Innovate and Transform the Channel Strategy, An Imperative During the Transition to the Next Normal

By: Jim Fogarty, Principal

The COVID-19 virus continues to extract an enormous human and economic toll on our global community. While many countries are reopening, many others are still on the upslope of the epidemic. For those countries re-opening, risks remain,[1] the best method is unclear, and each one is essentially taking a trial-and-error approach.[2] Consequently, experts anticipate the process will be fraught with challenges and the “dance” will be more difficult than people realize.[3]

The economic consequences of the shock are coming into sharp relief. While the U.S. just reported its unemployment rate jumped to 14.7%, the European Commission warned that GDP across the 19 countries that use the Euro may contract 7.5% this year, and it could be more severe if the pandemic lasts longer than envisioned or the recovery strategy is late or disjointed.[4] We have not seen numbers like these since the Great Depression, and similar dour statistics and forecasts exist for other regions of the world.

The scope and scale of the consequences of the COVID-19 shock are profound. Experts and intuition suggest the next normal will be unlike our pre-COVID-19 experience. Within this context, companies must adapt channel strategies to survive and ideally thrive in the next normal. Teams that move early and decisively will do best. Research demonstrates that progressive companies that strike the delicate balance between cutting costs to survive and investing to grow during a recession are 37% more likely to outperform their competitors by 10% or more three years after a recession.[5]

To help management teams gain competitive advantage, FL&A continues to talk with and capture insights from clients and colleagues at manufacturing firms and indirect sales channels in various industries across the globe. The purpose of this, our third, Management Brief, is to define actions to help management teams evolve, innovate, and transform a channel strategy. These actions build on the ones we shared in our first two briefs (see Figure One – next page). FL&A suggests management teams consider several additional actions to proactively adapt the channel strategy.

Reimagine the Channel Strategy 2.0

COVID-19 is a catalyst for change. Some companies must adapt channel strategies to maintain market coverage because the financial stress is reshaping their direct sales teams and network of indirect channel partners. Other companies can embrace the opportunity to eliminate pre-existing inefficiencies or extend changes precipitated by the pandemic. All manufacturers can reframe, redesign, and potentially transform the channel strategy.

Companies’ market coverage will change as the financial stress of the pandemic force management teams and channel partners to change roles and staffing levels of sales teams. The financial shock will also cause some channel partners to close or sell. Within this context, management teams should proactively define and track leading indicators, spot and monitor risks, and proactively create contingency plans to maintain coverage in areas at risk.

The disruption also enables some manufacturers to eliminate pre-existing inefficiencies. A manufacturer of door hardware, for instance, seeks to motivate and reward more of its channel partners to ship prefabricated door openings to eliminate commonly recurring contractor installation errors since its sales team cannot consistently visit job sites. This change also allows the manufacturer to redirect the efforts of its sales team to higher-value activities from one that typically consumes 20% of its time.

Given the behavioral changes necessitated by COVID-19 and the changing social norms and preferences, many companies can embrace and extend changes precipitated by the pandemic. A manufacturer of professional tools, like many manufacturers, directed its sales team to deliver online training and demonstrations to prospects and customers since it cannot visit them. As it transitions to the next normal, the manufacturer may professionally record and deliver these sessions so it can provide a consistent experience, scale the practice, and enable its sales professionals to engage more contractors and increase its market coverage.

All companies can reframe, redesign, and potentially transform the channel strategy. To do so, manufacturers should proactively and systematically research and assess how end users are changing their buying behaviors to capture insights and inform changes that can further evolve or transform it. To frame the insights and inspire the changes, FL&A suggests management teams consider the following actions:

  • Test and refine customer segmentation models—as manufacturers engage with prospects and customers, management teams should systematically evaluate and identify the meaningfully different and persistent buying behaviors and channel preferences that are emerging amongst its target end users and determine if these changes differentiate behaviors or practices of groups of them. For example, as companies and end users prove the efficacy of virtual interactions and digital tools during the pandemic, many will continue to use them in the next normal. Many may also actively search for and embrace additional digital tools to further increase efficiency; enhance the resiliency of sourcing, maintenance, and repair practices; and mitigate persistent health risks. As patterns such as these emerge and substantively differentiate the behavior of one group from another, the team should redefine end-user segmentation models and the related profiles and personas
  • Redefine value propositions—for each new end-user segment, management teams should redefine the value proposition required to provide an outstanding customer experience. For end users enduring severe financial stress, defeaturing and repositioning products or helping them change capital expenditures to operating expenses may prove beneficial. Manufacturers can provide alternative financing mechanisms or convert products to services to achieve this outcome (e.g., XAAS, anything as a service). The on rush of digital technology, especially the promise of the Internet of Things (IoT), broadens the range of possibilities. Beyond altering attributes of the foundational products or services, the teams should consider other elements of value that distinguish the company from its competitors
  • Redefine sales processes—management teams must adapt the supporting sales process(es) as target end-user segments and value propositions change. The steps required to engage end users as they progress through the evolving purchasing journey and the sequence of the steps are likely to change. Management teams must recognize the changes and redesign the process(es) so the company effectively engages end users and coordinates the touchpoints and transitions
  • Adapt market coverage models—as teams refine the inputs that shape the channel strategy, they must refine the market coverage model that defines it. Many manufacturers will have to adapt to the practical reality that the severe shock will reshape their direct sales teams and the landscape of indirect sales channels. Further, as teams explore options to enable and perform specific steps of the sales process and embrace and integrate more digital tools, they should investigate and define ways to transform the coverage model. While the consumer world is replete with examples of outside firms disrupting market models (e.g., Amazon, Spotify, Netflix, Uber, Warby Parker, etc.), the COVID-19 disruption affords manufacturers an opportunity to disrupt their own models. Manufacturers can also engage end users and channel partners in activities to brainstorm, design, experiment, and refine it
  • Align principles and policies— importantly, as market coverage models evolve, management teams should also assess and adapt key principles and policies that enable it including conflict management mechanisms and practices. Appropriate changes to coverage philosophies, authorizations, and rules of engagement will ensure the new design engenders constructive rather than destructive conflict within and across direct and indirect sales channels. Management teams should also proactively design and execute change management and communication plans to facilitate the transition to the new model

Align Critical Supporting Elements

As management teams adapt channel strategies, they must consider the downstream effects on critical supporting elements of it. Among a variety of issues, teams should intentionally and proactively adapt the human resource-related elements and the sales and channel management processes to support the changes and transition.

As the roles of the direct and indirect sales resources change, teams should update position profiles and competency models, align sales talent with the new positions, modify training curriculums and delivery mechanisms, and evolve compensation plans to motivate and reward the right behaviors in the appropriate way. Changes in compensation design are particularly important as sales roles evolve from transactional to more consultative ones.

Management teams must also instill increased rigor in the sales and channel management processes and tools to effect the changes. Structured planning processes, performance management mechanisms, and formal coaching practices provide first-level sales and channel management professionals with the structure they need to implement the changes and consistently execute them. These processes, practices and tools also help the field team proactively engage with end users and channel partners and drive more consistent results.


The COVID-19 disruption represents significant ongoing uncertainty and risk for an indeterminate period. Demand patterns will remain unstable and end-user purchasing behaviors will continue to change and, in some cases, in profound ways. In this environment, manufacturers must proactively monitor market dynamics and adapt channel strategies. Progressive manufacturers that are purposeful and proactive and inform changes with market insight can seize the opportunity to transform channel strategies and the critical elements that support it. Agile manufacturers will reset the competitive landscape and capture market share during and after the transition to the next normal.

We invite you to share with a member of our team your perspectives regarding the implications of the COVID-19 disruption for your company’s channel strategy and to discuss the issues that concern you most. We are happy to share our perspectives and insights with you. You are welcome to contact us at the following addresses:

John Henderson:                        hendy@franklynn.comCarl Cullotta:             
Jim Fogarty:                        jfogarty@franklynn.comStephen Martin:             
Tracy Moag:                


1 Erin S. Bromage, Ph.D., “The Risks-Know Them-Avoid Them”,, May 11, 2020

2 Max Fisher, “Reopenings Mark a New Phase: Global ‘Trial-and-Error’ Played out in Lives”, The New York Times, May 7, 2020

3 Thomas Pueyo, “The Hammer and The Dance”, Medium, April 2020

4 Charles Riley, “Europe Risks Botching Its Big Plans to Rescue the Economy”, CNN Business, May 6, 2020

5 Ranjay Gulati, Nitin Nohria, and Franz Wohlgezongen, “Roaring out of Recession,” Harvard Business Review, March 2010

Transforming a Channel Strategy During a Severe Disruption

By: Jim Fogarty, Principal

We hope you and your families remain healthy and safe during this challenging time. As the scope and length of the Covid-19 pandemic continues to unfold, glimmers of hope are emerging as the number of new infections plateau or begin to decline in parts of Asia, Western Europe and the U.S. and countries in Asia and Western Europe are beginning to re-start their economies.

As governments and central banks across the globe launch massive fiscal and monetary stimulus programs, economists tune macroeconomic models to estimate the severity of the recession and the profile of the recovery. Each forecast is sobering and suggests our journey to the next normal will be challenging and fitful.

Within this context, we continue to talk to manufacturers, distributors, and colleagues in various industries across the globe to capture insights and perspectives regarding the implications of the Covid-19 disruption for direct and indirect channel strategies. We will periodically share these perspectives with you, and our hope is that, together, we will successfully navigate this shock.

Planning Context and Horizon

Companies have been responding to the Covid-19 social and economic shock for several weeks to several months depending on their geographic footprints. Given the forecasts from a range of epidemiological and economic models[1] and the tremendous uncertainty inherent in them, companies will continue these activities for the foreseeable future. Each organization will also need to continuously adapt to survive this shock, including evolving the roles of their direct and indirect sales, service, and support teams and the processes, practices, and tools they use to execute them.

The purpose of this second management brief is to continue to define actions required to triage a channel strategy and begin to define actions that can transform one as society and the economy transition to the next normal (see Figure One for a summary of the actions we discuss in our first and second Management Briefs).

Figure One – Economic Phases, Time Periods and Planning Stages

Companies that thoughtfully and purposefully navigate the disruption can innovate and creatively evolve and, in some cases, transform their value propositions, channel strategies, and economic models. To help management teams do so, FL&A suggests the teams consider three additional actions.

Continuously Adapt Sales, Service and Support Functions

While the National Bureau of Economic Research has yet to officially declare a recession, the International Monetary Fund and a variety of economists anticipate we will experience a severe one.[2] Given the length and severity of the various scenarios, companies should be poised to continuously adapt their customer and vendor engagement models to avoid lost sales, service disruptions, unresolved field problems and permanent loses of market share.

As the disruption persists, companies with more involved and complex sales, support, service, and procurement models will likely need to evolve beyond basic virtual interactions to more digitally enabled ones. Companies that, for example, normally use product samples during face-to-face meetings and now ship them in advance and virtually orchestrate their pitches may find it an ineffective and unscalable approach. These companies will likely need to investigate, vet, test, and deploy a virtual and augmented reality or holographic application to simplify, improve, scale, and lower the cost of this process.

Manufacturers of rugged, fitted personal protective equipment may risk losing sales if they continue to rely on in-person sessions to size users. Since it may prove impractical to ship expensive sizing sets to enable the process, they may find it necessary to seek, vet, test, and deploy a more effective, economical, and scalable virtual 3D body scanning and measurement application to do it. Manufacturers of complex equipment that cannot enter customer facilities may find ad hoc use of video feeds from smart phones an ineffective way to remotely troubleshoot and repair non-functioning equipment. They may need to search for or accelerate the use of augmented reality technical support applications to facilitate these processes.

Prolonged social distancing mandates, altered social norms, and a deep recession will press and, in many cases, require manufacturers, sales channels, and end customers to search for and implement creative alternatives to execute critical elements of the customer and supplier engagement models. Without them, they risk amplifying the adverse effects of the shock.

Actively Monitor and Proactively Mitigate Other Risks

As the disruption persists, sales, service and support roles will change as companies adapt new customer and supplier engagement models and new social distancing and interaction norms take root. With prolonged financial stress, demand in many sectors will slow and decline, price pressure will increase, and sales channel and competitive landscapes will alter. Each issue presents challenges for a channel strategy.

Evolving sales-related roles require companies to design new competency models and provide training and support resources to facilitate the changes. Companies will also need to enable first-level sales and channel managers to skillfully and empathetically execute the change so front-line personnel remain engaged and productive.

If demand collapses or surges, highly leveraged sales compensation plans can distract and demoralize sales professionals or provide extraordinary pay-outs, respectively. Manufacturers and indirect sales channels should proactively adapt highly variable compensation plans to fairly mitigate the downside risk and manage the extraordinary, upside potential.[3]  Similarly, manufacturers whose indirect channel compensation programs include sales volume-related requirements or growth incentives should consider similar changes.

Price pressure is likely to increase as end users search for the best values among competitive alternatives. Manufacturers should define and implement strategic pricing approaches to ensure their direct and indirect sales teams maintain pricing discipline and selectively extend strategic prices and offer incremental value to qualified, target customers and prospects.[4]  Manufacturers and sales channels will safeguard critical customer relationships and protect the value of their brands with disciplined pricing practices.

The channel landscape is shifting and will continue to do so. In some industries and product categories, a surge in online volume accelerates an existing trend and represents an enduring change. Manufacturers should actively monitor, anticipate, embrace, and adapt to changes in every aspect of target end user’s purchasing journeys and channel preferences to avoid permanent sales and market share loses.

The length and severity of the recession will put many indirect sales channels’ businesses at significant risk. Across industries and geographies, manufacturers will witness bankruptcies and consolidation that cause coverage gaps and increase concentration and power in various categories of sales channels. Manufacturers should actively monitor the financial health of channel partners, identify critical risks, and create resiliency plans. Without them, manufacturers will experience coverage gaps and lose sales and market share.

The Covid-19 disruption will also alter the competitive landscape. Companies should actively monitor the financial health of competitors and proactively anticipate the changes they will make to their target markets, value propositions (including pricing practices) and channel strategies. Companies should factor the shifting competitive dynamics into their plans to enable them to compete and win in the volatile market.

Reimagine the Channel Strategy

The Covid-19 shock has forced manufacturers, indirect sales channels, and end users to radically alter behavior overnight, and the depth, length and profile of the recession and recovery will apply continuous pressure on all stakeholders for an indeterminate length of time. In this context, companies have an opportunity to reimagine channel strategies and gain sustainable, long-term competitive advantage.

As companies race to find alternative ways to enable critical elements of their customer and supplier engagement models, each solution and combination of solutions provides an opportunity to design more effective, efficient, scalable, and resilient approaches. Some digital solutions, for example, may enable manufacturers and channel partners to broaden the reach of their most qualified personnel and reduce the time and cost of doing so while others will eliminate inherent inefficiencies in their current practices. Companies can also use this process of discovery, design, and experimentation to further engage, collaborate and co-create with channel partners, end users, and vendors and increase the strength and intimacy of their relationships and the value of their brands. Through this process, companies can re-imagine ways to interact with and serve, customers, prospects and vendors, re-think roles, and re-allocate functions… critical variables that inform the design and transformation of a channel strategy.


Collectively, these three actions are designed to help manufacturers continue to triage the evolving implications of the Covid-19 shock and begin to focus on opportunities to successfully transition to the next normal. Redesigning critical activities of the sales, service, support, and procurement functions and mitigating the risks of other key, related issues help manufacturers enhance the resiliency of their channel strategies and simultaneously reimagine them. Research reveals that companies that strike the delicate balance between strategic cost cutting and investment break-away from their competitors as society and the economy transition to the next normal.[5]

We will continue to periodically share ongoing perspectives as the Covid-19 disruption evolves, and we invite you to contribute your voice to this conversation. You are welcome to contact us at the following addresses:

John Henderson: hendy@franklynn.comCarl Cullotta:
Jim Fogarty: jfogarty@franklynn.comStephen Martin:
Tracy Moag: 


[1]   Various sources including William Wan and Carolyn Y. Johnson, “America’s most influential coronavirus model just revised its estimates downward. But not every model agrees,” Washington Post, April 8, 2020;  Sven Smit, Martin Hirt, Kevin Buehler, Susan Lund, Ezra Greenburg, and Arvind Govindar, “Safeguarding our lives and our livelihoods: The imperative or our time, McKinsey & Company, March 2020; Charles Riley, “The world hasn’t seen a recession this bad since the 1930s. The recovery is far from certain, CNN Business, April 14, 2020.

[2]   Charles Riley, “The world hasn’t seen a recession this bad since the 1930s. The recovery is far from certain, CNN Business, April 14, 2020.

[3]   For examples of potential changes, see Steve Grossman, “So now what do we do about paying our salespeople?”, Steve Grossman & Associates, Ltd., March 25, 2020.

[4]  For examples of strategic pricing approaches, see Kirk Jackisch, Fred Puech, “B2B Companies Can Navigate Times of Crisis with These Pricing Strategies”, Pricing Solutions, April 2020.

[5]   Ranjay Gulati, Nitin Nohria, and Franz Wohlgezogen, “Roaring out of Recession,” Harvard Business Review, March 2010.

How Can Your Company Enable a Resilient Channel Strategy During a Severe Disruption?

By: Jim Fogarty, Principal

We hope you and your family are safe and well during this unprecedented time. The Covid-19 pandemic is a humanitarian tragedy affecting millions of people in our global community, and it is causing an extraordinary social and financial disruption. The intent of this brief is to share perspectives regarding the implications of the disruption for a company’s channel strategy, the method it uses to cover and serve its target markets and deliver exceptional customer experiences.

We initiated conversations with clients and colleagues across the globe to capture insights and perspectives, and we will periodically share them with you as the situation evolves. Our hope is that, together, we navigate the situation in an intentional, empathetic and successful way.

We invite you to contribute your voice as well. You are welcome to contact a member of our team to share your perspectives; we provide contact information at the end of this brief.

Planning Context and Horizon

Prior disruptions sensitized management teams to the importance of contingency and resiliency plans. The varying and dynamically changing shapes of the Covid-19 pandemic transmission curves and governmental and health policy responses across the globe reinforce the need to continuously and dynamically adjust them.

As health experts calibrate the transmission curves, management teams can begin to assign time frames to three important stages of their plans: Triage, Transition, and Innovate and Transform (see Figure One).

Figure One—Economic Phases and Planning Stages

Economic Phase:Severe Social and Economic DisruptionRecoveryNext Normal
Time Period:Immediate, Short-
to Mid-term
Mid-Term to Long-TermLong-term
Planning Phase/Perspective:TriageTransitionInnovate and Transform

Most of the global community is in the throes of the severe social and economic disruption. As it continues and amplifies and the social and fiscal responses emerge and evolve, management teams are quickly responding to the fluid situation… empathetically leading their teams, guiding and enabling transitions to home-based work and virtual interactions with key stakeholders, identifying and adapting to disruptions in supply and demand, assessing fiscal stimulus packages, calibrating cash flow and analyzing financial scenarios, etc.

As social and economic activity in select geographic regions begins to re-start, ramp-up and accelerate, the initial recoveries will likely be fitful and require continuous, nimble responses and adaptations as the initial experiences in China and Hong Kong suggest. A company’s successful evolution to the “next normal” is likely to depend on the actions and posture it takes as it triages and transitions. Research reveals that management teams that balance strategic cost-cutting and investment during disruptions are best positioned to outperform competitors as the economy transitions to the next normal.[1]

Critical Actions at this Moment…

Our hope is that this and subsequent briefs help your team successfully navigate the disruption and identify market and operational opportunities that enable it to adapt and enhance its channel strategy as it races to triage the many immediate human resource, supply chain, operations, and financial challenges associated with the Covid-19 shock.  In the near-term, we suggest the team consider four key issues:

  • Actively Engage Direct Sales Teams and Channel Partners— like the company itself, its direct and indirect sales teams are navigating uncharted waters. Direct and indirect sales, customer service, technical support and service teams are transitioning to virtual roles (the first “Zoomer” sales team cohort) as they also deal with the personal and emotional issues related to this human tragedy. Therefore, clear, coordinated, empathetic and continuous communication is required to provide the leadership and support they need to remain focused and engaged so they can productively contribute to the enterprise’s survival and innovation. If the existing compensation plans encumber the teams’ focus and performance, then the management team should adjust them to accommodate the radically changing circumstances and provide ongoing support as their roles change.
  • Continuously (Re)Calibrate Supply and Demand and Align Sales Efforts— companies are dynamically adjusting to the shifting sands of supply and demand. Clients have shared examples of demand surges in specific sectors like healthcare equipment (ventilators), pulp and paper and food. They have also described demand collapses in other sectors like hospitality, entertainment and oil and gas. Sales teams are scouring sales funnels to verify and close near-term opportunities and properly nurture the remaining, qualified ones to safeguard sales and cash flow. A partial list of the supply and demand patterns in a mix of industries demonstrates the fluctuating patterns these teams are dynamically navigating:

Travel (e.g., aerospace and rail): ↓Construction: ─ (short-term); ↓ (mid-term)
Hospitality (e.g., hotels, restaurants and bars): ↓Medical Equipment: ↑critical modalities; ─ / ↓ other modalities
Entertainment: ↓Pulp and Paper: ↑
Retail: ↑ (on-line); (brick and mortar)Agriculture: ↑
Automotive: ↓Technology: ↑
Oil and Gas: ↓Government: ↑

The direct and indirect sales teams are positioned to spot changes in demand and customer behaviors. With the proper guidance, support and feedback mechanisms from sales leadership, they can provide the insights to keep direct sales teams and channel partners focused on viable, near-term opportunities. Since the demand patterns during this shock will likely fluctuate more rapidly and unpredictably than they do during a financial disruption, this market insight is critical.

As the disruption continues, management teams should also provide the team with guidance and feedback mechanisms so it can provide insights that spark innovations in value propositions, customer engagement models, sales processes, sales tools, etc. that provide competitive advantage during and after it.

  • Monitor and Dynamically Adjust to Changes in Purchasing Patterns and Behaviors— business and consumer purchasing patterns will change. As companies come under increasing financial stress, many (depending on the sector) will likely delay or cancel capital purchases and focus on maintenance (emergency, preventive and predictive) and repairs to reduce their cash outflows. These patterns emerged during the last recession and persisted after the recovery.

    Companies that serve industries that normally have significant new project activity should calibrate and closely manage investments in specification and quoting activities since the mix of short- and long-term opportunities may materially shift. Within this context, leadership teams, with input from market participants, can also proactively define solutions their sales teams can use to intercept customers and prospects in target markets that are searching for creative ways to reduce their operating costs.

    Since these evolving purchasing patterns will likely endure through the recovery and shape the next normal, management teams should dynamically tune product mix forecasts and align sales resources, activities, processes and tools to align with them.

  • Enable the Resiliency of Channel Partners— channel partners are grappling with the same business continuity issues as the companies they represent, so their businesses are under stress as well. Given the nature of the channel management function, companies will benefit from a proactive and coordinated approach. Senior sales or channel management leaders should organize a team to structure and coordinate its response and actively monitor the performance of its portfolio of channel partners. In the immediate time frame, this team should:
    • Communicate— structure, facilitate, coordinate and enable clear, empathetic and continuous two-way communication with internal stakeholders across all functions and channel partners. The team should brief channel partners on the company’s situation, plans and expectations. It should also proactively and continuously solicit insight and guidance in a structured way from channel partners so it understands the issues affecting their businesses and informs its plans and actions
    • Arm Channel Managers— savvy channel managers can help channel partners navigate this shock; therefore, the team should position them to do so. In the immediate time period, the team should guide and enable channel managers to:
      • Proactively communicate with channel partners and solicit their insights, feedback and guidance in a structured way
      • Proactively collaborate with channel partners to recalibrate sales forecasts and re-assess opportunities in the partners’ sales funnels
      • Facilitate channel partner’s transition to virtual selling and support by sharing and training them on new software applications and changes related to evolving sales and service skills, practices, processes, and tools
      • Provide guidance regarding how channel partners can adjust their sales incentive plans to retain personnel and keep them engaged and focused on critical activities, if it has the resources to do so
      • Brief channel partners on the company’s supply patterns and allocation approach
      • Share insights on demand patterns and brainstorm ways to continuously tap into qualified pockets of demand so channel partners can dynamically align their sales efforts with viable targets such as geographies, industries, applications, and accounts
      • Fine-tune short-term, tactical marketing plans and activities so they align with the demand patterns
      • Proactively provide guidance so channel partners manage stocking plans and purchases to optimize their working capital investments
      • Spot and bridge liquidity issues if the manufacturer has the financial wherewithal to do so (e.g., modify terms and conditions) or provide insight to help channel partners tap into the emerging government-provided financial assistance programs if it is able to do so
      • Ideate new value propositions to spark demand as customers’ requirements and purchasing patterns change
    • Increase Rigor of Channel Management Process— more frequent and structured interactions with channel partners will inform and help the company refine its activities, respond to dynamic changes, and execute its actions. The team should also help channel managers define, track and monitor a mix of leading indicators to help spot impending distress that may compromise the company’s market coverage (e.g., weak sales funnels, significant lay-offs, late payments, etc.). Channel management teams should proactively develop contingency plans to maintain coverage in areas at risk.


Collectively, these four actions are designed to help manufacturers focus immediate- and short-term sales efforts on qualified targets, spot and navigate shifts in demand patterns, mitigate risks that compromise market coverage, and innovate and transform offerings and channel strategies.

We will periodically share ongoing perspectives as the Covid-19 disruption evolves, and we invite you to contribute your voice to this conversation.

You are welcome to contact us at the following addresses:

John Henderson: hendy@franklynn.comCarl Cullotta:
Jim Fogarty: jfogarty@franklynn.comBob Segal:
Stephen Martin: smartin@franklynn.comTracy Moag:


[1] Ranjay Gulati, Nitin Nohria, and Franz Wohlgezogen, “Roaring out of Recession,” Harvard Business Review, March 2010.

Galileo, How Can He Help Your Business


So, what can this Italian, who lived from 1564 to 1642, do for your business?

Answer, around 1590 Galileo said,

Measure what can be measured and make measurable what cannot be measured.”

Business is complex. At a rough glance there are around 30 different aspects to your enterprise that are common to all business. Obviously, there are variations from industry to industry, but the fundamentals remain the same. Acquire as many customers, as economically you can, sell as much to them as you can and keep them for as long as you can.

Continue reading “Galileo, How Can He Help Your Business”