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To provide the right data and information to customer-facing employees, a distributor should invest in the human capital necessary to do so, according to IBM's Guy Blissett, author of the latest Facing the Forces of Change book from the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors.
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"Analytics is very data-driven and increasingly enabled by software to get that analysis done quickly and at a different level than before," he said in an interview with MDM, Fight the Legacy of IT. "… Doing the analysis is one thing – but being able to use that analysis in your business requires some new skills and capabilities on the personnel side and new organizational considerations."
And more than ever, data and information are critical to gain a competitive advantage. Salespeople and other customer service representatives need to have deep insights on the customer and what is going on in the marketplace, he said. The key is being able to use the available data properly and not follow the numbers blindly.
To effectively use analytics, a distributor must first have or recruit the right skill set in-house. The next generation is more technologically savvy than ever before, so setting a focus on building these skills and being open to new tools that will help them do this analysis is critical to drawing the talent you'll need to use data effectively.