Category Archives: Service Value Innovation Guidelines

139. Better Mental-Models for Profit Power

Mental-Model Fuzziness?

We make decisions from a stew of emotions, beliefs, biases, and mental-model assumptions. Models approximate reality, so each has its blind-spots. But, a robust set of models can minimize oversights and help to make better business decisions.  

As a management team exercise, try writing down your models. Then, test them further with analytics, stakeholder surveys, and team discussions. Some common, flawed beliefs follow to get you going.         

Financial Model Beliefs 

  • Do you pursue greater sales to get economies for better buying and to spread fixed costs?
  • Do you grow sales by maximizing selling pitches to more customers to get more margin dollars? (And, why not sneak up prices too? Buy low, sell high!)   
  • To control costs, do you pay “fair” wages, run lean, and keep everyone busy? Then, won’t a bit more of each incremental, margin-dollar flow to the profit line?   

Financial discipline is good! But, the belief-questions above all have flaws and blind-spots. For example, does “make the numbers” work against investing in FedEx’s service-excellence model of: “People, Service, Profits”?

“Good Service” Beliefs

“Good service” is a commodity; it keeps you in the meet-the-price game. “Best service-value” – in the minds of targeted-customers – wins!  But, what are your assumptions for choosing initial segment(s) of customers to target? Can’t service-value metrics vary subtly and importantly for each customer niche?    

Target-Customer Beliefs

“Financial-Think” assumes bigger customers are better, and all are good. But, what if two customers are equal in both sales and margin dollars, but vary in average order size by 10X? Isn’t the small-order customer less profitable?

Cost-to-Serve analytics reveals that about 20% of big-margin-total accounts are typically net-profit losers.  They have too many small-dollar picks and/or orders that cause big, unnecessary activity costs for both parties. Win-win fixes are possible!  

People cannot process two orders at the same time. What is the opportunity cost of processing losing-orders from losing-customers? You can’t pursue, win, and process bigger orders from more net-profitable customers when consumed with losing Busy-Ness! So, what are your order-size-economic assumptions informed by Customer and SKU net-profit analytics?       

Innovation Beliefs/Conclusion   

Studies conclude that 60-80% of premium profits that star companies earn comes from innovations. Top 5% distributors grow faster and make 2-4X the ROI of the bottom 90% of distributors. The Stars are playing a better mental-model game! Why not upgrade your mental-models too?

For more mental-model testing, request my free: “Core Customer Renewal Roadmap” (bruce@merrifield.com). 

138. The Peter-Principle, Sales-Rep Solution(s)

The Peter Principle?

The book, “The Peter Principle”, was first published in ’69. It was a #1 non-fiction, best-seller for 20 weeks. The key concept: most everyone gets promoted until they reach their level of incompetence where they stay, bumble, and resist any real changes. (A humorous writing style helps the medicine go down.)    

Continue reading 138. The Peter-Principle, Sales-Rep Solution(s)

133. Your Reply to the 2020 “Crisis of Capitalism”

FIRST-WORLD EMPLOYEES ARE RESTLESS

The “Yellow Vest” protests in Europe echo the “We are the 99%” (Occupy Wall Street movement) – back in August ’11. Both are symptoms of declining, discretionary income for the bottom 95%+ of households (in first world economies). Buying homes and having kids in the US is unaffordable for the average Millennial. And, if you have any promising, young employees, are they job shopping?   

Continue reading 133. Your Reply to the 2020 “Crisis of Capitalism”

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?