Research suggests that customers prefer to buy direct from the manufacturer and are willing to pay more for it. In fact, in a recent study by Forrester Research, 43% of buyers preferred to buy direct from the brand that manufactured the product vs the distributor that sold it and 20% were willing to pay slightly more for those goods. Furthermore, the online marketplace is becoming more crowded than ever with specialty suppliers, many of whom sprout up almost overnight and add to the noise and competitive pressure.  Manufacturers and distributors need to rethink their relationship in the age of Amazon and balance customer buying habits and preference with distributor value and reach. This may include a variety of D2C, B2C, B2B2C tactics, including revenue sharing online purchases from the manufacturer directly with distributors, pricing direct sales at SLP/higher than the channel, depleting inventory direct from the distributor first, selling only lower margin or non-core product direct, steering leads back to the reseller, laying the foundation for future D2C flexibility and other non-traditional partnerships. It also requires rethinking the technology needed to support these relationships and how it needs to evolve over time. In this session, Max King and Jim Nerone will discuss the market forces at play in their own industries, how their relationships with their distributors have evolved over time and how their ecommerce strategy and technology is positioning them to not just survive, but thrive with both their channel and end customers.

Key Takeaways

In this session you'll learn:

  • Key business challenges and strategies to address channel conflict
  • Leading and managing change with key distributors
  • The role of technology – today and tomorrow
  • Lessons learned
  • Critical factors for success


Moderator: Jon Greene
Title: SVP, Customer and Partner Success
Company: Insite Software

Bio: Jon joined the Insite Executive team in July of 2013. Most recently, he served as Senior Director of Customer Value at SAP Cloud and, prior to that, Vice President of Client Strategy at SaaS companies Jobs2Web and SuccessFactors.Jon also held senior client management roles for 12 years at interactive marketing agencies JWT and TMP Worldwide and spent three years in Corporate Marketing and Field Sales at Ameriprise Financial after they spun off from American Express. Jon has extensive experience in customer lifecycle management, interactive marketing planning and strategy, action-oriented analytics, branding and advertising. Jon’s objective is to lead and motivate the Customer Success team to drive ongoing client value, measurable business impact and develop long-term strategic client partnerships. Jon holds a B.A. in Government and Art History from Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin.

Presenter: Max King
Title: VP of Genuine Parts and Conversions
Company: Cleaver-Brooks

Bio: As the Vice President of Aftermarket Solutions for CleaverBrooks, an 89-year-old industry leader in boiler room solutions, Max is managing the implementation of eCommerce as well as the Genuine Parts and Conversions businesses.  The eCommerce solution will provide another avenue for genuine part sales in addition to the independently owned and exclusive territories of the representative network.  Prior to joining CleaverBrooks, Max spent over 10 years in various roles including leading the aftermarket and eCommerce team at Caterpillar INC, a machinery manufacturer and Fortune 100 company.  Outside of work he loves spending time with his wife and four children, with any free time he enjoys spending time outdoors.

Presenter: Jim Nerone
Title: Chief Information Officer
Company: Buyers Products

Bio: Jim is an experienced business executive, who has lead diverse number functional areas, always seeking to improve efficiency, effectiveness, and control through the application of better processes, technology, and information. For the last few years, he has been leading a digital transformation at Buyers Products, including the launch of their first transactional website. Prior to Buyers, Jim worked for ERICO in the US and The Netherlands, at various points leading IT, Business Intelligence, Supply Planning, and Warehouse Operations. Long ago, he received engineering degrees from Purdue and an MBA from Case Western. The TSQL procedures he writes are elegant and well-commented.