The other day while visiting a potential distributor for a client in UK, the conversation naturally centered on the strengths and achievements of the distributor and why, my client should enter into an agreement with this company. This post will discuss one strategic capability which this distributor highlighted as the company's advantage in a highly competitive market. A capability often overlook as a strategic option, when formulating a go-to-market strategy.

The distributor in question had the foresight of not jumping onto the bandwagon in the early 2000s, when most of the company's competitors moved from a people-centric to a system-centric go-to-market model. A moved that allowed them to handle orders through customer portals and B2B websites thus in theory able to handle many more orders per employee, time period and resource. At first glance this move was brilliant. The company executives, the sales staff and larger customers praised the move and embraced the efficiency gains to negotiate better terms.

However, almost a decade later the implications of this move are beginning to become apparent. The knowledge has been lost. The knowledge to engage customers to find solutions to non standard requirements. The ability to partner with customers to innovate in order to compete on other terms than cost. The reputation of being a solutions' provider within the industry beyond the wording.

The distributor in question now reap the benefits from not running with the flock, and is able to command higher prices and to differentiale from the pack.