On vacation last week, I was knee-deep in the ocean when I felt a sudden stinging sensation in my leg. “Oh, you got stung by a jellyfish,” you’re probably thinking. It is the obvious and correct answer. But despite the physical pain I was in, I remained oblivious to the source of it, giving myself time for both legs to itch. It finally clicked when my husband saw the culprit. By then, the burning had really started. It was as if I couldn’t process that this risk that I had known about for most of my life was actually happening to me. Even after the initial sting.
Excuse the clumsy post-vacation metaphor, but for many distributors, this is their approach to digital investing. They’re already feeling the sting, one they’ve been hearing about for years and years, in the form of customer dissatisfaction or even churn, but despite the signs, it still hasn’t clicked and their denial just leaves their companies open. to more injuries.
Customers like online access
Recently, we asked more than 500 distributors, manufacturers, and other industry representatives if their clients’ businesses had been fully reopened for in-person sales rep visits. While about 25% responded with a resounding “yes”, the other 75% report that they have not reopened or that they now have restrictions, qualifications or other obstacles. Several said their clients simply prefer the virtual method now.
Here is a sample of responses:
• “No, there are still significant barriers to entry with respect to customer and staff locations.”
• “Yes, but very often he opts for Zoom / Teams to save time or efficiency.”
• “Slightly more than 90% of our clients allow face-to-face meetings. In many cases, our relationship is much more digital than before COVID. We have successfully leveraged our website, Zoom, and digital marketing initiatives to enhance customer intimacy. “
• “25% have done it, 75% are still satisfied with video calls.”
As you’ll see in this issue of MDM Premium, the five winners of our 2021 Digital Innovator awards don’t let their companies suffer from lack of action on the digital front. All five: Kayla Repp from Sonepar USA; Gary Knight of Loeb Electric; Laura Phelan from ADI Global; Klaus Werner from Global Industrial; and Source Atlantic’s Matt Hanlon, are leading the way in digital growth initiatives.
I encourage you to read each of their stories. You’ll find similar themes in how your digital engagements are paying off for your businesses. Whether it’s through better access to customer data trends, a more accessible online presence that takes into account how customers really want their online experience to work, or an ongoing investment in strategic digital relationships. , it will not catch you off guard.