Canadian Electrical Wholesaler

Nov 11, 2020

David GordonBy David Gordon

COVID changed every manufacturer’s sales budgets in April. Aside from top line revenue and maybe salaries (due to employment reduction), the one expense line that may have changed the most is travel and entertainment. The spender of these… sales organizations.

As publicly held companies reported Q2 earnings, and are reporting Q3 earnings, a consistent theme is that they are beating estimates and earnings per share based upon cost savings. Guess which line item is frequently mentioned?

And if you consider some of the largest manufacturers in the electrical industry… they are publicly held companies.

Further, most of these companies are telling their people “no travel” until at least the end of the year and, in speaking with many, this is expected to continue into next year. In many cases it is legal concern for liability, in some it is concern for employee safety (understandable if there are medical reasons or concerns, but, if using commonsense…), and we’ve had some say, “We’re saving much and getting enough done via Teams/Zoom.”

It then begs the question of, “If public companies are saving much on T&E, how much of a T&E increase will they be able to justify to Wall Street if it reduces earnings and doesn’t increase sales?” In other words, “What is the ROI of T&E, with an emphasis on the travel side?”

And if there is no travel, how does that change the role, perhaps value, of a regional sales manager? What other sales related roles are impacted by travel (especially direct salespeople)? And, as long as we’re going here… if travel is reduced and manufacturer RSMs don’t travel, with NAED cancelling its conferences, even if a minority was willing to participate, what does this do to future industry meetings that were built around networking? What impact does this have on NAED if manufacturer travel expenditures are reduced for an extended time?

So, with travel done (or at least curtailed), ask yourself the following.

• Does the role of the regional sales manager change? How? Is it the same level of talent? Are the same number of people/territories needed?

• Are fewer needed at a “senior” level? Are more “area/territory” managers needed who can drive within their territory? And since this is a lower position, is the ROI more acceptable?

• Should RSMs be remote or at corporate (when large manufacturers go back to offices) to take advantage of idea generation and group dynamics, or have those been sufficient via virtual meetings?

• If salespeople can’t travel, does this diminish the effectiveness of a direct outside salesforce and increase the value of an outsourced salesforce?

• Can technical staff that call on engineers, that used to travel in a territory or call on EPCs, sufficiently generate demand remotely? They can support requests, but can they build the brand, build relationships and generate demand?

• If regional sales managers cannot visit distributors, what does this do to conversion opportunities? Are there opportunities for sales efforts to distributors to change, especially for direct salesforces? Can telesales groups devoted to national chains and/or preferred customers work? Is this were utilizing technology as a moat to secure relationships and increase the cost of change becomes more critical?

• If publicly held company sales management models are changed, what will be the response of privately held, small to medium-sized companies that inevitably are more nimble and easier to do business with? According to some distributors, they have already seen the effect with these companies growing at a greater rate than conglomerates! It says something about “local” decision-making.

Zoom/teams (which begs the question of “why is Zoom a verb as well as a generic term to represent a virtual meeting and teams isn’t?) meetings will be part of the longer-term sales management process, especially for transactional discussions, short meetings and more presentation style meetings, but it should not replace all meetings. There is a role for “face-to-face” (now abbreviated as F2F) so there will be some permanent travel and entertainment cost savings. The question becomes, “How much will be acceptable” or “When is there an acceptable ROI?”


It will be interesting to see how manufacturers “slowly” creep increased T&E to their budgets and if they will message this to equity analysts to prepare them for increased operational costs. The reality is that analysts impact a stock price for one day a quarter… four days a year… but senior management is concerned about “making the quarter.” Will this fear of the analysts, and therefore Wall Street, drive a redesign of manufacturer sales efforts?

David Gordon is President of Channel Marketing Group. Channel Marketing Group develops market share and growth strategies for manufacturers and distributors and develops market research. CMG’s specialty is the electrical industry. He also authors an electrical industry blog, www.electricaltrends.com. Channel Marketing Group does not engage with clients on detailed pricing strategies, however, given that pricing is a critical element of sales, marketing and growth planning, we do get asked about the topic and can share opinions and refer to those who focus on the area as well as share anecdotes. David Gordon can be reached at 919-488-8635 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Nexans Webinar - Key 2021 Electrical Code Changes Impacting Wire and Cable

Nexans Free WebinarJoin NEXANS for a free webinar with Isaac Müller, Applications Engineer for Nexans as he reviews and discusses the changes to the 2021 Canadian Electrical Code related to wire and cable. This free webinar will take place Wed, Jan 27, 2021 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM EST.

This webinar includes:
- Updated rules to protect cables (12-514,12-516)
- New conditions of use for wire & cable (Table 19)
- An opportunity to ask your questions

 


Click here to register today.


AEABy Blake Marchand

“It was amazing,” Alberta Electrical Alliance CEO Tara Ternes said of their first Virtual Electrical Learning Expo. “It was a built from scratch platform, based on our 26-years of experience doing the Expo,” so it certainly didn’t go without its challenges.

“Going forward it will be much easier,” she said, adding that they learned a lot in the process of putting together and putting on the event virtually with Ivy Design, a marketing firm based out of Calgary, Alberta.

 

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Carol McGloganBy Carol McGlogan

The pandemic has given us reason to pause and evaluate everything we do. We have all been affected in our personal and professional lives, and it is during these times we realize family and community come first.

We know that EFC’s role is to bring the electrical industry closer together – and this pandemic has proven that there is no better time to come together.

 

 

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Wholesale Product Sales - OctoberThe sale of wholesale products rose 1.0% in October to $66.7 billion, marking the sixth consecutive increase for the sector. Gains in three subsectors — machinery, equipment and supplies • motor vehicles and motor vehicle parts and accessories • building material and supplies subsectors — all contributed to the growth, which was partially offset by declines in the food, beverage and tobacco, and personal and household goods subsectors.

Sales volumes grew 1.0% in October.

 

 

 

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Michelle BraniganBy Michelle Branigan

If the events of this year have shown us anything, it’s that the Canadian electricity sector is resilient. As a sector providing an essential service 24/7/365, those who work in the sector have long had that “storm mentality” and are ready for extreme weather or other crisis scenarios.

Most organizations have robust emergency plans in place, and some even have specific plans prepared for a pandemic (based on previous scares with SARS and H1N1). 

 

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Stephanie SmithElectricity Human Resources Canada (EHRC) has announced Stephanie Smith as the winner of its annual Leader of the Year Award. A human-centred leader in a highly technical field, Stephanie has an impressive track record of building strong relationships both inside and outside of the nuclear community, as well as creating safe and inclusive working environments.

Recently appointed as the first female President and CEO of CANDU Owners Group, Stephanie developed her career at Ontario Power Generation (OPG) where she made history throughout her career. Notably, as Plant Manager at Pickering Nuclear she was responsible for the safe operation and maintenance of 6 nuclear reactors. 

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TexcanSonepar Canada is pleased to announce the appointment of Roger Gray as Texcan Ontario’s new Branch Manager. Gray joined the company as of November 16th and has been managing the Brampton, ON branch.

Gray brings over 25 years of experience in the wire and cable distribution industry. His experience in strategic account management, familiarity of application and site limitations has earned him creditability amongst electrical contractors and OEMs alike.

 

 

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WestburneWestburne Canada has announced the appointment of Rick Di Danieli to the role of Director, Industrial Solutions effective January 4, 2021. In this role, Rick will report to me and will be responsible for strategic direction and execution within the process and services space across Canada.


"A long standing Westburne partner and friend, Rick brings a wealth of industry and leadership experience, acquired in a 34-year career with Rockwell Automation. During that time he progressed through many leadership roles across North America, most recently as Regional Director Oil & Gas for North America," said Dave Syer, Vice President, Westburne Canada.

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Peers & Profiles

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Ariane Cardinal is Director of Planning, Purchasing, and Distribution with Stelpro.   ...
Following Groupe Stelpro’s recent acquisition of floor heating system manufacturer Flextherm, Yves ...
Electrimat is an independent Quebec-owned company that has specialized for 40 years in the ...
In July, Eaton announced that Vice President, Channel – Electrical Sector, Matt Cleary would be ...
Mission Technical Solutions is a recently established sales agency founded by industry veteran ...
Omid Nadi, Trade Marketing Manager with Ledvance, is a Ryerson University grad coming out of their ...

Yves ChabotFollowing Groupe Stelpro’s recent acquisition of floor heating system manufacturer Flextherm, Yves Chabot, President and CEO of Groupe Stelpro, agreed to answer our questions.

Given the recent acquisition, can you tell us about the key issues for your industry?

Many significant challenges exist. Over the short term, the industry must navigate the pandemic and deal with unprecedented labour scarcity. Over the medium to long term, we must position ourselves within the energy transition in a context where homes are increasingly smart and feature countless connected objects.

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