Category Archives: Concierge Customer Service

131. Rethinking Rep Caliber, Skills, Territories, and Incentives

“What Is the Best Incentive Plan For My Reps?”….

A question that always sparks heated debate amongst distributor principals. The ancient “5% of all sales in a territory” (and its refinements) has accumulating drawbacks. Now, with accelerating Omnichannel Cloud Commerce targeting B2B channels, what other Sales-Force questions come first?    

LOOKING-BACKWARD QUESTIONS

  1. Have you written down and ranked the drawbacks and injustices of your current plan?
  2. (Assuming no fears about losing best reps), What account reassignments should be done?
  3. Can any incentive plan magically cure:
    • Weak reps whom you would not hire again?
    • Veteran Reps coasting to retirement while harvesting their (and possibly your) best accounts?   
    • A weak, unfocused, me-too strategy?   
    • The many net-unprofitable customers and SKUs leeching your business? (Get a cost-to-serve model – at the line-item level – to identify and fix them!)

FORWARD-ENVISIONING QUESTIONS TO ASK

  1. What accelerating trends will converge to make 2021 selling different, and stress traditional rep orthodoxy to possibly breaking?
  2. What are your suppliers envisioning for B2B, Omnichannel, Cloud-Commerce in 2021?
  3. How do you plan to develop e-selling skills?
  4. How will you score current reps for their 2021 fitness? 
  5. In ’21, how will you segment your customers to then sell them:
    • Different service-metrics’ benefits and terms?
    • Customized supply-chain replenishment solutions?
    • Factory Omnichannel scenarios involving both dis and re-intermediation?
      • With what multiple selling-cost models?  
      • Are too many, too-small accounts currently assigned to reps?
      • Are some huge accounts desiring supply-chain solutions that require a team selling process still assigned to solo reps?   
  6. What analytics will help answer these questions and guide action plans?
  7. Based on answers for 1-6: how will you “right-size and upgrade” your reps to:
    • Solve all historic problems?
    • And, spark a big increase in sales and profits from best accounts?
  8. Finally, what will be an incentive plan that will be customer-centric and please your best reps within a new e-selling era?   

Help With Answers?    

I could write an e-book on “B2B Distributor Sales Management Opportunities: 2019 to 2024”. But, only if:

  1. I get lots of “do it” demand from regular readers who in turn…
  2. Persuade others to vote “YES” and get trade or buying groups to offer some sponsorship.

Interested? Email your thoughts to:  bruce@merrifield.com. Otherwise, blogs will continue!

123. Teach Customers To Be Better, Win-Win Buyers

Customers Aren’t Equally Effective Buyers

Customer profitability analytics reveals a wide range of buyer effectiveness. And, SKU profitability analytics measurably pinpoints the root causes for their variances in hidden, unnecessary buying activity and servicing costs.

Customers also vary in their openness to changing how they buy to achieve: Continue reading 123. Teach Customers To Be Better, Win-Win Buyers

122. Amazon News; Uberization of Local Deliveries?

“The future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed.” – William Gibson

AMAZON’S LAST MILE, LOGISTICS NEWS

    1. (Oct. 10) “The USPS seeks a 12.3% price increase” on the 40% of AMZ’s packages that it delivers. AMZ suggests that the projected $1B cost increase won’t matter in 2019. (?)
    2. (10/17) Hiring “Seasonal Delivery Associates” (for $17.25/hour). Doesn’t this compete with AMZ’s new “Delivery Partners” (6/28)? The Partner start-ups will use the 20K (initially 4.5K) of leased Mercedes Sprinter Vans. Perhaps: a) shipments are growing faster than total delivery capacity. Or, b) AMZ believes it can innovate lower last-mile costs than the USPS, etc.
    3. (11/5/18) Free holiday shipping for all (matches Target’s promotion). AMZ will win any battle of fulfillment-cost attrition because: a) It has best customer clickstream advertising income and b) most efficient warehouse costs.

Continue reading 122. Amazon News; Uberization of Local Deliveries?

121. Full-Employment Woes? Reinvent Service-Value!

Nov 2, 2018 Employment News

 250,00 new jobs were added to the economy in October. Unemployment dropped to 3.7%: a 40-year low. Yearly wages increased 3.1%: the biggest gain since the financial meltdown 10 years ago. The best young employees are starting to job-shop and hop. Besides more pay, smart ones want:

  1. A believable and engaging vision, strategy, and culture – that will reward all stakeholders.
  2. And, personally: job security, pride, education, growth – all with great team satisfaction.

Continue reading 121. Full-Employment Woes? Reinvent Service-Value!

119. Will Commissioned Reps Be Un-Bundled?

Traditional-Markup, Service Bundles

Many distributors mark-up goods to hopefully cover the costs of their “free services” that come with the product. These include service-costs like: outside and inside reps, fulfillment, delivery, free returns, and trade credit.

What happens when digital-buying millennials increasingly take over B2B buying, and they find lower prices for equal or better goods from online sellers (with zero outside and inside rep costs)? Continue reading 119. Will Commissioned Reps Be Un-Bundled?

117. Customer Centricity Quiz

How Customer-Centric Is Your Firm (Branch)?

Amazon’s mission: be the “Earth’s most customer-centric company”. And, they increasingly are!  Your firm can grow faster and more profitably through next-level, customer centricity.  How? Make sure all employees can answer and act on the following questions. Continue reading 117. Customer Centricity Quiz