Vertical: Chemical, Foodservice, Lubricant & Industrial Wholesale Distribution 

A distributor in the chemical, foodservice, lubricant and industrial space wanted to drive profitable growth by enabling their salesforce to make data-driven decisions.  

The Roadblock 

The sales team was struggling in several areas due to lack of information and analytics:  

  • Over-discounting across the board, often due to lack of information around cost-to-serve. 
  • Struggling to cross-sell and up-sell due to lack of customer-specific recommendations. 
  • Struggling to allocate time optimally due to lack of customer analytics that measure net profit. 

How ActVantage Helped  

The distributor enlisted our services and we helped them deploy customer stratification to optimize their sales strategy. We used actionable sales intelligence from customer stratification to develop customer-specific growth playbooks. We also integrated the ActVantage analytics platform into the distributor’s CRM. 

Why customer-specific growth playbooks? The customer-specific playbooks provide a prescriptive guidance for salespeople to act upon rather than expecting them to analyze and act. Also, the customer-specific playbooks help salespeople shape the customer conversation with specific performance metrics such as days to pay or average delivery size.   

To ensure the success and sustainability of the analytics program, we: 

  • Coached sales managers to use customer analytics to drive growth 
  • Trained salespersons through micro-learning on: 
    • Which accounts to focus on
    • What to discuss with those accounts 
    • How to increase account penetration 
  • Provided quarterly updates of playbooks and ongoing training reinforcement 

What is customer stratification?  

Customer stratification involves analyzing customer data and behavior to determine the appropriate categories – and therefore treatment – for each. Common metrics include profitability and cost-to-serve. Categorizing customers and applying resources accordingly helps distributors operate more efficiently and identify high-value customers versus customers that drain value.  

The Difference 

The distributor was able to increase gross margin and revenue growth by:  

  • Improving sales force effectiveness 
  • Reducing CORE customer churn 
  • Growing wallet share 

About ActVantage 

At ActVantage, we are a people-centric industry partner. We help distributors drive profitable growth through analytics and talent development. We take a holistic approach, integrating people, process and technology to improve distributor performance in the following four areas, along with actionable playbooks for effective execution and ROI: 

  • Customer stratification  
  • Supplier performance 
  • Inventory management  
  • Pricing optimization 

We have conducted over 750 client engagements over the past 15 years, and we’ve provided coaching and micro-learning to thousands of professionals in the past 10 years. We apply field-tested principles which we also share in our seven best practice books published with the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors.  

Why ActVantage? We let our clients answer! 

Working with ActVantage via their Analytics Program helped our management team gain knowledge with real hands-on experience to implement cutting-edge best practices over an incredibly short period of time. We received the education, data enrichment, coaching, and playbooks from ActVantage to implement initiatives including a customer stratification model that will positively impact our strategic decisions and revenue for years to come. Joe Nolan, Vice President & General Manager, Gibson Engineering Co., Inc., AIT 

ActVantage provided us with tools that all levels of our distribution team can use to increase revenues and decrease costs. ActVantage analyzes and displays our data in a way that helps us focus on the details without losing sight of the big picture. We see positive results in all areas of customer interaction through their stratification strategies, and it’s required only a small investment in time and energy. Rex Eberly, Director of Technical Solutions (Retired), Bergkamp Inc.

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