Canadian Electrical Wholesaler

June 24, 2021

David GordonBy David Gordon

As we transition from the pandemic many wonder about the future of sales, meaning, “What will the sales process (sales model) look like in the future,” and, essentially, “What is the role of / for outside salespeople?”

In reality, this question was asked pre-pandemic as management lamented that Sales wasn’t being as productive as they desired. Companies are always seeking to improve their processes, whether it is having salespeople better penetrate accounts, identify and call on new customers, use a different (new?) sales method, or perhaps they sought to redesign the sales model with a different mix of outside and inside salespeople.

The sales results of many companies last year generated questions for many senior leaders. If sales (revenue) didn’t “collapse” when sales (people) couldn’t visit customers and “we” were forced to adapt, and “I” saved lots of money, “what is the value of sales / should I be selling differently?”

In reality, this

• diminishes the value of relationships built over time

• presumes the company is actually good in marketing and creating demand via marketing

• has a strong brand

• is desired by customers rather than being on “auto-order”

• has a strong operational model / is easy to do business with, and more

But it raises questions. Can selling be more efficient and respectful of resources? Is there a different mix of interactions that can deliver an acceptable sales and profitability return?

In reality, collectively we’re not going to go from the pre-pandemic sales model of “always” visiting customers to the pandemic sales model of “can’t” visit customers. We’ll go to a hybrid (although, now with vaccines many more have hopped back on planes and are being welcomed). One of the things we’ve heard from distributors and end-users that they liked about “virtual” is the ability for the technology to facilitate “update / transactional” interactions. They like the ability to control their day and expect the future to be a mix of live and virtual.

In his recent newsletter, Mark Roberts, from OTB Solutions, recently wrote about the future of sales and shared some statistics and predictions.

Statistics

From McKinsey:

• 70%-80% of B2B decision-makers prefer digital and virtual human interactions

• 77% of B2B decision-makers prefer video (Zoom, Teams) to a phone call with new suppliers

• 89% of B2B decision-makers said the likelihood of virtual human interactions will continue

And, based on research Mark conducted with one of his clients, over 63% of their clients preferred virtual sales to face to face.

The reasons for virtual sales engagement included

• more efficient (for both parties!)

• reduced cost of sales

• improved customer experience

Mark predicts, and no surprise, that the future will be a hybrid sales model. The challenge with evolving to this, based on his experience, and many sales managers and senior management can attest, is that a majority of salespeople struggle with selling virtually (as do many companies in marketing to create and nurture demand, let alone follow-up and connecting with decision-influencers.) And yes, Mark helps with this.

Questions to consider

It then begs some questions of:

• What to do with existing, long-tenured, salespeople who have much product experience (hopefully) but may be sales technology “challenged”?

• How are compensation models changed / evolved?

• What does change due to culture when “mature” salespeople with high compensation who have been loyal are impacted?

• Does your company (i.e. your salespeople) know how to prospect for new accounts or penetrate diamonds in the rough?

• Do manufacturers with a direct salesforce feel that they can gain share of distributor mind if they are not calling on the distributor? Can the model be supplanted by marketing and inside sales / business development? Are manufacturers willing to invest in customer service roles?

• Will contractors respond to outbound calling from a business development / inside sales group? To eMarketing efforts?

• As a distributor, or manufacturer, have you invested in the marketing tools (database tools) to know who customers are and how to contact them … or know how they want to be contacted?

And there are more questions.

Sales models should always be subject to review and revision. COVID may have accelerated the questioning and the review process. Technology is more able then ever but requires different types of investments (process, technology, people and content). Are outside “salespeople” salespeople or account / relationship managers? How much can companies invest in specialists without changing sales compensation models? How critical is product knowledge or are customers knowing what they need (and essentially serving themselves via electronic commerce (website, EDI, system to system, etc)? What is occurring with staff turnover?

Sales models are under attack, most likely because, for most companies, they haven’t changed and performance essentially is the same (performs like the tide.)

Your customers, if you dare ask them, value different sales resources differently. Two different CMG research projects highlighted that

• contractors are more loyal to a distributor due to a relationship with inside salesperson than an outside salesperson, and

• when asked the importance of various sales roles, contractors and industrial accounts rank inside salespeople, outside salespeople and counter personnel in this order.

Relationships do matter, and frequently people do business with people. However, neither relationships nor “people” are as secure as before. Generational, societal and performance pressures are all less forgiving than years ago. Performance counts more, and faster, than ever before. Companies need to evaluate and consider revision / change. Holding on to the past can reduce tomorrow’s performance.

Tomorrow’s sales model

As Mark projects, hybrid will be the new normal. The questions become

• What will your hybrid be?

• What did you learn about your sales organization in 2019?

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..

Contribute Your Product Knowledge to Develop the Industry’s Harmonized Data Model (HDM)

IDEA Harmonized Data ModelHave you heard about the industry’s Harmonized Data Model (HDM) initiative? IDEA, in partnership with NAED, is calling all product experts to get involved and be recognized by the industry. People who join the Product Expert Task Force will impact the future of the electrical distribution channel.

In the next 6 months, subject matter experts (SMEs) will be harmonizing the categorization for dozens of product categories. It’s an opportunity for industry experts to participate as a SME in the HDM initiative.

 

 

 

For more information Go Here.


 

 

McKenna

By Rhonda Cox, Regional Sales Manager, Western Canada, EGLO Canada

It is with pleasure that EGLO Canada annouces the nomination of McKenna Agencies as our representation in the specification market as well as electrical distributor channel for the markets of Alberta, Yukon, Northwest Territories and parts of B.C.

Covering various interveners within the specification market (engineers, architechts and designers), McKenna Agencies is a privately-owned-andoperated company whose history under its current ownership dates back to 1988. 

Read More


 

Sonepar CioffiRenato

Sonepar has officially signed an agreement for the acquisition of 100% of shares in CioffiRenato. Founded in 1974, CioffiRenato is a company active in the distribution of electrical material operating in the Lecce province, with its headquarters in Casarano.

In 2021, with its two branches serving all the area, the company recorded sales of around €10 million. It employs 17 associates and 2 sales representatives. Thanks to this acquisition, Sonepar, already present in Puglia with six branches, will strengthen its business in the region.

 

 

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Chris Farrah

Electrozad have recently announced the retirement of Sales Representative Chris Farrah, on July 29th, 2022. Chris began his career with Electrozad on February 20th, 1983. His first position was doing deliveries as a truck driver, then advanced to a warehouse position, then a Customer service/Counter sales representative.

Finally in 1991, Chris was promoted to the position of Sales Representative where he continued to excel and increase his relationships with customers and vendors for the remainder of his career. Chris had been a valuable member not only of Electrozad's business but of the Electrozad family too. 

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Franklin Electric

 

Franklin Electric Co., Inc. released its third annual Sustainability Report this month, once again providing transparency, insight and data related to the Company’s performance toward Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) initiatives and goals. The commitment to these initiatives and goals led the Company to be named to Newsweek’s 2022 list of America’s Most Responsible Companies.

This year’s report includes several details related to product advancements, employee health and wellness programs, and manufacturing initiatives. 

Read More


 

 

Changing Scene

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Doug Bunting

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Doug Bunting as Senior Sales Manager, Western Ontario District effective Aug 2nd, 2022. Doug will continue to report directly to me. Doug is a well-known industry veteran who has held many leadership positions over his 35 years with Westburne.

In this role, Doug will drive commercial sales activities and will help recruit, mentor, and develop our team of commercial account managers, branch staff, and project managers. He will focus on accelerating sales growth in the Western Ontario District and will play a key role in supporting vendor and customer relationships.

 

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Greg Parsons

It is with mixed feelings that Stanpro recently announced that Greg Parsons, Vice-President of Sales, will be retiring at the end of the year. Greg has been with Stanpro for the last 18 years as well as four years with Standard prior to joining Stanpro. Greg has been a key contributor to the success and growth Stanpro has known. He has been the face and leader of the sales force; he has built strong long-lasting relationships with customers and partners and he has been a pillar and mentor for many.

With Greg retiring, Stanpro are very pleased to announce the nomination of Adam Silverman as the National Sales Director. This nomination is effective immediately. 

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Jennifer Penton

Magic Lite is proud to announce the appointment of Jennifer (Jen) Penton to the position of National Sales Manager. Jen joins the team with a proven track record having spent the last 10 years in business development and project management with engineering consulting firm GHD.


Prior to this she earned a PhD at the University Of Western Australia. As the daughter of Magic Lite founder and CEO Tom Penton, Jen is very familiar with the company and its operations and is looking forward to bringing her passion and drive to the family company.

 

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AES Acquisition

RESA Power, LLC has recently announced the acquisition of Advanced Electrical Services, Ltd. Based in Alberta, Canada, Advanced Electrical Services (AES) is a NETA accredited company that has two locations in Calgary and Edmonton from which it has been providing electrical testing services since 2008 throughout Western Canada.

AES specializes in providing medium and high voltage services and products into the renewable energy, mining, commercial, utility, and oil & gas market segments in Western Canada. RESA Power was acquired by Investcorp, a leading global alternative investment firm, in December 2021 and this marks the first add-on acquisition under their ownership.

Read More


 

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