NAW Reveals Top Personal Goals of CEOs for 2024

4 min read - February 14, 2024


What are you hoping to achieve in 2024?

That very question was posed to wholesale and distribution CEOs and summarized in a presentation at the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors at their 2024 Executive Summit. Their top responses were tallied, and fall into six different areas of attention for the year: customer experience, “perfect orders,” incremental sales, digital transformation, employee staffing and engagement, and efficiency. Let’s explore each of them, and how CRM can have a positive impact.

Customer experience

Leading out the responses, 31% of CEOs chose focusing on customer experience as their most important goal for 2024. Whether that’s to make improvements or to maintain their position, leaders recognize that customer experience – as measured by such standards as Net Promoter Score (NPS) or Customer Satisfaction surveys (CSAT) – will help or hinder their growth.

Playing an outsize role in influencing NPS and CSAT are the regular interactions you have with your customers. A 360-degree view of your customers is therefore important, to drive consistent conversations as well as to personalize your marketing, sales, and service for each customer. The key to making that happen is CRM designed for distributors by distributors

Perfect orders

The second most top-ranked goal cited was on-time and in-full (OTIF) order fulfillment at 22%. It makes sense this would follow customer experience as a critical point since customers need to know their products, equipment, and services will be delivered when specified so they can continue to operate smoothly. This also means consistency in revenue recognition.

CRM plays a supporting role here. By integrating CRM with your ERP system, your salespeople have real-time visibility into the availability of goods they are quoting and ordering. If something is not currently available, they have the insights needed to set customer expectations appropriately. Analytics help provide perfect order metrics back to the sales and executive teams.

Incremental sales

Rounding out the top three is revenue growth in the form of incremental sales by cross- and upselling additional products and services to customers, chosen by 18%. To be successful here, those suggested additional products and services need to fit the customers needs or the offers will fall flat.

To land those recommendations, insights are needed. That’s where AI-embedded in CRM can assist. By analyzing historical order data for the customer as well as like-customers, informed suggestions can be made that are more likely to resonate with the customer.

Digital transformation

The term “digital transformation” has been around for years now. Receiving 11% of votes for the top spot, it’s in the middle of the pack – still important, but as many companies have experienced, more of an ongoing journey. As processes are digitized, it opens additional opportunities for digitization and other improvements.

You might have adopted CRM as part of this journey. Perhaps your salespeople are now able to use their mobile device more regularly in their sales. Both are examples of moves that can be made on a digital transformation journey. What next steps do you have planned? What about using actionable analytics to help connect disparate data points to the tasks you need to take to improve customer health or to accelerate a deal?

Employee staffing

Low unemployment and staff turnover continues to create competition in hiring across all roles and all industries, and 10% of those surveyed put it as a top goal to address. Compounding the problem are employee knowledge and skills gaps – which for some wholesale distributors has been challenging, especially for filling sales roles.

The solution? Organizations must provide easy-to-use tools, such as CRM with AI guidance that helps salespeople prioritize their sales tasks. This not only helps them be productive and “learn the ropes,” it also helps reduce the risk of missing sales and revenue targets.


The final category, selected by 8% of CEOs, has to do with eliminating non-value-added labor. Some will look to ways to cut out unneeded steps to streamline processes. Companies also turn to automation for recurring tasks, speeding processes along while ensuring they are completed with minimal errors.

By using workflows, salespeople can focus their time on selling instead of repetitive, administrative tasks. Workflows can be used to send follow-up emails, prompt sellers to add details to an opportunity, create appointments, and more. They can be initiated by various actions, including when a customer has met triggering criteria. Besides saving time, this also helps ensure consistency in sales processes. 

What are your goals? 

How does this list match with yours? What are you hoping to achieve in 2024?

These were only a few examples of how using a CRM system built specifically for wholesale distribution might help you meet your goals. There are plenty of other challenges it can also help address. Contact us today to discuss your goals or schedule a demo to see WebPresented in action!