A leading regional beverage distributor had a unique value proposition as one of few distributors authorized to sell to on-premise (restaurants and bars) and off-premise (liquor stores) retailers, serving more than 7,000 customers in their market. But it also faced significant friction across its sales and service experience for all stakeholders—with estimates that the company could have up to 100 touchpoints per week with some customers across in-person visits, e-commerce, emails, and phone calls.
That’s where West Monroe came in. Our team of industry, business, and technology experts designed a strategy to optimize the distributor’s front-office operations and designed a data-driven customer engagement experience to help them achieve their goal of becoming the distributor of choice in their market. By implementing three strategic imperatives—a customer-driven experience, sales representative self-sufficiency, and a customer service team that was freed up to focus on evaluating issues that were exceptions to the way business normally ran—West Monroe was able to drive quantifiable financial value.
revenue lift over 5 years (estimated)
reduced weekly customer touchpoints
in labor savings from operational efficiencies
As a family business with a history of mergers, the distributor had several legacy commissions and sales structures that were complex and cumbersome in nature. The distributor also operated in a capped market, which drove little motivation to innovate over time and resulted in underinvestment in modern technology capabilities. These challenges were exacerbated in the wake of the pandemic, as customers looked for more efficient and agile ways to buy what they needed while demand rapidly shifted. The distributor needed to change how they met customer and supplier needs, remain competitive with their peers, and clearly articulate a company strategy and vision to succeed in the future.
West Monroe’s work began at a foundational level, serving as thought partners and building relationships with all stakeholders—sales leaders, executives, and employees—to create a collaborative experience. We spent time aligning all stakeholders on what it means to be digital and the value of customer relationship management (CRM), ensuring all parties understood the strategy and purpose behind new changes. Together, our team leveraged insights about the distributor’s business and culture to create tailored solutions.
As part of this process, West Monroe conducted a vision and values workshop with executive, service, marketing, and sales leadership to define a mission statement and company goals, which had never been done by the distributor before.
With a clear guiding vision, our team helped the distributor develop a customer journey map to gain an understanding of what the typical customer experience looked like and where pain points existed. The exercise also highlighted that many of the distributor’s differentiating business model decisions were focused more on what the company wanted than what the customer needed. Armed with this knowledge, it was time to put digital into practice.
West Monroe recommended several software and operations solutions to remove friction from the customer and employee experiences. We looked for industry-leading tools that would bring the distributor into the modern age and that were comprehensive in their capabilities to avoid siloed and disparate programs.
Through partnership with the West Monroe team, the distributor moved from a traditional, disparate operating model to a connected, efficient, and data-driven digital operating system. Our e-commerce strategy and technology recommendations also set the foundation for the client to continue digitizing and adapting their business to changes in customer and employee needs over time.
The company’s antiquated backend system was integrated into a user-friendly platform that enabled a digital customer and employee experience, while also helping the distributor go to market faster with more efficient employee onboarding processes. The integrated system made it possible for sales representatives to address customer issues faster and enabled a connected customer experience.
With West Monroe’s help, the distributor now knows what digital means to their business, the value to be had, and how to approach long-term operations with this mindset. The partnership provided foundational resources and options that enabled the distributor to modernize its business and connect with its customers and employees in a digital way.