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Ransomware has evolved into a billion-dollar enterprise, affecting two-thirds of small to medium-size businesses in the past 12 months, the Ponemon Institute and Keeper Security reported in a recent study. Yet many in this group most often targeted by cybercriminals do not feel an imperative to make cybersecurity a priority. Blame it on the number of publicized attacks highlighting big companies, municipalities, or just about any organization in the healthcare sector and something even more prevalent: a false sense of security in data backup technology.

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Given increased global competition and the rise in digital as a major sales channel, a value proposition has never been more important for independent distributors today. Consolidation is also likely to accelerate over the next five years; distributors who have not differentiated will either get acquired or go out of business.

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There are well-known quick fixes an inventory management solution can bring to a distributor, such as cutting back on disappearing products or eliminating user error from incorrectly typed SKUs on a manual tracking spreadsheet. But the data available from inventory management platforms can also present a long-term strategic opportunity in the form of improved demand planning, exposure of costly trends and even visibility into competitors share of customer spend.

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Most distributors dont view their inside sales team as a proactive sales force. Its relatively rare for inside sales reps to make outbound calls to generate more business or to employ active selling techniques. In fact, in a survey, nearly two-thirds of distributor respondents told Real Results Marketing their inside sales force spends less than 25% of their time proactively selling.

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We saw a dramatic shift in 2017 and 2018 in the amount of revenue coming through e-business channels for distributors in part due to a lower barrier to entry for smaller companies. Platform costs are less expensive, better product data is available and distributors in general have more know-how around how to use these technologies.

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