What’s Your Hybrid Customer Engagement Strategy? - Modern Distribution Management

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What’s Your Hybrid Customer Engagement Strategy?

Shake up or break up: Tough truths on digital transformation.
Background of abstract startup Business growth transformation innovation to digital. Successful fin tech financial technology seeding and expanding to future business investment, interest and profit

How do your customers perceive your value proposition? And, what is the relationship of that perception to the ways you are leveraging technology? I pose these questions because MDM recently asked 1,500 distributor customers how they want to engage with their suppliers and got some very clear answers. In most cases, customers have already gone hybrid in the ways they want to be served – in-person sales calls are critical, but for very specific reasons around learning and solving. They want transactional and order processes to be as automated as possible. We’ll be sharing more on these findings at our upcoming Digital Distributor Summit on June 29 (more details below).

We’ve all endured a lot of noise over the past 18 months. Unfortunately, technology marketing often carries even more noise. Not to mention buzzwords that lack clarity in terms of practical business value. There has never been a greater need to connect direct business value to technology enablement. It has to start with evaluating what your customers want their relationship with your team to be post-pandemic.

I’ve heard hundreds of times (and often witnessed) that distributors and B2B more generally are lagging when it comes to technology adoption. There’s a deeper question that needs to be asked: Why have distributors and B2B companies been tech laggards behind consumer channels? My answer is that the core sales model has been incredibly successful! That is why it has made technology adoption such a difficult task when systems, process, culture and technology have all evolved to support relationship-centric sales models. I also have to point out, as MDM documents regularly in case studies, that there are incredible and practical applications of technology that create huge competitive advantage and deeper customer engagement.

Innovation, strategy and practical application

To challenge your thinking and provide new ideas for how to rethink the best path forward that’s less vulnerable to emerging disruptors, MDM is hosting a one-day virtual Distributor Digital Summit on June 29 (and on-demand for 90 days viewing). Over six hours of presentations and panels, our core theme is a combination of innovation, strategy and practical application of digital and technology for competitive advantage.

We’re bringing together an incredible set of nearly two-dozen speakers and panelists who will generously give your team new ideas and important benchmarking for your unique technology transformation journey (agenda and speakers here).

Perhaps more importantly, we’ve got the most experienced set of distribution-specific digital practitioners and analysts in terms of both innovation and skepticism of conventional wisdom who aren’t afraid to poke holes at dysfunctional tech implementations and generously share how to avoid them. They have seen it all and helped many distribution leaders cut through the noise. A large part of our conversation will be about the change management required to become a more digitally nimble company.

I hope you can join us and consider including your key team members to provide a common ground for really critical conversations on where your digital strategy is today, and where it should be heading, to make sure you are focusing on the things your customers value most.

As always, please share your thoughts on where you see the biggest challenges and opportunities in your own adoption of technology or the critical industry issues. Share your comments below or contact me directly at tom@mdm.com.

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