Forget the Cool Factor: Technology Success Comes Down to Usability

White Cup's Brian Friedle spoke on the importance of technology and data-driven sales decision-making during MDM's latest webcast. Here's a recap.
Notepad with word usability concept and marker.

Modern Distribution Management’s SHIFT: The Future of Distribution conference at the end of September focused heavily on the technology that distributors should consider employing in order to undergo digital transformation. That discussion continued during MDM’s Oct. 6 webcast, “Is your sales team armed with the right tech win? The high price of old habits,” sponsored by White Cup. The event’s featured speaker was White Cup vice president of business development Brian Friedle, with MDM CEO Tom Gale serving as moderator.

Friedle’s presentation revolved around the value of using data-based technology as opposed to the “old habit” of leaving sales decisions to gut instincts — and the financial ramifications that come with it. It’s a similar concept that Bloomreach’s Jason Hein discussed during his presentation, “The Culture Minefield in Digital Transformation,” at SHIFT.

Brian Friedle

“Before technology, what did we do? We relied on instinct,” Friedle said. “What do I know? What do I think I know? What have I experienced? How’s it worked out in the past?”

A more reliable way to make sales and budgeting decisions, according to Friedle, is to use data and information. However, distributors haven’t always had access to that data and information — and some still don’t — perhaps because they lack a convenient way to compile data or don’t have the necessary technology.

An important step in equipping your sales team to be successful is determining specifically what kind of technology will make them successful, Friedle said.

“It doesn’t matter [what kind of technology] you have; it doesn’t matter how cool it is,” he said, “if it’s not something that your team can use and will use and adopt and change their behaviors around.”

Friedle suggested five ways for distributors to drive growth in 2023: Hunt for new customers; inspire new opportunities to grow existing customers; increase the benefit of every sales call; optimize sales process for success; and improve profitability. Friedle said these goals can be more easily achieved by a distributor who has committed to technology. During the presentation, Friedle demonstrated how White Cup’s customer relationship management (CRM) software can be used to help achieve those goals.

Gale and Friedle also emphasized that a company must be willing to change and get better in order to acclimate to new technology, which might at first seem like a foreign concept.

“Things aren’t going to magically get better,” Gale said. “It’s really about the companies that are able to focus that sales resource in a way that is going to be better than competitors.”

“Anything you can do to distance yourself from competitors and take a take an extra step up,” Friedle added.

The free webcast, which was running a Q&A throughout, is available to watch on-demand here.

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