UnleashWD Webinar Offers Business Level Strategies for the Digital Era

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The UnleashWD webinar "Bringing Your Distribution Company into the Digital Age" provides distribution companies with business level strategies to take their company into the digital age. UnleashWD is the only innovation summit for the wholesale distribution industry.

Digital technology has brought more competition into the wholesale distribution industry and allowed giants such as Google and Amazon to reach customers.

Rather than waiting for this digital age to disrupt their business, wholesale distributors need to embrace technology and go on the offensive to increase their market share according to a panel of experts during the UnleashWD webinar: "Bringing Your Distribution Company into the Digital Age."

“Having an eCommerce strategy is a critical part of a wholesale distributor’s success, and it is something that they cannot wait on,” Ranga Bodla, Director of Industry Marketing for NetSuite said.

Rather than asking if your distribution company can afford to invest in technology, the question needs to be, “What are we going to do to grow our company?” according to Bodla. The strategy of integrating technology and experimenting with new business model provides distribution companies with the tools to compete with giants such as Grainger, Amazon and Google.

One example is NetSuite customer Monterey Lighting. The Pomona, California-based electrical distributor started offering eCommerce as an add-on service without the expectation of it taking the place of the sales team. Selling online has allowed Monterey to reach to new customers including the Air Force and the Central Intelligence Agency. New customers now find what they need through Monterey ‘s website without the distributor having to make sales calls. After the initial online sale, Monterey has been able to engage with these new customers for more sales.

While eCommerce provided an inbound strategy to gain new customers, it has also allowed the company to provide better service to existing customers according to Monterey co-founder Steve Spitzer.

“The preferred method of contact is going to become online rather quickly,” Spitzer said.

An online presence allows customers to look at your inventory at any hour from anywhere in the world. While the removal of geographic boundaries has allowed Monterey to enter into new markets it has also allowed other companies with access to their customers.

“The digital age is a threat, but it is also an opportunity,” Spitzer said.

One way for distribution businesses to take advantage of the opportunity is to embrace younger millennial workers. Spitzer called the millennial generation “digital natives,” while describing earlier generations as digital immigrants.

San Jose, Calif.-based Valin Corporation, a leading technical solutions provider for the technology, energy, life sciences, natural resources, and transportation industries, is one of the companies embracing millennial workers. Valin recently named 25-year-old David Nettemeyer as the Digital Strategies Manager.

Nettemeyer put in place a strategy to gather and present data in a way to provide the sales team with relevant information. Informing the current sales team allows companies to manage the transition from a traditional sales force to the digital age.

“The internet is the primary way that people get information about your company, not salespeople,” Nettemeyer said.

And that trend will become even more prevalent as the millennial generation enters into the workforce in greater numbers. The millennial generation is expected to become the majority of the workforce a few years. Embracing technology provides distribution companies with a way to attract and keep millennial talent according to Nettemeyer.

“If we ignored this wave of digital technologies it will be a disruptive force,” Dirk Beveridge, UnleashWD Founder said. “I really believe that we need to think differently and innovate faster than we are used to.”

Beveridge and the panel agreed time still existed for distributors to change their business, but the window of opportunity was rapidly closing, especially with Google and Amazon rapidly expanding their business-to-business offerings.

The webinar is part of a series presented by UnleashWD, the only innovation summit for the wholesale distribution industry. UnleashWD provides a series of webinars as a free resource for distributors seeking to create a culture of innovation at their company.

On June 27, UnleashWD presented “Preparing for Google’s Entry into Distribution.” This webinar followed-up on that evolving event by providing business level strategies for distributors seeking to adjust to a market without global boundaries.

About UnleashWD:

UnleashWD features 18 innovative storytellers from outside of wholesale distribution. In a TED style format, the storytellers speak for 18 minutes to provide examples of adding value to a business from the areas of: Innovation, Leadership, Business Model Design and Company Culture.

Founded in 2012, UnleashWD is the first and only conference dedicated to bringing innovation to the wholesale distribution industry. The summit gathers only once a year, but do not wait to start innovating. Visit UnleashWD.com for updates on future webinars, eBooks and other valuable information on how to innovate.

About the founder:

Dirk Beveridge is an expert in how wholesale distributors and manufacturers increase market share through examining and improving their relationship with customers.

For the last 25 years Beveridge has worked with more than 3,000 firms as a leadership consultant, trainer and speaker. His clients include: Time Warner, IBM, Andersen Windows, Graybar and Berlin Packaging.

He is available for press interviews, corporate speaking or consulting. To contact Beveridge, call 847-381-7797 or email info(at)unleashwd(dot)com.

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Christopher Troksa
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