Think: Multi-channel Marketing Masterminds
jon-tyson-518143-unsplash (cropped)

It’s not WHAT, but WHERE and HOW

Re-imagining The Way You Present Your Products

B2B distribution channels are merging - we like to call it ‘channel blurring’. Wholesalers, distributors and resellers are all looking for ways to grow, so they seek new product categories, new services and new channels. Some examples: Staples is the second largest Jan-San distributor in the USA, Grainger sells business machines, HD Supply offers stationery products (through strategic alliances), and Amazon Business has a stated intention of tackling industrial and healthcare markets.


What does this mean for the B2B sales person? Increasingly they’re being asked to sell a wider portfolio of products to a wider set of customers. Their ability to be experts in every category is difficult, if not nearly impossible.


What does it mean for manufacturers? Simply put: your salesforce is being stretched, often stretched to a point where they will find it difficult to provide genuine insights to their customer base about your products. Quite a conundrum.


What can a manufacturer do about it? Next time you produce a catalog, sell sheets or training material, think about updating how you present your offering this way:


Start with the WHERE, by positioning your range (or at least the relevant parts of your range) into vertical markets, so both your salesperson and their customers can see HOW your products apply in their environment. And highlight benefits, not features - ultimately, that is what people buy anyway!


Then, when the customer is interested they can dive into the product detail, or the WHAT.


So, give your sales team the tools to show their customers the WHERE and HOW first, and they’ll get to the WHAT.

If you would like more information on creating great product stories for your customers, contact us.  

Darren Laycock pic (cropped) (cropped)

Darren Laycock Joins Highlands as Territory Sales Manager for Western Canada

July 3, 2018

Highlands is pleased to announce Darren Laycock as Territory Sales Manager for Western Canada. Darren has more than 30 years of sales account management experience, specializing in Office Products/Furniture, and Educational institutions.


“We are delighted to have Darren join our team and help us with the growth of our business. His years of industry experience in the Canadian market provides our business with the right person to continue growing sales for our clients, “said Brendan Lane, President and General Manager of Highlands Canada. “I am looking forward to working with him.”


Before joining Highlands, Darren was President of Dynamic Marketing Inc., and will continue to represent those same manufacturers in Western Canada.


Mickey Sandor Joins Highlands As Business Development Manager

May 29, 2018

Highlands is pleased to announce Michelle (Mickey) Sandor as Business Development Manager, responsible for building relationships within the Multi-Family and Hospitality channels in the United States.  Mickey’s background as a Hospitality Specialist at HD Supply gives her great insight and knowledge to accelerate sales for Highlands’ clients. 

"Mickey's prior experience working in sales for HD Supply and on the manufacturer side - calling on the Hospitality vertical - make her a great fit for Highlands as we move to support our partners and grow market share in these key business sectors," said Mike Douglas, VP Sales for the Central and West.


Highlands Announces an Expanded Partnership with KFI Seating

April 6, 2018

Highlands is pleased to announce they will now be representing KFI Seating in the Office Products Channel. KFI is a manufacturer of tables and chairs, which fit the needs of many institutions: commercial, hospitality, education, government and healthcare. Located in Louisville, Kentucky, all KFI products are assembled in the USA. KFI invests their efforts in speed, service, and design, with a heavy emphasis on the need for a great customer experience and community involvement. 

“KFI has had great success working with Highlands on strategic e-commerce accounts. We have been impressed with the professional sales approach, strategic thinking, marketing and most importantly, relationships with key accounts. That being said, we are excited to now work with the entire Highlands family,” says Chris Smith, President and Owner of KFI Seating.

Bob O’Gara, CEO of Highlands, adds “We have been very impressed by the repositioning of KFI by Chris Smith and Scott Williamson, COO and Owner of KFI Seating. Their emphasis on affordable design is what many customer segments require today. This is the perfect time to extend our relationship.” 

For more information on KFI Seating, please visit
social media content

Social Media Content

March 27, 2018

Are you struggling with getting on the social media train in 2018? Did you know there were 3.03 billion ACTIVE social media users as of November 2017? If you aren’t currently utilizing social media, or are doing so with very minimal efforts, you might be breaking a sweat as you continue to read this. 

What is Social Media Content?
Social media content is any form of content shared via social media. Sounds simple, but there are various ways of attracting consumers via content. What type of content should you use? Which platform is acceptable for your brand? How do you know when to post these items? This blog aims to help you understand social media content and which trends you should consider executing to increase your brand’s reach.

Social Media Content Strategy
Successful social media starts with a social media strategy. Research needs to be done in order to effectively execute your social media strategy.
Before spending copious amounts of time creating and posting content, follow these steps to improve your chance of success with social media content:

1. Think of your intended audience first. Who are these people? How can you relate to them? Where are they?
2. Establish your "brand voice" and REMAIN CONSISTENT. If you missed our last blog - "Content that Supports Brand Messaging", you can find it here.
3. Develop content surrounding your findings. We will get into social media content “trends” next, which may help you discover your preferred style of content.
4. Post on the relevant social media platforms. There are many social media management platforms that can post for you. Start by setting up a calendar, adding content, and let the management platform do the hard work - maintaining a schedule.
5. Set goals for your strategy. What is your desired outcome? Increase ROI, website traffic, etc.
6. Lastly, analyze your results and adjust your goals and content accordingly. A great way of monitoring your success is to use Google Analytics.

Trends to Watch for in 2018
• Increased engagement between brands and customers - Jay Baer, President of Convince and Convert, found that 42% of users complaining about a brand via social media, expect a response in less than one hour. Gone are the days when consumers had the patience for 1-800 numbers and their automated systems. 
• Videos as top priority - With predictions that video will account for 80% of global internet traffic by 2019, you should ask yourself, “is your current content strategy poised to embrace this trend?” Keep in mind, consumers are 73% more likely to purchase product(s) after watching a video.
• Chatbots - Oracle conducted a survey, which suggested that 80% of marketing executives are currently using chatbots for business, or plan to by 2020. 

If you would like more information on providing great content for your customers, contact us.  

Maura Penna

Maura Penna Joins Highlands as Director, Strategic Accounts

March 22, 2018

Highlands announces that Maura Penna has joined the Highlands team as Director, Strategic Accounts.  She will be responsible for managing our relationship with Staples.  Most recently, Maura worked as a National Account Manager at Newell Brands - Rubbermaid and served the company for almost 30 years.  She managed the Staples account for the majority of her time spent at Newell.

Shannon Blake, Partner and Senior VP of Strategic Accounts adds, “Maura’s extensive sales experience and relationships at Staples will be a tremendous addition to the Highlands team.  Maura is great at finding creative solutions for the buyers and sellers to maximize category results.  We look forward to introducing her to our partners and building stronger partnerships between our suppliers and Staples.”

Follow us

Contact Us

Contact Highlands today for a complete picture of what our expert teams can do to drive sales for your brand.