Category Archives: Index

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!

130. The True Sources of Your Profit-Power?

FINANCIAL TACTICS AND SERVICE METRICS TO WIN NET-PROFITABLE CUSTOMERS  

Financial KPIs urge: “try harder, be cost efficient”. Good stuff. But, what are your analytics to achieve unique service-value capabilities which win and keep big, targeted, net-profitable accounts that average higher margin dollars per order than their average service-cost per order?  And, do they keep and motivate best-service-ethic people to:

  • Achieve the service-metric goals for the target accounts? 
  • Cure root causes for net-unprofitable customers and SKUs?

THEMES BEHIND MY BLOGS?

This note is one of 130 blogs posted at www.merrifieldact2.com. A big underlying theme for these postcards has been “inventing analytics to better measure and manage true causes of Profit-Power”.  

I’ve rotated through sub-topics (or lenses) including:

  1. Finance. What are the dysfunctional financial-management assumptions and blind spots that plague many distributors? 
  2. Profit-Equation Management (or order-size economics). You make money at the line, order and customer level when: Margin Dollars minus Cost-To-Serve Dollars equals Positive Profit Dollars. Most distributors vastly underestimate their losing customers, SKUs, and Sales Territories – all of which have losing Profit Equations. Building a cost-to-serve model is not hard. What is? Giving up old beliefs that all customers and gross-profit dollars are all equally good. 
  3. Customer (and SKU) Profitability Ranking Reports. By creatively focusing on the top/best and bottom/worst 5% of these reports, huge profit improvements are possible.
  4. Field research to discern next-level, service metrics for most net-profitable customers and customer niches (“nichonomics”).  Distributors who do this kill those who don’t.  
  5. High-Performance, Service Cultures to attract, engage, and focus talent needed to turn insights (from topics 2-4) into better service-value and profits.
  6. Key, defining capabilities that customers reward and no other competitors have. Topics 1-5 create these capabilities which win profitable order-streams from best customers. Then, all financial numbers (which are downstream, aggregated, averaged-out symptoms) improve.  
  7. Envisioning Omnichannel Cloud Commerce circa 2021. Do you have the analytics to inform and enable your digital transformation strategies? Topics 1-6 provide the profits, agility, and confidence to change to win in 2021.  

AN E-BOOK OF MY BLOGS?

Would an E-book that re-sorts my blogs into sub-topics with additional comments and discussion questions be useful? If YES, let me know: bruce@merrifield.com

129. For Big Gains in 2019, Forgive to Change

2019 STORM-CLOUD SOLUTIONS?

The global, debt-fueled, everything-bubble is deflating. Will the US economy go into recession? Accurately unforecastable and uncontrollable by us! Why not, instead, make controllable changes that will out-perform possible downturn effects?     

Continue reading 129. For Big Gains in 2019, Forgive to Change

128. Brand Power-Shift To Your Service-Value Solutions

Invasion of Better Clone SKUs for Less

Retail “hard discounters” (HDs: Aldi, Lidl and Trader Joe’s) and Amazon have attacked B2C factory brands in the past 18 months. In 2017, the HDs announced big expansion plans for the US, while Amazon ramped up their B2C private-label-clone SKUs. Then, in October (’18), AMZ quietly announced their “brand accelerator program”. Prediction: this program will spark the creation of new B2B clone products on Amazon.

The Clone Formula: Equal or Better Quality For 50% Less

Continue reading 128. Brand Power-Shift To Your Service-Value Solutions

127. Old Beliefs v Your 2019 Strategic Plans

FINE-TUNE 2018; OR, REAL CHANGE?

If your distributorship is a top 5% performer due to perpetual innovation, keep innovating in 2019. If your financial returns are in a low-level rut with an unchanging, aging sales force – then change your belief system to change your results. Continue reading 127. Old Beliefs v Your 2019 Strategic Plans

126. Weak ROI on Analytics? Very Common! So?

ERNST YOUNG (EY) SURVEY RESULTS

A recent EY survey (11-6-18) of bigger companies (than typical distributors) revealed that:

  1. 80% of firms see big upside potential with analytics, but can’t get results. There is a gap between insights and action not taken by employees.
  2. 56% said a culture of decision-making by intuition ruled. (Any intuitive account-call planning going on at your company?)
  3. 60% cited lack of budget and organizational commitment as the biggest pain point.
  4. 67% plan to hire more analytical talent
  5. But, 80% can’t find the talent they need.

Continue reading 126. Weak ROI on Analytics? Very Common! So?