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In this article, Bill Hodgdon argues that a growth plan that targets a market with too many accounts will constrain the ability of salespeople to generate sufficient contacts on the targeted accounts. The net effect is it constrains growth. It's counterintuitive in some ways from a 1990s perspective, when sales were the primary growth driver, demand was strong, and there was more to go around for everyone.
The environment today for those selling into industrial markets is to find the most effective use of limited resources to yield the maximum gain. More than a few large distributors are concentrating resources into key markets, reinforcing their salesforce to increase the number of contacts and touches. The goal: drive deeper customer relationships and higher spend levels.
Distribution channels are likely to get more confusing and interesting as manufacturers seek new niche areas for growth (and the best distributors to serve those niches). Distributors are looking beyond safety products, a traditional add-on, to be a broader supplier to core customers. And they are analyzing new customer sets to deliver their core strengths and capabilities. It's about micro-niches in these mature markets.
Those who put together the right combination of products and services together with the right resources to sell the best value for customers (read the article to see how that's defined) will find the right formulas for growth.