Lagasse, Inc. (also known as LagasseSweet) is a wholly owned subsidiary of United Stationers Inc., the nation’s largest wholesale distributor of office supplies, furniture, computer peripherals, jansan, foodservice disposables, paper, industrial supplies, safety products, and e-business technology solutions. Lagasse stands out from its competitors by offering its distributors a broad product portfolio from some of the world’s premier manufacturers through a national delivery platform providing next day delivery to 97% of the country.
Lagasse is a wholesaler that sells to over 8,000 customers most of which are family-owned distributor businesses. As owners bring their children into the business, relationships need to shift and generational changes and differences have become increasingly apparent. Lagasse was looking for the best ways to sell its products to an evolving generation of customers, who are often more independent and research-driven, while improving customer relationships. Lagasse engaged Cam Marston to speak and provide insight on “selling across the generations” at its annual customer and supplier performance reward trip, attended by key customers, suppliers and sales associates. In this first engagement, Cam set a baseline of understanding on how to identify and navigate generations in the marketplace. Based on the success of that program, Cam was invited back for a second general session presentation focused specifically on selling to Generation X and Millennials, along with a two-hour workshop on management and retention tactics for Gen X and Millennials. For all three events, Cam conducted custom research on the buying habits of consumers in the janitorial supply industry, including discussions with Lagasse’s customers, to provide the precise information and insights to meet Lagasse’s stated goals. Cam also recorded a custom welcome video for attendees, providing a tease of the content to come and priming them for the discussion.
Cam’s initial presentation helped Lagasse’s sales team and its distributors understand the differences in the buying behaviors of their traditional, relationship-driven customers and today’s knowledge-oriented customers. He provided insights as to the buying behaviors of Gen X and Millennials—who are known to conduct independent research in advance of purchase—as well as tactics that would appeal to these new customers. The positive response to that session encouraged Lagasse to bring him back the following year for a deeper discussion, which was also well received. In fact, Cam was routinely stopped at the second event by individuals who had attended the first event and wanted to let him know they were taking the lessons to heart and applying them to their businesses and marketing activities.