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Distributor's Link Magazine Summer 2021 / Vol 44 No 3


78 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S LINK Nelson Valderrama Nelson Valderrama is the CEO of Intuilize, a software Service platform that specializes in helping mid-sized distributors transform data into profits. With more than 22 years’ experience as P&L manager executive for major PE firms and industrial distributors. Nelson has dedicated his career to help business uncover hidden competitive advantages and unleash the power of data in the new Digital Economy. For more information contact by email or visit THE INDUSTRIAL DISTRIBUTOR’S GUIDE TO STARTING A DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION “At least 40% of all businesses will die in the next 10 years...if they don’t figure out how to change their entire company to accommodate new technologies.” - John Chambers, Executive Chairman, Cisco Systems If you are considering or using automation in your reporting, using BI software, implementing a CRM or launching your website/e-commerce platform, you’re taking crucial steps toward diving into the digital world. As a tenured distributor who is now helping other businesses, I have dealt with stubborn CEOs; haggled with unsophisticated owners that prefer to add a temp employee rather than invest in technology; and at times, watched as businesses have deployed projects with fewto-no resources. Along the way, I’ve learned that digital transformation is not about technology or resources — it’s about people and how leaders can adapt their company culture to thrive in the 21st century. Know Where You Stand To make things simple, let’s say your company might fall into any of these three buckets: Laggards, Adopters or Innovators. Before getting started, take the time to categorize yourself based on what you are thinking and doing around e-commerce, CRM, analytics or any other digital strategy. Laggard distributors believe the full-service distribution model they are following is sustainable in the long term. Things like e-commerce, CRM, analytics or other digital initiatives are not for their customers and/or for them. If you are reading this article, you probably don’t fall into CONTRIBUTOR ARTICLE this bucket, but your current customers and partners might! I invite you to perform an informal survey every few months with your customers and team (not just the owner or VP but middle management and beyond) within your top accounts. Ask them how frequently, if at all, they are using the internet to look for products or value-added services. Create a chart for the survey results, and you’ll surely note that each time the percentage increases. By the time your business tries to play catch-up, that middle-manager will have become a senior-manager making decisions — many of whom will be screaming with their dollars through e-commerce portals. If you pay attention, the market will tell you: ¤ B2B buyers are moving online due to the convenience of ordering on their own time and not being limited to the 9-to-5, sales-assisted transaction. ¤ Experienced B2B buyers — who are buying the same thing (commodities) — don’t need sales assistance to re-order products. If they want to research a new product, they use Google, Amazon, Grainger, etc., before calling. ¤ Buyers prefer simple interactions throughout the supply chain processes (self service = instant gratification) instead of calling or emailing an inside sales, CSR, etc. Adopters are those that respond to surveys, or attend informal expos or industry association gatherings, and acknowledge that there is a digital world out there. They are considering some tools but typically do not initiate concrete actions because they are confused where to start or do not have the time/resources or talent to do so. CONTINUED ON PAGE 144


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