From Sales-Driven to Customer-Driven

Author Steve Deist argues that distributors need to move beyond a sales-driven strategy and dig into what customers really want. Distributors can use that knowledge as the seed for a market-driven strategy that will result in long-term profitability.

Deist is a partner with Indian River Consulting Group. Learn more at

Most distributors are sales-driven companies – and proud of it. They are highly responsive to the needs of their various customers, and they rely heavily on long-term personal rep relationships. But while being sales-driven is certainly commendable, it is no longer enough.

A well-run sales-driven company can react quickly, but is unlikely to get ahead of changing customer requirements. A distributor that relies on its sales force as the primary window to its customers will always be challenged to create competitive differentiation. Sales reps are often too emotionally and financially...

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