Benfield Consulting’s work changes with the needs of the customer; the company has developed new knowledge with the changes in B2B channels. Customers are distributors, manufacturers, media companies, private equity firms, software firms, and associations serving North American B2B channels. Our work includes:
Field Consulting - Projects of one to five months regarding a defined customer need and performance issue. Work has been in the functional areas of marketing (product development, channel management, pricing, service, sales, operations, and growth strategy). Clients have been firms with annual sales typically in the $100MM to $500MM range.
Strategic Advisory - Benfield Consulting has served as a strategic advisor to clients since its inception. Advice has been as a subject matter expert or highly experienced executive in B2B channels involving manufacturing and distribution. Projects include corporate boards, due diligence for Private Equity, review and assessment of growth strategy, pre-sale performance enhancement, digital commerce investment and advice on marketing and operations subjects.
Research and Writing - Research has been done as commissioned and sponsored since the firm’s early years. Projects have included diverse subjects of off-shoring, e-commerce, sales force restructuring, and channel conflict. Benfield Consulting, typically, is involved in one major research project per year in addition to other work. Scott Benfield regularly writes for trade publications, associations, and business periodicals.
Speeches and Seminars - Benfield Consulting conducts approximately six seminars and webinars per year. The subjects are varied but are often taken from the firm’s ongoing research and changing advisory services that complement the changing state of B2B channels.
Interim Management - Interim management projects, typically, come from field consulting and are an implementation of the firm’s findings in the field. Interim management projects are done at an executive level, often request executive privilege, and last six months to two years. Past projects have included pricing system development, business process enhancement, and sales force restructuring.
Benfield Consulting’s projects are not limited to one discipline, format, or management fad. The consultancy works to uncover client problems through careful analysis and craft custom solutions that fit within the ability of management to implement and the culture to sustain performance.
The following are project samples:
Benfield Consulting was asked by a $230MM in sales distributor/manufacturer to review pricing. Benfield Consulting found approx. $3MM in operating profit from the audit and presented to executive management a plan to improve. Benfield Consulting was asked to implement the plan and hired a Director of Pricing and Pricing Analyst. The implementation took slightly over a year including some system redesign with the client realizing almost all of the forecasted gain.
Benfield Consulting was asked by a division of a $5B in sales manufacturer holding company to review the company’s aftermarkets for growth. Benfield Consulting found that the aftermarket sales were half of the division’s sales and that several segments were in decline as OEM customers had raised prices to where independent aftermarket distributors and global importers had gained a foothold. Benfield Consulting found several new aftermarket entities who were interested in a distribution relationship and was successful in solidifying a major customer during the project. Benfield Consulting left the client with project recommendations totaling nearly 10% of sales and plans to turn around activity in key segments.
Benfield Consulting was asked by a Private Equity firm to perform due diligence on a potential acquisition. Benfield Consulting found the company, a distributor with light manufacturing, had a major vendor that was a significant part of top-line sales. Benfield Consulting also discovered that the distribution agreement, renegotiated once per year, had lapsed and the distribution rights were in dispute with the manufacturer. Benfield Consulting's recommendations helped the Private Equity partners to re-evaluate the client and develop a new approach before arranging financing.
Benfield Consulting was asked by two large North American associations to research the change in channel relationships brought about by e-commerce and digitalization of the channel relationships. Many of the association members were over $1B in sales. Benfield Consulting successfully developed the research instrument, recruited respondents, and delivered new knowledge and processes that saved the associations and their membership extensive time and expense in developing online commerce.
TYPES OF CUSTOMERS
Benfield Consulting has worked with a variety of customers. Clients are typically North American but the firm has worked with Western European and Pac Rim firms, depending on the project. Customer types include:
Mid-Market Distribution firms - These companies are typically privately owned, between $100MM to $1B in sales and often generational family or private equity governed. Typical projects include pricing, sales restructuring, activity costing and management, digital strategy and transformation, operations management, pre-sale preparation, post-sale performance improvement and acquisition due-diligence. Benfield Consulting has done significant interim management work (6 mos. +) at C and V levels for these firms.
Manufacturing Firms - Manufacturing firm work is done for North American or International firms. Firm size is from $50MM in sales to over $1B; public and private firms have been clients. Work includes general marketing, pricing, channel structure, value chain analysis and strategy, sales structure, and digital strategy.
Private Equity and Holding Companies - Due to their unique capital structure involving debt financing and shareholder focus, the work typically falls into short-term performance optimization. Benfield Consulting's work includes pricing optimization, marketing and sales restructuring, channel additions, and sales planning. Occasional work is done in due-diligence for acquisitions and post-acquisitive problem solving.
Software Firms - Much of Benfield Consulting’s work for software firms involves those in e-commerce and digital marketing. Work has been done for ERP, E-Commerce Transaction, and PIM firms. Ownership includes private firms, venture capital firms, and newly listed firms. Work revolves around getting the firms to market and using Benfield Consulting’s extensive experience in B2B channels and contact base.
Media Firms and Associations - Media firms and industry associations increasingly deliver knowledge materials to B2B segments. Benfield Consulting's work includes sponsor-based research, webinars, seminars, and knowledge-based writing.
Corporate Advisory/BOD - Benfield Consulting has been a board member and advised corporations on strategy. The work is typically done for privately-held firms and holding companies and has ranged from several years to short-term investigation and advisory.
Customers Have Included - Cerberus Capital, Chicago Growth Partners, EPICOR, General Electric, Illinois Tool Works, Industrial Distribution Assn., INFOR, Madison Industries, Manufacturer's Alliance For Productivity & Innovation, Sonepar, Summit Electric, SunSource, Swish Maintenance, and Valin Corp., among others.