Turning Underperformance Into Competitive Advantage Through Commercial Improvement at a Chemicals Distributor | ZS

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Turning Underperformance Into Competitive Advantage Through Commercial Improvement at a Chemicals Distributor

Situation and Challenge

A global chemical and plastics distributor had historically underperformed relative to its peers and fallen short of past growth goals.

The company struggled to compete nationally and against strong regional players because it didn’t have an understanding of the addressable market opportunity, had high variance in sales capability among sellers and managers, and employed a “one size fits all” approach to market coverage.

The company found itself battling to keep customers and suppliers, with no clear strategy to drive profitable organic growth. The company partnered with ZS to establish the sales capabilities needed to substantially increase its EBITDA and position the company for new M&A growth.

Solution                                                                                                             

ZS worked with the company to make short-term improvements that would shore up past shortcomings while simultaneously building the commercial foundation for the future.

ZS estimated revenue potential at the customer and product levels in order to highlight cross-selling and upselling opportunities, and to inform the company which sales plays and resources were required.

ZS developed new go-to-market models that differentiated the company from competitors and enabled a more effective delivery of the value proposition. ZS also segmented suppliers and customers across several critical dimensions and placed the right resource types against the best opportunities.

Lastly, ZS identified the key metrics, performance management processes and tool improvements required to drive new customer acquisition, as well as reduce churn and increase share of wallet with existing customers.

The ZS Impact

We estimated that this strategy has driven 25% year-over-year EBITDA growth, as well as a 25% reduction in cost-to-serve over 15 months.

The new go-to-market models allowed the company to successfully differentiate itself from key competitors by having more specialization and better coordination than national players, but greater agility to act like regional players in certain markets.

The company also strengthened its employee, supplier and customer value propositions as a result.