Just a few days ago, I had a very interesting conversation with the Sales Leader of a large IT distributor. In the past they’d naturally been focusing on optimizing their distribution processes from vendors to resellers. However, as IT products are more and more becoming a commodity and supply chains and ordering processes have become more and more streamlined over the years, there is pressure to think about some differentiation against their competitors.
One aspect brought up in the discussion by the Sales Leader is to start focusing on the actual knowledge delivered around the products, services and solutions distributed. Here we’re not just talking about speeds and feeds, but about how to effectively communicate which products, services and solutions are addressing which specific customer needs. Delivering such value to resellers means that they could better serve their customers, which eventually will make all parties involved happy. In a way, the Sales Leader said, it’s about to setting up a content logistics framework.
Yet, setting-up content logistics like this is more complicated than you might think, as knowledge can’t be forced into transaction-oriented systems and processes. The reason is, that content is something multi-dimensional – its meaning depends on the situational context it is applied in. Only if applied in the right way, content turns into knowledge and eventually into a successful conversation with the customer.
In order to successfully implement a content logistics framework a variety of ingredients are important. ‘Content needs’ have to be defined, content production responsibilities need to be assigned, ways of content delivery should be thought through end-to-end… just to mention a few things that need to be put in place. To make the whole model work in the long run – to match actual customer needs for the right information with the content delivered to them by the reseller’s sales teams – the content logistics framework should be based on a semantic knowledge management framework.
Well, you might think, this sounds complicated, like trying to boil the ocean. I can tell you, the opposite is the case once you’ve got your head around it – I’d be more than happy to discuss this in more detail with everyone interested.