much in the last 20, 40, 60 years? Inevitably there have been advances and changes in marketing, the Internet causing the biggest shift, but many of the concerns and directives that have driven the distribution and marketing of industrial electrical products remain, or at least planted the roots of the concerns of manufacturers and distributors today. 

To gain perspective of the perceptions and directions of electrical product distribution in 1960, we turn to Edwin H. Lewis. In 1960 Lewis published “The Distribution of Industrial Electrical Products” in the Journal of Marketing.

To fully define electrical product distribution in 1960, Lewis broke his study into several categories. We will follow his direction and provide his insights on the industry in each of the categories he identified.

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Looking Back

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The best memory I keep from CEDA is the way that they accepted me when I came into the business. ...
In the 1930s to 1940s, CEDA’s Western Canada membership was very stable with old line independent ...
Prior to the late 1950s there was little if any involvement in CEDA by the so-called “national ...
  As 2017 marks the 150th anniversary of Confederation, we take a look back at an aspect of ...

Looking BackThe best memory I keep from CEDA is the way that they accepted me when I came into the business. The welcome they gave to me, all of them men. (In those days there were not many women in business.) This welcome I will always remember. CEDA has played a very important role in my success.

One year our conference was in Hamilton, Ontario. Mr. Caouillette, our speaker, got lost and instead of going to Hamilton went to Toronto. I think that that was the longest cocktail hour that CEDA ever had… waiting for him to arrive. Certainly that night the head table and everyone were in good spirits.

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Looking BackLooking BackIn the 1930s to 1940s, CEDA’s Western Canada membership was very stable with old line independent companies like Horsman, Ashdowns, Brettell, Marshall Wells, Electrical Supplies Ltd., etc.

Small electrical distributors just were not acceptable for membership as they did not carry the main-line manufacturers’ goods, publish a wiring device catalogue, or employ four to five salesmen as CEDA requested.

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