5 Fundamentals for the Wholesale Distribution Sales Manager

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This research study is published by the NAW Institute for Distribution Excellence, a leading publisher of research exclusively for and about the wholesale distribution industry. More>>

Tim Horan
Steve Deist


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During good years, sales come easy. Today, however, times are still challenging. 

Learn successful sales strategies employed by distributors who know how to put lead on the target in challenging times.

This book offers a practical but powerful approach for taking your sales force to the next level. It includes key concepts, practical ideas and real-world stories taken from the front lines of wholesale distribution. It gives you the essential leadership skills to keep your career and your business moving ahead and performing at higher levels.

In today’s distribution company, you need people, systems, and structure. You need to constantly improve your own management skills, while also managing sometimes tense relationships with customers and suppliers who have ever-increasing demands.

These five fundamentals in this book are not theoretical musings. They are based on years of practical experience. Why is everything boiled it down to only five fundamentals? Two reasons:

• Five fundamentals are easier to remember than 45.
• Everything else that an effective sales manager in wholesale distribution needs to know flows from these five fundamentals.

What Readers Have to Say

“There are few positions in management that are more challenging than the distributor sales manager. Sales reps, bosses, customers and suppliers are all pulling in different directions. This book sorts these out so the sales manager can focus on what is really important—improving sales performance.”

Chip Hornsby, CEO, MORSCO

“The biggest challenge has been to find meaningful sales management training and development information that is specifically written for the distributor sales manager. This book fills that need by providing excellent, practical guidelines.”

Gail Wirz, Director of Sales and Marketing, Badger Liquor Co. Inc./Badger Wine & Spirits

This book is a great tool to recalibrate your focus on effective sales management fundamentals, and help you to identify and change the many management bad habits sales managers may fall into.”

Tim Fries, Former Vice President—Sales and Marketing, Wiseway Supply

“This book provides examples of prehire interviews from the most basic to advanced guidelines. Already, it has challenged me to determine our values at this branch. If we expand our sales management positions in the future, this book will be invaluable to people in their new positions.”

Clair Zirnhelt, Former Branch Manager, Dakota Supply Group


Tim Horan

Tim joined IRCG as a Partner in 2005 after leaving a distribution career spanning more than 25 years. Horan spent the last 15 years as President and CEO of a beverage alcohol distribution company. He works with CEOs and other members of senior management in the areas of organization development and design. His recent role at IRCG was to serve as a primary researcher and coauthor for this book.


Steve Deist

Steve has more than 20 years of experience in the wholesale distribution and supply chain arenas. In addition to his consulting work, he is a highly rated speaker, trainer, and board director. He is Indian River Consulting Group’s strategic planning specialist and manages the firm’s channel consulting projects for manufacturers that sell through distribution.

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