Canadian Electrical Wholesaler

Carol McGlogan

October 31, 2017

By Carol McGlogan

At Electro-Federation Canada’s (EFC) recent Future Forum, we explored the significant changes in B2B customer behaviour, and the resulting effects on sales and marketing. Our B2B customers are increasingly making online purchases, and for those customers who still deal with a salesperson, their minds are generally made up by the time the sales interaction even occurs. According to CEB/Gartner research, the typical B2B customer is 57% along the purchasing journey before their first interaction with a salesperson.* Forrester research forecasts that approximately one million B2B salespeople (U.S.) will lose their jobs to self-service eCommerce by 2020, guiding customers through the different stages of the sales process from awareness, to consideration, to purchase.

If your reaction to these facts are: “not in our industry”; “our product is technical”; or “our industry is based on relationships,” you may want to reconsider. Just take a look at these findings:

  • “Not in our industry” — EFC’s “Click and Order” research report focused on customer purchasing patterns in our industry. The 2014 report stated that at that time 11% of our customers were already buying from the Internet… it certainly is a bigger percentage now. We are no different from other B2B industries.
  • “Our product is technical” — Yes, our products are technical, but remember that research tells us our customers are further along the purchasing decision. This means that even for technical products the amount of information available to customers online makes them much more informed about product specs, costs and functionality before the first sales call is made. Salespeople are dealing with customers who have a frame of mind; they are no longer influencing that frame of mind. As a salesperson, you may have to undo opinions that are not aligned with what you are proposing — a much tougher challenge.
  • “Our industry is based on relationships” — Relationships are the icing on the cake. Without a solid digital strategy and platform that allow your customers to discover, compare, and ultimately purchase your products, relationships may be just that without the economic benefit.

As businesses, have you changed to meet this customer shift? Have you mapped this new customer journey and clearly identified the touchpoints that take the customer from one stage to the next? Do your marketing expenditures and strategies reflect this new journey that the marketing department is clearly more responsible for? The interaction between marketing, sales and the customer is different. Have your teams collaborated to create a winning path?

When you add the channel into the mix, it becomes even more complicated. We often talk about collaborating between the manufacturers’ and distributors’ salesforces to ensure that sales are successful. If everything is done online, how do our sites collaborate? Customers want a seamless experience, so we need to collaborate digitally to make that happen.

We have a long way to go in the electrical industry, but the good news is that great examples of digital transformation are all around us. One of the speakers at the EFC Future Forum said that it’s not about benchmarking B2B or B2C, it’s about benchmarking experiences. We are consumers and business people who have great experiences every day. A little creative thinking can inspire you to take those experiences and apply them to your business to win in this exciting new environment.

Carol McGlogan is President & CEO, Electro-Federation Canada.

* https://www.cebglobal.com/blogs/b2b-sales-and-marketing-two-numbers-you-should-care-about/

 

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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Changing Scene

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This past summer, from July 1 to September 15, AD Rewards ran the Redeem for a Dream promotion.
Electro-Federation Canada’s Marketing Awards program recognizes member organizations that ...
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 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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Peers & Profiles

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First and foremost, sitting down with Susan Uthayakumar feels more like sitting down and conversing ...
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 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.

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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 ...
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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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