Subscribe or listen to the MDM Podcast on iTunes, Google Play Music, or Spotify.

Shift7 Digital CEO Andrew Walker draws on his extensive B2B consulting experience with distributors and manufacturers — including Global Industrial — to share what makes for an effective technology strategy. Listen to hear why a product-first focus doesn’t work in distribution e-commerce, the benefits of content storytelling and other ways to differentiate your company’s online experience.

In this episode, Al Bates, principal of Distribution Performance Project and guru of financial performance benchmarking, shares three factors for how smaller distributors can gain competitive advantage against larger competitors as he sees high-touch customer opportunities developing. He also discusses why he wrote his latest book, Profit Guide for the Small Distributor, where he details a profit-first methodology and playbook.

Profitability, pricing and supply chain strategy consultant Jonathan Byrnes discusses the core concepts from his latest book on how distributors can target profitable customer segments and create differentiated services and experiences that can’t be replicated by the tech giants. He outlines a roadmap and most important steps to take now to reclaim control of your markets.

Former distribution CMO and expert in B2B customer loyalty programs Doug Press believes the core differentiators distributors have always had are the personal, deeply engaged relationships with customers. We talk about the strategy, tactics, monetization and metrics for how to best translate that critical asset post-pandemic into the realm of online engagement.
With a bright outlook shaping 2021 for pandemic and economic recovery, now is a critical time to look hard at what a distributor’s new value proposition looks like. Mark Dancer talks about what distributors are learning as they compete more effectively in the digital age, and the three emerging business models shaping the future of distribution.
In this conversation, President & CEO Jeff Cloud shares how this 72-year-old Midwest distributor with 36 locations has navigated the challenges of 2020 and continues to build a more digital- and data-driven organization. As part of the third-generation leadership team, Jeff talks about the core values and culture that continue to form its differentiated value propositions across a diverse customer base.

In this episode, MDM Future Leader Matt Miller, VP of Corporate Development at Jupiter Communications, discusses four critical projects he led as Commercial Operations Manager at IEWC and the need to transform customer experience from the inside-out. As a Future Leader, Miller shares his perspective on attracting top emerging talent, and the future of distribution.

PART TWO: In this episode, industry consultant (and MDM contributor across five decades!) Bruce Merrifield discusses post-COVID-19 scenarios for distributors and the imperatives to transform into more customer-centric, profit-driven entities to compete effectively with digital sellers. Key question: What if customers want digital first, then virtual support as needed, and finally physical visits by the “experts” they select? What will you and your assigned, regular-calling rep do?

As veterans of the B2B e-commerce world, Brian Beck and Andy Hoar know a boring online presentation when they see one. That’s why the pair are framing their new MasterB2B online video series as “the un-webinar.” Launching March 30, the series of un-webinars will unfold approximately every three weeks, providing distributors, manufacturers and other industry stakeholders with the tools and insider knowledge needed to run a successful e-commerce operation.

Visit masterb2b.com/ for more information.

PART ONE: In this episode, industry consultant (and MDM contributor across five decades!) Bruce Merrifield discusses post-COVID scenarios for distributors and the imperatives to transform into more customer-centric, profit-driven entities to compete effectively with digital sellers. Key question: What if customers want digital first, then virtual support as needed, and finally physical visits by the “experts” they select? What will you and your assigned, regular-calling rep do? 

In this episode, longtime M&A advisor Brent Grover shares his perspectives on how distribution M&A markets are shaping up in 2021. Short story: Financial buyers may have the edge over strategic acquirers, and overall buyers may want to be more patient than most sellers like this year. But as in every previous cycle, there are great opportunities across these highly fragmented markets.

In this episode, Brian Gardner, founder of SalesProcess360, demystifies the Sales Process Audit that industrial sales organizations can implement to get ROI from CRM. While CRM can be an impactful technology, Gardner stresses that organizations need the right processes in place to capitalize on their CRM investment. With over 25 years of experience in sales management and CRM, hear Gardner’s insight on how companies at all stages can get the most out of their sales process.

Over the course of a 50-year career at F.W. Webb, a diversified HVACR, plumbing and PVF distributor serving nine Northeast states, Ernie Coutermarsh has made an incredible impact on the industry, business associates and the lives of so many he has touched. In this interview, Ernie shares his thoughts on leadership, innovation, talent development and much more.

In this June 12, 2020 segment of MDM LIVE, John Caplan, President, North America & Europe, Alibaba.com, urges distributors to drive digital in their businesses and the need for a marketplace strategy going forward. Hear much more from Caplan — including inspiration for taking your business digital, tips on getting started with Alibaba.com and practical advice on how to sell internationally.

In this June 5, 2020 segment of MDM LIVE, Barry Litwin, CEO of Systemax, parent of Global Industrial, talks about the company’s ongoing digital transformation, online customer service and how they are helping their customers prepare to recover from the impacts of COVID-19 with its R3 (Restore, Return, Rebound) program.

Jonathan Byrnes, senior lecturer at MIT and founding chairman of Profit Isle, a profit acceleration SaaS company, talks about the key elements of profit segmentation to manage the shocks of the pandemic and strengthen customer relationships – better defined customer service levels by profitability, smart product substitution and inventory management, digital transformation and setting up resilient supply chain systems.

In this special one-hour edition of MDM LIVE (May 29, 2020), hear the latest intel on how distributors are shifting from face-to-face to low-touch sales engagement – remote selling, resetting roles for outside/inside/customer service teams, building a more digitally-enabled sales force, sales comp challenges, analytics and more.

Over the last few years, Milwaukee-based HVACR distributor Gustave A. Larson Co. has implemented an agile management operating system, revised its sales model and refocusing service offerings. From the May 22, 2020 MDM LIVE episode, hear CEO Andrew Larson talk about how these work-in-progress transformation efforts have positioned the 430-employee company to weather the immediate impacts of the pandemic, and to accelerate growth going forward.

Products, features and benefits. How are we doing (or not doing) on monthly goals set up with Supplier A or Supplier B? These are the day-to-day conversations that, while particularly urgent in the current uncharted pandemic-infested waters, can get in the way of deeper strategic conversations about how to create more value for customers. In this third podcast of our three-part series on innovation, Dorn Group’s J Schneider maps how to rethink your business model to build a more customer-centric and innovative organization.

In this second of our three-part conversation on innovation in distribution, J Schneider of strategy and consulting firm Dorn joins host Tom Gale to discuss what innovation looks like in 2020 for distributors and manufacturers. In this episode, we look at the ways smaller distributors often have an advantage to identify opportunities for innovation, the need to be selective in building manufacturer-distributor partnerships around a shared vision for innovation, and how to build a culture of innovation.

While this privately-held industrial supplier with more than 300 employees may not be a Harvard Business School case study in management structure, the three-brother leadership team has managed to buck the odds of many third-generation businesses by nurturing an entrepreneurial culture in an 85-year-old company. Listen to Doug Ruggles share what’s worked to drive growth with a customer-centric solutions approach.


In the first of a three-part series, J Schneider, Vice President of Strategy for Dorn, a strategy and consulting firm located just outside Chicago, discusses how distributors and manufacturers can develop new innovations. In addition to outlining varieties of product, service and delivery innovations, he talks about how to drive growth by building a culture of innovation defined by customer needs.

Investment Banking Directory

The MDM Investment Banks in Distribution directory is a listing of firms with expertise in the wholesale distribution industry.