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Recommended Reading: Top 5 Most-Read Articles in 1Q

Online strategy, succession planning remain top of mind for distributors.
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Online strategy continues to be top of mind for distributors. From compiling and presenting usable data in online stores to the role of social media in the business-to-business space, there are still many challenges distributors need to overcome.

Also during the first quarter of 2015, distributors were looking forward, planning for the future of their companies even if they will no longer be in a leadership role.

Here are the top five articles on mdm.com from the first quarter:

1. Grainger Tackles the Data Challenge – E-commerce remains a priority for Grainger, as sales through online channels continue to grow. I spoke with Paul Miller, vice president of global e-commerce, customer information and innovation for Grainger, at the company's 2015 trade show for employees, customers and suppliers. Miller discussed how the $10 billion distributor is addressing data challenges that come from having such a broad portfolio and how it works to streamline the process for customers.

2. Top 10 Trends to Watch in 2015– MDM's annual look at the key trends affecting how distributors will do business included e-commerce, hiring and retaining good workers, and supply chain disruptions, among others.

3. Making the Case for Social Media in B2B – With the right plan in place, a broad social media campaign can attract younger workers while also strengthening a company’s brand and bottom line. But many distributors still doubt the effectiveness of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube as channels for building business, a perception that could be costly in the long run.

4. Succession Planning: Executing the Strategy – Even if a company has a vision, strategy and talent for its succession plan, challenges remain for ensuring it will prosper beyond its current leadership. Distributors share their best practices for succession, from identifying talent to forming new C-suite positions to creating employee stock ownership plans. This article is part of our special report on Succession Planning in Distribution.

5. Mayer Electric: Protecting the 'Goose that Laid the Golden Egg' – Mayer Electric, Birmingham, AL, has been a family business since its founding in 1930. CEO Nancy Collat Goedecke spoke with me about the processes the family developed and the challenges they must overcome to keep the company healthy and thriving. This article also is part of our special report on Succession Planning in Distribution.

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