As 2020 comes to an end, all of us are looking forward to the time that the effects of the COVID-19 global pandemic begin to subside. At this time, reports of multiple vaccines that may become available in early 2021 (or earlier) give us cause for hope that we will be able to circulate more freely and safely as we enjoy the benefits and pleasure of personal interaction. These interactions have been sorely missed by many. But we’ve all needed to adjust—and we recognize that the nature of conducting business is changed forever.
After the year we’ve all endured, it is understandable that business leaders take a deep breath to reflect and take stock on how our businesses have responded to unprecedented and disruptive events.
From our vantage point, we have been very impressed with the way that our members, suppliers and agency reps have responded to the many challenges faced. The level of responsiveness, flexibility, innovation and concern for the health and well-being of our colleagues has been inspirational—and will pay dividends for our future.
In this issue of IMARK Electrical Now, we feature articles on some of the key issues and challenges that are being faced by member, supplier and rep companies. We’d like to point out a few of these articles for your review:
- Given all the changes in customer “wants and needs,” now is a great time to review your company’s value proposition. Starting on page 26, authors Jonathan Bein and Debbie Paul of the Distribution Strategy Group argue that a relevant and updated company value proposition will differentiate your company in meaningful ways and is an essential platform for growth in sales and profits.
- Our regular contributor Frank Hurtte has written a column called Planning to Win in 2021—and Beyond. Frank has included many practical and relevant suggestions on the best ways for distributors to engage with manufacturers and customers in 2021. As always, Frank provides some great “food for thought.” This article starts on page 76.
- We reached out to key executives at leading agency rep firms. These folks explain how the sales and marketing functions are converging, an event that has been accelerated by the pandemic. As always, successful business leaders deal with the cards they’ve been dealt. Starting on page 48, our contributors share their ideas on how the sales function will evolve in ways that may be to the ultimate benefit of all parties concerned.
- On page 38, we feature a roundtable consisting of marketing and communication execs from some leading IMARK supplier companies. These (and many other) companies are consistently developing high quality e-content that can be deployed by reps and distributors throughout the selling process. IMARK members that recognize and make the most effective use of these e-resources will add value to customers as they maintain a competitive advantage.
These are just a few of the articles in this edition that we hope will be informative, thought provoking and action spurring. Also, don’t forget that our digital and interactive edition is available at imarknow.imarkelectrical.com.