The Resource Group

To meet changing market demands, The Resource Group member agencies organized to provide Manufacturers and Resellers with the tools and services to operate on a level far superior to the sum of their parts. The Resource Group formed intending to give the personnel infrastructure to capitalize on the different agencies’ regional expertise.  The original intention actualized, The Resource Group has developed into far more. Transforming the process-driven approach includes forward-thinking and consistent management, powerful technology, and specialized personnel, The Resource Group deploys its growth resources to enhance sales activities for greater results.

The collective experience of the agencies involved provided communal knowledge that active leadership produces effective sales and marketing programs. Providing a structured and understandable management model makes The Resource Group a more efficient and effective system to employ its resources to their full potential.

The Resource Group has found that whatever the tool may be, it needs to be deployed with expertise to make the process move forward.  Major investments in technology infrastructure, such as thoughtfully developed CRM programs and a thoroughly devised PIM system, have proven that The Resource Group implements realized benefits. 

The leadership development and technology deployment has provided The Resource Group a position to station personnel to champion Manufacturers or Resellers that need unique attention. Developing these specialized programs has created a highly effective and calculated difference.In the collaborative effort to bring regional expertise to national coverage, The Resource Group has developed infrastructure far exceeding sales and marketing agencies’ expected tools and services. The Resource Group is a network driven by its commitment to proven processes for calculated results in manufacturing operations and reseller groups.

Learning from the Pandemic: Diversifying your target market

For the first time in many generations, the manufacturing industry found itself in a position to shift its resources for collective needs when particular goods and resources demand exploded, entering the pandemic. Of course, stories of distilleries shifting their formulas for the production of hand sanitizers were front of mind, but the entirety of the market saw a need to reimagine how their products could shift to help fight the virus and alleviate the pains of distance. The Resource Group | Midwest experienced these innovative thoughts by their manufacturers first hand; both radical reinventions of technologies to help alleviate challenges of the pandemic environment and new applications of existing products. The creative thinking of the pandemic is a skill critical for us to take away from the pandemic.

Gratnells provides a great example of creating a new channel for uniquely well-suited products for a missed market. The need for anti-microbial trays in multiple new markets made for excellent solutions for Gratnells in schools and offices distributing PPE. The thinking applied during this process expanded in critical ways. Trolleys and accessories designed for the office have developed self-evident purposes in educational spaces, just as educational products have found homes in industrial spaces. Assuring that the versatility of products is capitalized upon is a crucial skill for growth. 

Another critically important practice about entering new spaces is relationship building and the discovery that comes with it. 

Deflecto reinvented its acrylic dividers to assist in the transition to contained space. A significant market for these dividers was schools, an area which Deflecto has struggled to break into. The relationships that were quickly developed with Deflecto products have now proliferated into a multi-dimensional and critical channel.

The Pandemic provided us time to reevaluate. Many people discovered their products could become so much more than they have been used for. Today, we are trying to reinforce these reevaluation and reinvention practices to be as crucial as they are. Make crisis an opportunity. 

Learning from the Pandemic: Productive Collaboration

The Resource Group | Midwest has long been working with collaborative tools to maximize the productivity of our team in our environment. However, much of these tools meant nothing when distanced not just by a desk but by the distances between our homes.  Thrust into a reset and determined to focus our collaborative efforts, The Resource Group | Midwest reassessed not only our existing practices but our opportunities. Quickly, we discovered that we could do activities that would not only make the distance less of a barrier, but also improve our work once we came back together. 

Every morning, without the same constrictions of availability, The Resource Group | Midwest began a practice of a morning meeting. Refining the skill constantly, these meetings started to shape three themes:

  • Reinforce goals and objectives
  • Specify immediate priorities
  • Accelerate progress sharing exercises

The practices showed that collaboration is more than just working together; it can ensure that collaboration is at its best. Instead of working together to complete, we worked together to improve work more productively.

Every day, The Resource Group | Midwest reassesses itself and its opportunities to create the synergy collaboration presents. The improvements to our daily practices that these meetings provided have been substantial. The system is not stopping as we return to regular activities. The pandemic changed how we work, not that we work together. Make crisis an opportunity.

Changing the Landscape

Back when I was beginning my sales career, a senior representative gave me one piece of advice:

“If you want to be successful in sales, get up one hour earlier and stay up one hour later. Use that time to make one extra call each day. It may not seem like a lot, but at the end of the year you’ve made 250 additional calls. Those additional calls will make you successful.”

This approach to sales worked well because of how business was done back in those days. Success was based on how much time you spent on building relationships and selling. Sales and marketing agencies presented merchandising resellers everything they had about manufacturers’ products, and every account received the same materials, more or less.

But the current landscape is far more challenging for sales and marketing professionals. Resellers have unique platforms, user interfaces, and affiliations, and the ability to differentiate between each resellers’ capabilities and relationships is what sets sellers apart. The number of communications channels we use daily has grown exponentially, with customers receiving hundreds and thousands of communications each week. Managing and responding to these communications can be time consuming and overwhelming.

Although building relationships is still a critically important component of sales, there are many more tasks that need to be performed or overseen. Digital marketing has become essential to the process, because consumers want to understand not only what they are buying and how it works, but also how it can benefit their specific needs.

At Midwest Resource Group, we ensure that the communications and digital marketing needs are being met, while still ensuring that we can give attention to the core sales and relationship building needed for successful transactions. We work as a team with administrative and creative experts, which gives the managing partners and territory managers more time to devote to building relationships and selling. Times have changed, but the advice that my first sales mentor gave me still holds some truth. However, to make those extra calls, we need to be able to rely on our administrative and creative marketing teams to make sure that the customers’ other needs are being met.