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Priming the wholesale distribution revenue engine

Implementing an effective cross-selling strategy

​Evolving profitability challenges have sent the wholesale distribution industry into a period of flattening sales pipelines and slow revenue growth. Deloitte research has found that in times like these, laying a foundation of cross-selling and upselling to any sales strategy can significantly help drive enterprise value. While this seems like a pretty simple fix, overcoming organizational, analytical, and execution hurdles to implement such a foundation is no easy feat. Discover the difference of the right approach with a clearly defined strategy and proper guidance can make in your organization.

Priming revenue growth in wholesale distribution

Under current conditions, wholesale distributors should focus on cross-selling and upselling as a strategic capability to drive enterprise value. Most are familiar with the basic concept, but truly institutionalizing cross-selling as a fundamental element of the sales process can present a tremendous opportunity while creating an even greater challenge.

Deloitte’s most recent industry survey illustrates that while many wholesale distributors see cross-selling as a priority, they are also challenged to overcome organizational, analytics, and execution hurdles.

We’ve helped to solve these challenges for numerous companies with a clearly defined approach that:

  • Identifies high probability targets through analytical modeling
  • Leverages industry and sales organizational experience to define a tailored program
  • Aligns and communicates results and incentives to reinforce adoption and desired behaviors across the organization
  • Drives disciplined execution across business units and geographies

Companies with significant internal barriers or unrealized synergies across sales organizations can expand their operating margins with the right approach, a clearly defined strategy, and proper guidance.

Almost all wholesale distributors have launched cross-selling efforts in the past. However, in our experience, most companies have yet to achieve significant benefits from it. For example, some companies typically do not focus on developing cross-selling as a strategic capability to drive enterprise value.

Most cross-selling efforts consist of a mandate to the sales force to sell a broader portfolio of items to their customers, without much planning, analysis, or deliberate program execution. Without the right capabilities in place, these types of efforts have the potential to do more harm than good.

To determine if cross-selling could be an effective tool, distributors should consider first conducting a rigorous customer and prospect segmentation to identify the most valuable customer attributes. This information will allow distributors to recognize how core and specialty businesses intersect, compliment and build upon each other.

To learn more, explore the report. Other report highlights include:

  • Is cross-selling right for you?
  • Making the case for cross-selling
  • Cross-selling approach overview
  • Key cross-selling success factors

A comprehensive cross-selling / upselling program can be a boon to a wholesale distribution organization looking to boost margins, increase customer stickiness, and manage rising costs. But effective cross-selling often requires an experienced, structured, and guided approach.

This approach uses analytics to make smart decisions and create formalized processes. The approach also allows sales teams to repeat successes, incentives that share wins with sales teams and a transparent, clarity of execution to make it all work. A commitment from leadership is required to collaborate and communicate in order for the program to mature.

When implemented correctly, a cross-selling program is not at all about asking more of your sales force. Instead it is about leveraging your existing sales teams to expand your reach and to provide unexpected value to customers. With a larger footprint, can come a larger share of success to the organization.

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