There are a lot of reasons why growing sales is a challenge today. The "new normal" isn't enough to keep shareholders or suppliers happy, new competitors are accessing your markets in new ways, and distributors fear the loss of knowledge and relationships as the workforce continues to age and retire.
"But it's actually a great time to be a distributor," said Steve Deist, principal at Indian River Consulting Group. These challenges can be overcome, he said, if you identify and close the market gaps within your company.
Deist and Mike Emerson, also a principal at IRCG, were featured in this month's Executive Briefing.
"Essentially what you're doing with this process is you’re saying there are places where our customers want certain things from us, and there are places where we may providing too much of those services and places where we're providing too little," Deist said. This imbalance is a market gap.
Market gaps will vary from distributor to distributor because each distributor is different in terms of the value proposition it provides, Emerson says. It's not about customer behavior, because "customers are relatively static in terms of how they behave," he said. Instead, it's a close evaluation of how your abilities and core competencies can help address the needs of those customers.
Identifying and closing the market gaps can pay huge dividends, Emerson says. One company IRCG recently worked with saw a 30 percent increase in revenue without increasing headcount by reorganizing its sales force to specifically address an identified gap.
"Every time we go through this process, the answer is always different, not necessarily because the customers are different but because the position of the distributor has always been different," Emerson says. But every answer has returned positive results.
Learn more about how to identify and close market gaps in the latest episode of Executive Briefing. Watch now.