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Distributor's Link Magazine Winter 2020 / Vol 43 No1

34 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S

34 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 nelson@intuilize.com or visit www.intuilize.com AMAZON BUSINESS DIDN’T KILL INDUSTRIAL DISTRIBUTORS, IGNORING DATA DID By now you’re pretty familiar with the old saying, “— didn’t kill —, — did!” right? Netflix didn’t kill Blockbuster, ridiculous late fees did. Uber didn’t kill the taxi business, limited access and fare control did. Apple didn’t kill the music distribution business…well ok that one might be true. In the next 5, 10 or 15 years, a lot of industrial distributors will be boldly claiming that Amazon ruined their business, but just like Blockbuster and taxis and Tower Records, before them, that blame should really be pointed at themselves. So what’s the real threat for distributors today? Making decisions without data. New Blood Matters as Much as Your Core Customers I participated in an e-commerce panel at the International Fasteners Expo where we asked participants how many had a website or ecommerce platform — less than 50% of them raised their hand. In my conversations with owners, they cited that they still have plenty of oldschool customers calling, faxing and visiting their office which were cornerstones of their business. Now, as a 20+ year veteran of this business I know full well that relationships with partners who are stuck in their ways can be paramount, but at the risk of sounding ominous, those relationships only last as long as those partners… Keeping your business growing for the long haul means finding new blood and not enough owners are really taking the time to ask themselves how they are establishing and nurturing those relationships. To CONTRIBUTOR ARTICLE me, trying to succeed in a competitive environment where incremental is not what used to be is a losing proposition. We need to be relying on data to find that new blood. Customers Are Speaking Clearly During the expo, a gentleman approached me and asked for ideas on how he could optimize his operation. He told me he was able to serve between 20-30 orders per day running his business in QuickBooks, and using a shopping cart hosted by Hostgator that he had integrated into his system. His question for me was how to take the next step. So why I am describing this man’s relatively basic IT setup? Because while most of the people reading this article might have an ERP and/or CRM set up and probably have more infrastructure that this gentleman, I would bet good money that he has more success than most ahead. And that’s because the challenge today is not technology, the challenge is to be open to listening to your customer’s behavior, by using the data you have in your ERP and CRM — which he was eager to do! By simply seeking out help digging into the data, he has a better chance to survive than many distributors that are running their business with monthly hard copy reports and no presence in the digital world — no matter what their current market share. We Aren’t Watching the Data Most of owners I talked with said they use reports to manage their business, which is better than nothing, but is also kind of like driving a car only using the rear-view mirror. CONTINUED ON PAGE 120

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