222. The Biggest, Profit-Improvement Play Possible?

“If you give me a lever and a place to stand, I can move the world”.    Archimedes

A Distributor CEO Query:  

“Bruce, we’ve got Waypoint’s Analytics service: what is the easiest play we can do for the fastest ROI? What are the Archimedes, Big-Leverage options?” (see quote above)

“It depends”; because there are many variables within each given business context. Here are some top possibilities:

  1. Beef up the most, net-profitable SKUs from your most net-profitable supplier (for just the warehouse sales). For a recipe: see the case story here. This play requires no personnel-change requests.

Otherwise, focus on the most extremely profitable or unprofitable intersections of customers and SKUs.

  1. Most distributors with decent “direct sales” discover that “directs” are immensely net- profitable. So, zero in on: the most net-profitable SKUs from the most net-profitable vendor to the most net-profitable customers. Do some simple questioning of best customers and the vendor to find new, fine-tuning tricks that can boost the “bright spot’s” sales and profits. (Play 8 in Webinar #5.)
  2. For plays within the extreme loser space: play tough with cherry-picker customers. Turn them into begrudging, bigger, profitable, house accounts! (The case, on YouTube)
  3. And, look for fixes for the most, unprofitable SKUs from the most unprofitable vendor (for just warehouse sales) to the most frequent-buying (of the losing SKU) customers. (See it here, on YouTube)

Who’s Your Champion For Executing These Plays?

Play #1 can be done without a champion. But, plays 2-4 require someone to visit with customers to get new information or persuade them to change how they buy. Reps are typically scared to raise challenging issues. They prefer to be affable and hustle on all requests.  And, Reps don’t want anyone messing with their accounts for various dysfunctional reasons.

So, at the outset, don’t introduce analytics and plays to your entire organization. Most will be confused, scared and/or fight for the status quo. Create instead an “innovation department” populated by at least one, full-time champion who then targets the easiest, profit-improvement opportunities. For 400 words on why and how.


With Waypoint Analytics, you can get quick, big wins that then serve to educate most progressive employees on joining in. But, first why not do a deep dive into learning about line-item analytics from both my 12 webinars and a Waypoint demo?