Canadian Electrical Wholesaler

Reset Button

David Gordon

We’re at that time of year. The doldrums days of summer. The time when it gets hot and many people naturally become a little more “laisser faire.” When we use the excuse of mid year, summertime, the July 1 holiday, vacations or just being “too busy” as reasons why we need to keep things on autopilot.

But have you looked historically at what percentage of your business is conducted between January and June vs. July and December? For many distributors the answer is 45% vs. 55%. And for some, this year it could be 40/60, given the challenging first quarter, in order to achieve any growth.

Is it time to hit the reset button?

As we head into summer, consider:

• If you had a plan coming into this year, are you on track? If not, what needs to be adjusted?

• If joint plans were developed with manufacturers (or with your distributors, reps or salespeople), are they being implemented? Are you on track for achieving goals and rebate objectives? If not, is it time for some adjustments? Are you confident that your existing plan will deliver, or are you “hoping” it will (and you know what they say about hope being your strategy)?

• Are your salespeople on track? Do they need to reset, or identify, some target accounts for Q3, and then reload for Q4?

• In purchasing, are you taking advantage of quarterly/mid year supplier return policies to right size inventory and minimize excess and obsolete inventory (and maximize the benefits you’ve earned from a manufacturer)?

• Is your marketing department reconsidering their initiatives and identifying shorter-term strategies that can impact this year’s business?

• Do you have scheduled mid year reviews with your salespeople and key suppliers?

• Are margins challenged? Have you reviewed pricing to see where you can get some quick benefits and re-evaluated your SPA utilization? Speaking of SPAs, are you current on filing for claims?

• Is now the time to be opportunistic in expanding your sales organization? Two reasons: increase your coverage and prepare for next generation. Hiring now enables you to train them in your systems / methodology through the remainder of the year while possible reaching new customers and reassigning under-performing (or lacklustre) accounts that your existing sales organization doesn’t have time to reach.

• Consider reviewing your information and look at

o customers who are growing at a faster pace … why are they?

o identifying product categories where you are underperforming or overperforming? Why? What could be rectified / emulated?

o identifying customers whose stock business is growing at a accelerated rate? What could be emulated with others? How could you further help them?

o whether your team aware of supplier new products? How could you better promote these?

o what services are under promoted to your customer base?

o which distributors are making the market for you vs. being happy with the tide? Focus a little more effort on those who proactively support you … in essence “double down on winners.”

o whether your salespeople carry too many accounts. Force them to stop calling on, or servicing, accounts less than $x (for some companies this is $25,000, some $50,000, some $100,000) and ensure that they spend more time with their top 5-10 customers (maybe less). Experience has shown that less can deliver more.

Have every major department, and salesperson, should develop a 1 page (max) second half plan consisting of one paragraph, providing a first half analysis / evaluation and the remainder focusing on second half objectives and initiatives with defined timelines, responsibility assignments and support needs.

It’s easy to keep the ship steady, put the company on summertime autopilot, get caught up in the heat of activity and say, “it’s summertime and everyone’s too busy,” and then come back in September and say, “We need to start thinking of 2016.″ Where will six months have gone?

Sometimes staying the course is the right course. Sometimes you need to take the fork in the road to reach your destination.

If not now, when? Now is the time to re-energize plans and your team to ensure you finish the year strong and meet your objectives. Odds are your competition will take the summer off.

And sometimes it helps to have a 3rd party perspective for a day …

Should you do a mid year review within your company and hit “reset”? 

Perhaps powering down for a 1/2 day to a day to hit “reset” can help you adjust and gain a different perspective. After all, isn’t that how we diagnose many tech problems… push the reset button or power down?


David Gordon is President of Channel Marketing Group. Channel Marketing Group helps manufacturers and distributors in the construction and industrial trades generate ideas to accelerate revenue through strategic planning, marketing planning and coaching and market research initiatives. He can be reached at 919.488.8635.

More in CEW by David Gordon:

Innovation Takes Culture, Not Only Books: Part 1

Innovation Takes Culture, Not Only Books: Part 2

The Amazon Supply Threat

Selling Lighting or Selling Data?

Are You Uncomfortable? Good.

10 Tips for Taking Share

Boosting Performance at Your Webstore

Amazon Upgrades from Supply to Business

Evolving the Role of Marketing Within Your Distributorship

Strategies in Light Observations: Distributor LED Opportunities

Are You Ready To Sell LEDs Differently?

16 Distribution Industry Trends for 2016

Lighting the Way to Demand Creation

Sales Making Excuses?

Converting Emails Into Sales Through Thoughtful Communications

Learning from Amazon and Generating Ideas

Turning Your Staff into a Competitive Advantage

Internet is Impersonal

Sales and Marketing - How Can Joint Sales Calls Become More Effective

Creating Demand to Drive Profitable Growth

Is Your Company a Kool-Aid Drinker?

What Manufacturers (and Their Reps) Don't Know About Distributor Joint Sales Calls

What is Marketing's ROI?

Not All Is Meant for Online

Point of Sale… Profits Lost?





 

 

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