Bruce Merrifield, President — Merrifield Consulting
•competitive strategy •order fullfilment •distribution management best practices •profit training •big data •profit strategy •management strategies •new opportunities for distribution industry
Wednesday, April 18, 2018—In this video interview, Randy MacLean and Bruce Merrifield discuss tactics with the potential to redefine your relationship with customers. This includes a 9-step process aimed at transforming a transactional relationship with an account into a partnership.
This 9-step process is targeted towards high gross profit, high velocity accounts.
"It's easy to say that a client needs to take their 5 best and 5 worst accounts to a new level," Bruce explained. "However, many clients are at a loss how to go about it. A while back, I wrote a 26 page guide which explains the process in great detail."
"This advice can be simplified into a core 9-step process," Bruce continued. "The first thing you need to do is qualify that the account is big enough. If you've done a 5-5-5 Report and looked at your big winners and losers, you've already qualified the accounts. The second step – which involves cultivating and penetrating the account – is also already done if you've gone through the 5-5-5 Report."
The next step involves doing a customer audit or walk-through of their organization. Some of our clients are hesitant to try this because they don't know how to begin the conversation.
"I have lots of verbiage in the 26 page document when it comes to things you can say," Bruce said. "The most important element is authenticity. You want to be clear about how you want to follow your product through their organization to find places where problems or delays may be costing both of your companies either time or money."
The goal is to reduce friction and errors by gaining a better understanding of their systems. This allows you to remove many of the frustrations that employees on both sides may be experiencing. Because you've never done this process before, you're virtually guaranteed to find room for improvement.
This is followed by an in-depth analysis where you'll use statistical purchasing math to identify empty activity; for example, your customer may be placing 2 or 3 orders a week for something that logistically could be performed in a single order. After this, you can come back with a proposal.
"In many cases, you'll identify opportunities to put in systems that improve the customer's processes," Bruce said. "This may come in the form of a new inventory management system that organizes items more efficiently and enables easier re-ordering. Maybe it's additional on-site storage solutions so you don't need to replenish a supply as often."
"Who's going to implement these solutions?" Bruce asked. "You can volunteer to handle it yourself. This can work out especially well because you can set things up exactly as you want them. You can quote the customer a negotiable fee for the service or, if they're an outstanding customer, you may even offer to do it for free."
The process doesn't end with putting the solution into place. Now you need to monitor to ensure that it's working and to make appropriate changes when needed.
"The final steps involve documentation," Bruce said. "This involves collecting data demonstrating improvements in performance as well as getting testimonials from your customers. You want people from various departments to discuss how these solutions have helped them and describe the ways that your company has done a great job."
"These testimonials and documents are aimed at more than just finding you new customers," Bruce continued. "At this point, you're selling a bottom-up sales chain. As people get promoted and replaced, the new managers might not see the value that your company is providing them. They could be lured by a competitor's promise to do the same thing and give them an extra 2% off."
"When that happens, you can simply show those new managers your documentation," Bruce said. "These testimonials will show that your solutions are making life easier for a lot of people at their company and the way that your company is integrated with theirs makes purchasing that much more efficient. All of this evidence may intimidate the new managers who might not understand exactly how much effort would be involved in a change."
The benefit of this system is that not only does it improve the way you do business, saving a lot of money for both companies, but it creates an incredible entry barrier for any competitor looking to steal the account.
When your systems are closely integrated, you're providing a solution that competitors can't hope to immediately match and, more importantly, would cause headaches for your customer's people. You'll often find your customer's employees going to bat for your company to avoid those kinds of inconveniences.
For more information about Bruce Merrifield, visit: www.merrifieldact2.com
The 1st of 3 lists defining the markers of Distribution companies outpacing their peers.
Steve Epner and Randy MacLean discuss topics from Steve's book. In this video: How to Innovate.
The top business know not only how to innovate, but where to spot opportunities where innovation will bring the greatest results.
Companies are developing more and more sophisticated approaches to sales compensation and here Bruce Merrifield and Randy MacLean examine the trends.
Webinar: Quantum Sales Compensation - How to Create a powerful new kind of sales incentive plan
Use profit analytics to help drive radical profit gains by balancing volume, margin and service costs for every account, doubling and tripling territory profits
Discussion of how the most successful companies are adopting specialized sales functions, achieving superior results.
Managing Product Line Profits shows how operations can have a significant impact on net profit and examines Peak Internal Profit, accumulated profit and more
Randy MacLean and Bruce Merrifield of WayPoint Analytics discuss profit value-based customer segmentation.
A discussion of the benefits of segmentation and how this approach can help distributors achieve far greater levels of profitability.
Top companies like Amazon can leverage big data to predict consumer buying habits. Bruce Merrifield discusses how you can do this too!
Most distributors have naturally occurring, high gross margin percentage accounts and high gross margin percentage (small dollar pick) SKUs.
How to identify and protect the accounts at the core of profits.
Randy MacLean and Bruce Merrifield sit down for a talk about the issues and opportunities, tactics and strategies for increasing profit performance.
Continuance of the Enterprise Account Selling Model video series. Refers to a preceding video. Drawn from Bruce's presentation at APIC on March 1, 2016.
A continuation of the discussion between Bruce Merrifield and Randy MacLean over Bruce's Enterprise Account Selling Model (part 2).
Bruce Merrifield and Randy MacLean discuss Bruce's Enterprise Account Selling Model, as presented at APIC on March 1, 2016.
Using the negotiation process to achieve CTS savings, allowing you to offer your customers lower prices while leaving the table with a larger profit.
Customer whale curves are a great opportunity to view the overall picture of your customer profitability and apply appropriate sales models to each
Bruce Merrifield discusses the Wheel of Learning and how this simple tool can catapult you forward with innovative thinking.
This video by Bruce Merrifield and Randy MacLean describes why you can't rely solely on gross margin to determine profitability.
An in-depth look at some historical limitations to sales compensation, and why those factors no longer apply with the availability of LIPA.
Randy MacLean discusses the value and utility of segmenting your customer accounts.
A fixation on gross margin – without looking at cost-to-serve (CTS) – has blinded countless distributors and limited their ability to achieve profitability.
Learn how this distributor was able to massively ramp up its profitability even as it lost many of its customers.
Learn why distributors can't simply rely on gross margin when determining whether a sale will add to the bottom line.
Randy MacLean talks about the emergence of a new sales strategy.
A discussion on how little extras can sometimes add up to a lot of infrastructure cost in wholesale distribution companies.
Randy MacLean discusses key profitability metrics for QPM.
Randy and Bruce explain why it's important to optimize inventory in the same way you optimize personnel and other resources toward the best profit opportunities
In this video, Bruce Merrifield turns the tables on Waypoint President Randy MacLean, and asks Randy to strategize on how to beat the competition.
Randy discusses the benefits of the extraordinarily valuable High Volume Account Report.
A discussion of the perils of a cookie cutter approach when it comes to sales and service in the wholesale distribution industry.
Bruce Merrifield of WayPoint Analytics teaches the importance of customer segmentation and the insights it can offer your distribution company.
It's not necessary to compete with AmazonSupply on pricing when you've got your ordering and delivery systems, fill rates and customer service at a high level.
Randy MacLean introduces the core principles of QPM and illustrates how it's the most effective way to run a business.
Have you had trouble conveying the importance of CTS to your team? Learn how this course provides an affordable and convenient educational solution.
What is the value of the APIC conference for a business, and why does it stand out above other education programs?
Getting Results with a Customer Audit
Bruce Merrifield and Randy MacLean discuss profit strategies for wholesale distributors that will raise their cost-to-serve and profits.
Webinar: Quantum Sales Compensation Plan Part 2
Webinar: Quantum Sales Compensation: Designing Your Plan
Webinar: Quantum Sales Compensation for the Wholesale Distribution Industry: Launching Your Plan