The role of a salesperson is challenging, but whose job isn’t. Right?

The typical salesperson spends 80% of his or her time out of the office. There are trade shows, customer visits, and of course, transit times to consider. I know a salesperson who spends fully 20% of his time either on a plane or waiting for a plane in an airport. And that’s why the mobile revolution has taken hold in our society. More and more workers need mobile, flexible solutions for how to get their jobs done. And, they need our support working this way.

We’ve largely done a good job of connecting on-the-go workers to each other — providing access to phone and email via mobile devices. But that’s not enough. Mobile workers also need to be connected to their data, with the ability to access the right information and the right person at the right time on the right device. Companies send salespeople out on the road and those salespeople must be able to do their job —right at the time they are selling. To better support this mobile sales force, let’s examine the basis for the resources they’ll need.

Trust of data

There is nothing like going into a meeting with a spreadsheet that you have spent a couple of hours on, and then everybody else walks in with the spreadsheets they have spent a couple of hours on. Consequently, you spend most of the meeting time trying to figure out whose numbers are correct — and very little time getting something accomplished. (Everybody loves meetings, right? Yeah.) My ideal is that when you go to a meeting, everybody has the same numbers. Then, you can do business, collaborate, and get business done faster.

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The Future of AI in B2B Distribution

The Future of AI in B2B Distribution. Hand presses on world map with social media,Truck with Industrial Container Cargo for Logistic Import Export at yard (Elements of this image furnished by NASA)

The B2B distribution industry was not prepared for the entrance of “Amazon Business” in 2015. The industry has been disrupted by Silicon Valley because it was not technologically equipped and cannot keep up with the heavy automation and artificial intelligence of Amazon.

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This difference is nothing new as, “many technologies pioneered in retail have ‘trickled down’ to distribution over time,” but the threat against B2B distributors is more ominous than ever before and companies will have to innovate to stay relevant in our rapidly digitizing age. (more…)

Artificial Intelligence and the Race Against Amazon.com

Artificial Intelligence and the Race Against Amazon.comIn 2018, Amazon’s dominance in the e-commerce market hit a new milestone. The online retail giant captured 50% of US retail e-commerce with $252 billion in sales. This is certainly a high-water mark for Amazon, but rivals are not standing idly by. Firms in the retail sector are working hard to harness data and digitize their distribution platform to chip away at Amazon’s enormous lead.

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Companies like Walmart, which now has a partnership with Google, are “testing the notion that an enemy’s enemy is a friend” in a mad-dash to modernize their organizations. These changes span the spectrum of AI capabilities from greater control of data through analytics to autonomous drones that deliver packages. Kroger, JD.com, and Walmart are three companies making a particularly strong move to end Amazon’s digital dominance. Let’s take a look. (more…)

How to Quickly Profit from a Procurement Collaboration

Procurement collaboration. Online shopping/ecommerce and delivery service concept

Procurement collaborations – also known as group purchasing organizations – are the way towards driving profits. By sharing expertise, knowledge, and volume, the benefits of setting up a collective procurement process delivers tremendous value towards your organization’s goals.

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However, some may believe that with these gains come substantial costs. With skeptics questioning the value of this process, how can a procurement collaboration prove its adept reputation? Let’s take a look. (more…)

Data Analytics: One Solution for Many Markets

Data analytics. Big data analytics and business intelligence (BI) concept with chart and graph icons on a digital screen interface and a businessman in backgroundWe live in a world of data. If you pay close attention, you will see everything around us is composed of numbers. Digits appear in their own patterns and sequences, creating something of a larger value. But how are we to know what it all means?

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A data analytics tool will make sense of the mystery. For some, integrating an analytics tool may sound intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. Analytics is vital towards understanding why your organization behaves the way it does and where your future is headed. (more…)

Inventory Analytics: Four Key Sales-Related Metrics to Watch

Key sales-related metrics. Woman using a barcode reader in a distribution warehouseThe ever-increasing digitization of the distribution business is generating ever-increasing amounts of data – and making it harder to discern which metrics are the most important for profitability and growth. For distributors, inventory is one of the most important drivers of success, thus underlining the need for insightful and actionable inventory analytics.

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In my last blog, I presented key metrics that track inventory alone and the interplay of inventory and employees. Today I will focus on inventory and sales numbers. Here are four metrics related to inventory and sales that will help distributors up their game. (more…)

Inventory Analytics: Two Sets of Metrics that Really Matter

Inventory analytics. Manager using digital tablet in warehouseDistribution is an intensely competitive business and inventory is key to determining profitability. Applying advanced analytics to inventory management is a savvy way for distributors to track their performance and gain insights that can fuel profitability and growth.

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There now are more than 30 metrics distributors can use to gauge their performance. I like to group inventory metrics into three sets: those concerned with inventory only, those that focus on the interplay of inventory and people, and those that track inventory with sales. Let’s take a closer look at the first two categories and how they can improve distributors’ performance. (more…)

Inventory Analytics: Laying the Foundation of Your Business

inventory analyticsAny business understands the power of data. Hard numbers lay the groundwork for the organization, holding up and supporting every wall and beam. Just as with an actual building, it’s important to put thought into the foundation. If you don’t properly consider this “design” phase, how do you know how your foundation will hold up?

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One critical data piece for a business to track from the start is its inventory. What’s moving? What isn’t? How long are products in inventory for? It’s important to understand these pieces of information in order to control costs and capture revenue. Here’s how organizations can use inventory analytics as a tool to meet and design their end goals. (more…)

How Analytics Saved Fieldale Farms $170K Per Year

fieldale farms, chickenThe tight U.S. labor market and uncertainty about corn and soybean prices are dual challenges for U.S. farmers and food producers this year. Compensation costs are up, making it tough for many companies to find the skilled workers they need. And while overall feed prices are down slightly, international tariff talk is unsettling and fueling uncertainty throughout the industry.

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With these two factors largely out of its control, Fieldale Farms, a Georgia-based poultry producer, is using analytics to improve its margins where it can. Here is a look at the company’s efforts and its impressive results. (more…)

3 Critical Metrics for Distributors

3 Critical Metrics for Wine & Spirits DistributorsThere’s no shortage of data and information. It’s everywhere. But how can you make data useful in order to make better decisions? That’s the hard part.

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There are several key metrics that distributors should track in order to improve their businesses. Following are three of these metrics, with examples of reports that Dimensional Insight has developed for our wine and spirits distributors so that they can be easily accessed and analyzed. (more…)

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