The landscape is rapidly changing in the wholesale industry. The competitive field is internationalizing, margins continue to be under pressure, and e-business is increasingly gaining ground. Although internet orders currently only account for 20% of sales, this share is expected to grow significantly in the coming years.
That's why many companies are already developing an online strategy. In the challenges facing the industry, this could be one of the ways to find distinctive capability.
Fortunately, few wholesale companies resort solely to price as a tool. They prefer to distinguish themselves in assortment, flexibility, and innovation.
The focus of most wholesale companies is on retaining and expanding existing customer relationships through cross-selling and upselling. They also focus strongly on developing new products to further penetrate existing markets. For segmenting the customer base, they use a mix of variables, including revenue, customer potential, margin, and customer satisfaction.
What is often (still) missing is a targeted account planning clearly aligned with customer segments and expectations. To prevent the existing customer potential from being almost fully utilized in the long term or the dependence on a limited number of customers becoming too great, it is important to continue activities aimed at new business.
Numerical management remains important for the wholesale sector. Revenue is the key performance indicator for managing sales. Coaching on the job also happens based on key KPIs. Aspects like international business and encouraging online sales still receive relatively little attention in training. Yet, better management of sales staff ranks fourth on the list of important quick wins to be achieved in sales. The leaders of the list are more strategic in nature.
By focusing more on the right target group(s) and improving the sales strategy with clearer goals for all sales staff, the industry hopes to make the sales organization more successful in the coming period.
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