Category Archives: Service Value Innovation Guidelines

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!

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

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?

120. Your Best Cloud-Commerce and the Mythical Cassandra

THE MYTHICAL CASSANDRA

…Was a beautiful princess of besieged Troy who enchanted Apollo. To win her charms, Apollo gave her the gift to foresee the future. But, when she reneged on romance, he compromised the gift so that no one would believe her predictions. She begged fellow Trojans to not take the Wooden Horse (left behind by the Greeks) into the city’s walls, but to no avail. Continue reading 120. Your Best Cloud-Commerce and the Mythical Cassandra

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