MDM Podcast: What's Tech Got to Do with It? - Modern Distribution Management

Log In

MDM Podcast: What’s Tech Got to Do with It?

As a primer for MDM’s July 10 Virtual Sales Summit, this episode dives into the transforming landscape of distribution sales models and the deeper challenges that reps face in the marketplace today.
Working Data Analytics and Data Management Systems and Metrics c

Business technology advancements have nearly always resulted in increased productivity. In distribution sales, while tech has certainly made sales professionals more productive, it’s also changed the entire conversation around selling. And it’s tough to say whether it’s been ultimately for the better.

While modern CRM tools now put vast amounts of customer information at sales reps’ fingertips and have nearly eliminated the concept of cold calling/emailing, some in the industry would argue that tech has put an unnecessary gap between the distributor-customer relationship. Relationship-selling has long been the backbone of distribution, and the more digital things have become, the less that has been emphasized.

No distribution leader would blame customers for their increasing preference for a digital-first, rep-free sales experience, but from a distributors’ perspective, there is a balance to strive for between technology-driven sales and a personal touch.

That was the crux of our latest MDM Podcast, in which ProfitOptics’ Tony Pericle and Nick Pericle sat down with MDM’s Tom Gale to tackle how technology — including AI — is transforming distribution sales models, covering the benefits and challenges it’s put on reps today.

Tony Pericle

“Ultimately, you want to be able to match your services as a distributor to (customers’) needs and their wants. And that’s really what it’s all about,” Tony Pericle told Gale during the podcast. “Technology has helped us in many ways to free up our time as a sales rep to do those things. Unfortunately, sometimes it falls apart. I’m still aware that the sales rep doesn’t even get out and they’re not making that personal call. And even worse, they’re not even making a call on that customer. You have to be able to have that personal interaction in order to develop that relationship. And that’s so important because if you don’t, then you’re just a machine and machines can be replaced.”

Tony Pericle’s career started in sales for major healthcare supplies distributor McKesson before moving into the consultancy side and founding ProfitOptics in 2008. He’s served as its CEO and Chairman since, and his son Nick joined the firm in 2015 and currently serves as its Technology Strategy and Solutions Leader. Together, they provide a combination of perspectives covering sales reps’ priorities and the B2B sales technology now impacting their day-to-day.

Overall, the podcast underscored the transformative impact of technology and AI on distribution sales models. Both Pericles emphasized the importance of leadership in fostering a culture of continuous learning and innovation. They also highlighted the necessity of balancing digital advancements with the personal relationships that define successful distribution sales.

Nick Pericle

“You have both the ecosystem in which the distributor sales rep operates in the market, but you also have the tools and technology that they have to use and put in their hand and put in the hands of their customers on a daily basis in order to be successful,” Nick Pericle detailed. “How those attributes come forth, how they’re shown to the customer, how you gain trust, how you meet the customer where they are, knowing that they’re in a different place than they were less even 5-10 years ago, even a couple of years ago — you have to be able to adapt in order for the success to show up.”

This topic is also core to MDM’s upcoming Virtual Sales Summit on July 10, which features six hours of programming that addresses how to craft hybrid sales models and the components such as data analytics, team-based selling and sales coaching that are defining high-performance teams today. Along with the Pericles, our speaker lineup includes Gartner’s Maria Boulden, Indian River Consulting Group’s Mike Marks and Mike Emerson, Redwood Advisors’ John Nance, SPARXiQ’s Mike Kunkel and a collection of distributor executive panelists. And, it’s free to attend!

Related Posts

Share this article

About the Author
Recommended Reading
Leave a Reply

Leave a Comment

Sign Up for the MDM Update Newsletter

The MDM update newsletter is your best source for news and trends in the wholesale distribution industry.

Get the MDM Update Newsletter

Wholesale distribution news and trends delivered right to your inbox.

Sign-up for our free newsletter and get:

  • Up-to-date news in a quick-to-read format
  • Free access to webcasts, podcasts and live events
  • Exclusive whitepapers, research and reports
  • And more!


articles left

Want more Premium content from MDM?

Subscribe today and get:

  • New issues twice each month
  • Unlimited access to, including 10+ years of archived data
  • Current trends analysis, market data and economic updates
  • Discounts on select store products and events

Subscribe to continue reading

MDM Premium Subscribers get:

  • Unlimited access to
  • 1 year digital subscription, with new issues twice a month
  • Trends analysis, market data and quarterly economic updates
  • Deals on select store products and events



You have one free article remaining

Subscribe to MDM Premium to get unlimited access. Your subscription includes:

  • Two new issues a month
  • Access to 10+ years of archived data on
  • Quarterly economic updates, trends analysis and market data
  • Store and event discounts

To continue reading, you must be an MDM Premium subscriber.

Join other distribution executives who use MDM Premium to optimize their business. Our insights and analysis help you enter the right new markets, turbocharge your sales and marketing efforts, identify business partners that help you scale, and stay ahead of your competitors.

Register for full access

By providing your email, you agree to receive announcements from us and our partners for our newsletter, events, surveys, and partner resources per MDM Terms & Conditions. You can withdraw consent at any time.

Learn More about Custom Reports

Request a Market Prospector Demo

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.