FALL 2019 EDITION

IMARK Electrical Members Surveyed on Best-in-Class Distribute Attributes

The members of the IMARK Electrical FUTURES Task Force have been asked to identify some of the attributes of market-leading distributors in the following areas:
  • Staying close (and getting closer) to your customers
  • Getting paid for services rendered
  • Building (and retaining) the workforce you’ll need to win
  • Using your company’s data to identify the most profitable sales opportunities
In total, the IMARK Electrical FUTURES Task Force came up with 31 attributes of market-leading distributors.

IMARK conducted a survey in October 2019 and asked members to assess the relevance and attractiveness of each of the 31 attributes as they pertain to their companies.

Two hundred and twenty-five IMARK Electrical member executives completed the survey.

The overall results of the survey are provided below, as well as a breakdown of survey results based on company size.

For more information on the survey, please contact Steve Ruane of IMARK Electrical at sruane@imarkgroup.com.

1. Do you survey your customers on a consistent basis to uncover their 'pain points,' wants, needs, likes, dislikes, etc.?
 
$1M - $10.9M
$11M - $49.9M
>$50M
Total Responses
We currently do this
30.0
16.7
32.2
25.6
This idea has merit and we could consider doing this in the future
42.5
48.8
25.4
40.4
We previously did this but are not doing it at the present time
18.8
27.4
40.7
27.8
We are not doing this now nor in the foreseeable future
8.8
7.1
1.7
6.3
2. Would you establish and convene a customer advisory group on a regular basis?
 
$1M - $10.9M
$11M - $49.9M
>$50M
Total Responses
We currently do this
7.6
4.8
11.9
7.7
This idea has merit and we could consider doing this in the future
39.2
59.5
55.9
51.4
We previously did this but are not doing it at the present time
5.1
4.8
13.6
7.2
We are not doing this now nor in the foreseeable future
48.1
31.0
18.6
33.8
3. Do you offer multiple ‘touch points’ for customers (in-person, phone, email, text, webstore, passwordprotected portal on your website)?
 
$1M - $10.9M
$11M - $49.9M
>$50M
Total Responses
We currently do this
33.8
42.9
79.7
49.3
This idea has merit and we could consider doing this in the future
48.8
44.0
16.9
38.6
We previously did this but are not doing it at the present time
2.5
3.6
1.7
2.7
We are not doing this now nor in the foreseeable future
15.0
9.5
1.7
9.4
4. Do you establish and promote service levels in response to customers who have extremely high expectations for order fulfillment?
 
$1M - $10.9M
$11M - $49.9M
>$50M
Total Responses
We currently do this
50.0
51.2
66.1
54.7
This idea has merit and we could consider doing this in the future
27.5
33.3
28.8
30.0
We previously did this but are not doing it at the present time
7.5
4.8
3.4
5.4
We are not doing this now nor in the foreseeable future
15.0
10.7
1.7
9.9
5. Do you personalize customer communications to ensure relevance of messaging as opposed to broadcasting every message to everyone?
 
$1M - $10.9M
$11M - $49.9M
>$50M
Total Responses
We currently do this
13.8
21.4
42.4
24.2
This idea has merit and we could consider doing this in the future
57.5
61.9
49.2
57.0
We previously did this but are not doing it at the present time
3.8
3.6
3.4
3.6
We are not doing this now nor in the foreseeable future
25.0
13.1
5.1
15.2
6. Do you use texting for customer communications to inform customers of special events, promotions, new products, etc.?
 
$1M - $10.9M
$11M - $49.9M
>$50M
Total Responses
We currently do this
35.0
25.0
39.0
32.3
This idea has merit and we could consider doing this in the future
38.8
51.2
49.2
46.2
We previously did this but are not doing it at the present time
1.3
1.2
0.0
0.9
We are not doing this now nor in the foreseeable future
25.0
22.6
11.9
20.6
7. Do you develop video content pertaining to your company for placement on your website, social media platforms, elsewhere that is engaging, informational and authentic?
 
$1M - $10.9M
$11M - $49.9M
>$50M
Total Responses
We currently do this
5.0
19.0
54.2
23.3
This idea has merit and we could consider doing this in the future
55.0
45.2
32.2
45.3
We previously did this but are not doing it at the present time
2.5
10.7
5.1
6.3
We are not doing this now nor in the foreseeable future
37.5
25.0
8.5
25.1
8. Do you offer “machine-to-machine” communications between your customers’ estimating software and your company’s ERP system?
 
$1M - $10.9M
$11M - $49.9M
>$50M
Total Responses
We currently do this
1.3
11.9
50.8
18.4
This idea has merit and we could consider doing this in the future
30.0
41.7
35.6
35.9
We previously did this but are not doing it at the present time
1.3
2.4
1.7
1.8
We are not doing this now nor in the foreseeable future
67.5
44.0
11.9
43.9
9. Do you develop apps to enhance customer service? For example, do you offer an app that allows customers to text orders or questions to an inside sales/customer service team for quick responses?
 
$1M - $10.9M
$11M - $49.9M
>$50M
Total Responses
We currently do this
8.8
8.3
45.8
18.4
This idea has merit and we could consider doing this in the future
52.5
71.4
44.1
57.4
We previously did this but are not doing it at the present time
0.0
1.2
3.4
1.3
We are not doing this now nor in the foreseeable future
38.8
19.0
6.8
22.9
10. Do you develop a list of services your company provides for internal or external use?
 
$1M - $10.9M
$11M - $49.9M
>$50M
Total Responses
We currently do this
26.3
39.3
66.1
41.7
This idea has merit and we could consider doing this in the future
46.3
47.6
27.1
41.7
We previously did this but are not doing it at the present time
7.5
7.1
0.0
5.4
We are not doing this now nor in the foreseeable future
20.0
6.0
6.8
11.2
11. Do you actively seek opportunities to reduce duplication of efforts, increase efficiencies and explore potential opportunities to shift work from customers to distributors and get paid for doing so?
 
$1M - $10.9M
$11M - $49.9M
>$50M
Total Responses
We currently do this
23.8
32.1
59.3
36.3
This idea has merit and we could consider doing this in the future
51.3
45.2
35.6
44.8
We previously did this but are not doing it at the present time
5.0
6.0
0.0
4.0
We are not doing this now nor in the foreseeable future
20.0
16.7
5.1
14.8
12. Are you a value-metric supplier? Do you log and measure the worth of what your company does to positively impact your customers’ profitability, productivity, safety, etc.?
 
$1M - $10.9M
$11M - $49.9M
>$50M
Total Responses
We currently do this
10.0
3.6
28.8
12.6
This idea has merit and we could consider doing this in the future
48.8
66.7
62.7
59.2
We previously did this but are not doing it at the present time
1.3
2.4
1.7
1.8
We are not doing this now nor in the foreseeable future
40.0
27.4
6.8
26.5
13. Do you train sales reps and all customer service personnel how to offer/sell solutions, help them understand the value of your company’s services and how to shift discussions with some customers from product cost to installed cost?
 
$1M - $10.9M
$11M - $49.9M
>$50M
Total Responses
We currently do this
28.8
41.7
61.0
42.2
This idea has merit and we could consider doing this in the future
47.5
45.2
23.7
40.4
We previously did this but are not doing it at the present time
5.0
4.8
5.1
4.9
We are not doing this now nor in the foreseeable future
18.8
8.3
10.2
12.6
14. Do you develop a price list of services, or pricing framework, for some of the most important services you provide and share it internally and/or externally with some customers?
 
$1M - $10.9M
$11M - $49.9M
>$50M
Total Responses
We currently do this
15.0
19.0
32.2
21.1
This idea has merit and we could consider doing this in the future
47.5
52.4
44.1
48.4
We previously did this but are not doing it at the present time
5.0
4.8
3.4
4.5
We are not doing this now nor in the foreseeable future
32.5
23.8
20.3
26.0
15. Do you determine which customers should pay for services, establish and communicate guidelines (internally) that would govern when your company would charge a customer for services?
 
$1M - $10.9M
$11M - $49.9M
>$50M
Total Responses
We currently do this
33.8
29.8
33.9
32.3
This idea has merit and we could consider doing this in the future
38.8
47.6
52.5
45.7
We previously did this but are not doing it at the present time
3.8
2.4
0.0
2.2
We are not doing this now nor in the foreseeable future
23.8
20.2
13.6
19.7
16. Do you develop marketing collateral for key services that explains how they can positively impact customer productivity, profitability, etc.?
 
$1M - $10.9M
$11M - $49.9M
>$50M
Total Responses
We currently do this
10.0
21.4
59.3
27.4
This idea has merit and we could consider doing this in the future
53.8
59.5
28.8
49.3
We previously did this but are not doing it at the present time
7.5
3.6
1.7
4.5
We are not doing this now nor in the foreseeable future
28.8
15.5
10.2
18.8
17. Do you develop a framework to capture (or estimate) the costs of services provided and add it into the cost of products?
 
$1M - $10.9M
$11M - $49.9M
>$50M
Total Responses
We currently do this
22.5
16.7
28.8
22.0
This idea has merit and we could consider doing this in the future
37.5
57.1
54.2
49.3
We previously did this but are not doing it at the present time
2.5
6.0
3.4
4.0
We are not doing this now nor in the foreseeable future
37.5
20.2
13.6
24.7
18. Do you provide consistent and formal training to all employees regarding product/applications and professional skills development?
 
$1M - $10.9M
$11M - $49.9M
>$50M
Total Responses
We currently do this
57.5
60.7
76.3
63.7
This idea has merit and we could consider doing this in the future
30.0
34.5
16.9
28.3
We previously did this but are not doing it at the present time
6.3
3.6
1.7
4.0
We are not doing this now nor in the foreseeable future
6.3
1.2
5.1
4.0
19. Do you formally establish training expectations and track employee achievement?
 
$1M - $10.9M
$11M - $49.9M
>$50M
Total Responses
We currently do this
30.0
25.0
52.5
34.1
This idea has merit and we could consider doing this in the future
42.5
54.8
35.6
45.3
We previously did this but are not doing it at the present time
11.3
9.5
8.5
9.9
We are not doing this now nor in the foreseeable future
16.3
10.7
3.4
10.8
20. Do you offer modest incentives/rewards to spur employees to increase knowledge?
 
$1M - $10.9M
$11M - $49.9M
>$50M
Total Responses
We currently do this
37.5
46.4
57.6
46.2
This idea has merit and we could consider doing this in the future
45.0
45.2
32.2
41.7
We previously did this but are not doing it at the present time
8.8
3.6
6.8
6.3
We are not doing this now nor in the foreseeable future
8.8
4.8
3.4
5.8
21. Do you have a structured process to help some or all employees understand the experience they will need and the available resources that can help them achieve their potential with your company?
 
$1M - $10.9M
$11M - $49.9M
>$50M
Total Responses
We currently do this
27.5
23.8
57.6
34.1
This idea has merit and we could consider doing this in the future
51.3
58/3
37.3
50.2
We previously did this but are not doing it at the present time
0.0
6.0
1.7
2.7
We are not doing this now nor in the foreseeable future
21.3
11.9
3.4
13.0
22. Do you pair younger and/or newer employees with an experienced mid or upper manager who can provide career development assistance?
 
$1M - $10.9M
$11M - $49.9M
>$50M
Total Responses
We currently do this
41.3
28.6
37.3
35.4
This idea has merit and we could consider doing this in the future
31.3
53.6
50.8
44.8
We previously did this but are not doing it at the present time
2.5
8.3
3.4
4.9
We are not doing this now nor in the foreseeable future
25.0
9.5
8.5
14.8
23. Do you place a high priority on the successful onboarding of new employees by designing and implementing a formal process for all new employees?
 
$1M - $10.9M
$11M - $49.9M
>$50M
Total Responses
We currently do this
21.3
29.8
49.2
31.8
This idea has merit and we could consider doing this in the future
50.0
53.6
49.2
51.1
We previously did this but are not doing it at the present time
8.8
4.8
0.0
4.9
We are not doing this now nor in the foreseeable future
20.0
11.9
1.7
12.1
24. Do you have a systematic hiring (screening, interviewing, hiring and onboarding) process that works well for your company?
 
$1M - $10.9M
$11M - $49.9M
>$50M
Total Responses
We currently do this
36.3
44.0
66.1
47.1
This idea has merit and we could consider doing this in the future
36.3
41.7
25.4
35.4
We previously did this but are not doing it at the present time
5.0
4.8
3.4
4.5
We are not doing this now nor in the foreseeable future
22.5
9.5
5.1
13.0
25. Do you develop how-to videos for current employees or for use while recruiting new employees?
 
$1M - $10.9M
$11M - $49.9M
>$50M
Total Responses
We currently do this
6.3
4.8
28.8
11.7
This idea has merit and we could consider doing this in the future
40.0
57.1
55.9
50.7
We previously did this but are not doing it at the present time
3.8
2.4
3.4
3.1
We are not doing this now nor in the foreseeable future
50.0
35.7
11.9
34/5
26. Do you have anyone serving as a data miner to seek opportunities to grow sales and/or improve margins?
 
$1M - $10.9M
$11M - $49.9M
>$50M
Total Responses
We currently do this
18.8
28.6
55.9
32.3
This idea has merit and we could consider doing this in the future
58.8
53.6
32.2
49.8
We previously did this but are not doing it at the present time
0.0
1.2
5.1
1.8
We are not doing this now nor in the foreseeable future
22.5
16.7
6.8
16.1
27. Do you create data dashboards that feature the most important data for key executives to easily access to identify ways to maximize profitability, increase cash flow, reduce expenses, increase market share, etc.?
 
$1M - $10.9M
$11M - $49.9M
>$50M
Total Responses
We currently do this
20.0
31.0
69.5
37.2
This idea has merit and we could consider doing this in the future
48.8
46.4
22.0
40.8
We previously did this but are not doing it at the present time
3.8
1.2
1.7
2.2
We are not doing this now nor in the foreseeable future
27.5
21.4
6.8
19.7
28. Do you invest in pricing software that can help maximize profitability on sales of B/C items among other things?
 
$1M - $10.9M
$11M - $49.9M
>$50M
Total Responses
We currently do this
31.3
31.0
55.9
37.7
This idea has merit and we could consider doing this in the future
37.5
44.0
22.0
35.9
We previously did this but are not doing it at the present time
6.3
7.1
10.2
7.6
We are not doing this now nor in the foreseeable future
25.0
17.9
11.9
18.8
29. Do you have a customer profitability database to determine the profitability of each customer from a net-profit perspective?
 
$1M - $10.9M
$11M - $49.9M
>$50M
Total Responses
We currently do this
36.3
32.1
49.2
38.1
This idea has merit and we could consider doing this in the future
52.5
51.2
33.9
47.1
We previously did this but are not doing it at the present time
1.3
8.3
10.2
6.3
We are not doing this now nor in the foreseeable future
10.0
8.3
6.8
8.5
30. Do you consistently analyze current sales to customers to determine what they buy from you—and what they don’t—in order to increase your share of the customer’s business?
 
$1M - $10.9M
$11M - $49.9M
>$50M
Total Responses
We currently do this
37.5
48.8
55.9
46.6
This idea has merit and we could consider doing this in the future
51.3
41.7
39.0
44.4
We previously did this but are not doing it at the present time
5.0
4.8
3.4
4.5
We are not doing this now nor in the foreseeable future
6.3
4.8
1.7
4.5
31. Do you have a “hit rate” report that aggregates sales and quotes by customer, vendor and product and determines the percentage for how often your quotes are converted to orders?
 
$1M - $10.9M
$11M - $49.9M
>$50M
Total Responses
We currently do this
18.8
19.0
49.2
26.9
This idea has merit and we could consider doing this in the future
58.8
69.0
44.1
58.7
We previously did this but are not doing it at the present time
3.8
1.2
1.7
2.2
We are not doing this now nor in the foreseeable future
18.8
10.7
5.1
12.1