At the Industrial Supply Association’s annual convention this year, I spoke about the transition distributors must make to digital. This goes beyond just selling products online. It’s about using digital tools across your organization to serve customers more efficiently and profitably.
But while most distributors recognize the importance of this transition, many will struggle to make it.
The No. 1 reason distributors fail to make this digital transition is their field sales teams.
After all, the ongoing shift to digital from the buyer’s perspective has had a major impact on the role of outside salespeople and a distributor’s overall go-to-market approach. As we’ve outlined on this blog, a multichannel strategy based on how your customers want to buy is required in today’s market. Roles field salespeople have played in the past will shift to other team members. For example:
Distributors are afraid to make the move to digital because they are afraid their best sales reps (and best customers) will walk away. It is a risk, and definitely a cultural disruption. But it’s also a necessary one. You will probably have to let some of your most loyal and long-tenured employees go if they’re unwilling to make the transition.