The 2020 Mid-Year Economic Update_long

What an Integrated Sales Model Looks Like

This fastener distributor is planning a future with a new sales system.

Joe DeMarco began his career selling pneumatic nailers at a Lowe’s Contractor Yard. Thirty years later he’s still in the industry, energized by the possibilities of new sales models, new ways of doing business, and new challenges – even in these disruptive times. 

“I don’t really like the word ‘disruption,’ ” says DeMarco, VP of Business Development & Communication for industrial distributor LINC Systems since 2012, after 23 years in sales and marketing management with Stanley Black & Decker. “I prefer to think of it as crazy opportunity. An opportunity to leave something really impressive behind. It makes a good retirement resume. Not that I’m in a hurry to retire or ever want to.”

DeMarco’s career has been defined by a desire to keep growing and learning. “That’s what a good salesperson really needs,” he says. “A drive to grow and advance yourself. I don’t believe that even when I started out it was about making the sale as much as it was to prove I could be successful.”

Among his primary tasks at Indianapolis-based LINC Systems has been working with LINC’s sales leadership on a long-term plan to overhaul the company’s sales strategy for the future, and this spring the new model is scheduled to roll out in a couple of territories. “It’s kind of going back to the beginning to develop a lead-generation program,” he says, “but doing it in a modern, marketing-centric way.” 

The future model has several elements. First, an inside business development coordinator handles all administrative tasks and generates leads using customer relationship management (CRM) software and marketing, thus freeing key salespeople to focus exclusively on pursuing new opportunities. Next, the plan features a compensation package where, in place of traditional commission for individual sales, salespeople are given bonuses for reaching targets for new accounts and sales. “They’re compensated on their overall success rather than on individual commissions,” says DeMarco. 

The last component is a web-based solution for online ordering, invoice paying, and order status, so the customer has complete visibility at every part of the transaction. DeMarco is a strong believer in the importance of an e-commerce platform and an omnichannel experience for customers. He also makes sure the sales team is fully on board. “If a customer buys online, we consider the territory manager or salesperson the origin of that sale,” he says. “If they teach the customer to fish online, and they do it, great. The salesperson gets paid for it.” 

DeMarco will be a panelist at MDM’s Sales GPS Conference in Las Vegas next month. He has been an attendee at previous Sales GPS conferences and has had, he says, a few Eureka moments. One of these was a realization of the pace of generational change in the industry. 

“Last year at Sales GPS, one of the presentations talked about the maturing of salesforces,” he said. “And I realized that for our entire business salesforce, we can see 30 to 40 percent retiring within four or five years.” All of those retirees, and their customers, are being replaced by millennials, digital natives who can barely remember a world without online buying, e-commerce and the Internet. 

Whatever challenges that may bring, DeMarco is up for it. “Grow or die,” he says. “If you’re not learning, you’re burning.”

To learn more about MDM’s upcoming Sales GPS conference, to view the line-up of speakers, or to register, visit

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