Distribution Leader Panel:
How Distributors Can Use Marketing to Drive Sales 

Available on-demand

A great marketing department can help a distributor drive better sales, profits and long-term growth. 

Traditionally, however, the role of marketing in distribution has been limited – tasked with managing tchotchkes, product promotions and supplying the sales team with flyers. Many marketers in distribution feel like they have little influence on high-level strategic and tactical decisions. 

If distributors want to compete successfully, they need to take a more strategic approach. 

In a world where customers use upwards of 10 channels to research and make purchases, the role of marketing has become critical to managing and nurturing leads; targeting messaging based on segment or behavior; gaining greater visibility into the customer’s journey; and engaging at the right moments and with the right message. 

A strategic approach to marketing holds clear benefits for distributors: 

  • Increased sales productivity 
  • Increased top and bottom line through greater customer experience 
  • Greater visibility into and impact on the customer journey 
  • Improved internal cooperation across all customer-facing team members 

Distributors also need to integrate the right technologies into their arsenal to support these goals. 

Watch on-demand as our panelists share how they’ve transformed their marketing roles and tools to reach more customers, more efficiently, across channels. 


Sheila Hernandez

Sheila Hernandez, Summit 

Cynthia Lovely

Cynthia Lovely, Chadwell Supply

Susan Merlo

Susan Merlo, The Digital Distributor

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Thank you to our sponsor:

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About our panelists:

Sheila Hernandez

Sheila Hernandez

Vice President, Marketing & Supplier Relations, Summit

Sheila Hernandez joined Summit in 1987 as a part-time marketing student intern while completing her undergraduate degree at the University of New Mexico. After earning her MBA, Hernandez proceeded to take on the roles of marketing coordinator, director of marketing, vice president of marketing, vice president, chief information and technology officer and vice president, customer experience officer (CXO). She also led Summit's internet presence, mobile app development, master product data management system, and market data analytics program. In 2022, she started her current role as vice president, marketing and supplier relations. 

Active in the industry, Hernandez spent nine years on the marketing committee and was a member of the Futures Group Task Force for IMARK Group. She was elected to the board of directors for IMARK Electrical in 2018, making her the second female board member in IMARK’s history. She is currently serving her second three-year term. Hernandez was one of 14 inaugural mentors in the Empowering Women Mentorship Program. She has served on numerous committees and task forces for the National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED) and has been a panelist for Modern Distribution Management, NAED, IDEA and IMARK Group. Hernandez is a Gold Level graduate of NAED's Electrical Products Education Course (EPEC) and Dare to Lead™ trained. 

In her current role, Hernandez leads the company’s marketing efforts, which have been expanded to include category management, supplier relations, digital presence and customer lifecycle. 

Hernandez works out of Summit's Albuquerque headquarters and reports to Ed Gerber, President and CEO.

Cynthia Lovely

Director of Marketing, Chadwell Supply

Cynthia Lovely joined Chadwell Supply in 2017 and now serves as the Director of Marketing. Starting her career with the Florida Senate and the American Cancer Society, Cynthia then worked for several years in marketing for IT Services and SAAS organizations before finding her home in the multifamily industry.  In her current role, Cynthia has the privilege of leading some of the top marketing talent in the industry as they strive to maintain Chadwell Supply’s strong customer-centric culture and brand in the midst of tremendous growth and expansion nationwide.  

Susan Merlo

Founder, The Digital Distributor Program

Susan Merlo is a distribution industry expert who coaches companies on implementing successful digital sales and marketing strategies. With a keen focus on bridging traditional sales practices with digital strategies, she and her team provide done-for-you and done-with-you digital sales and marketing services. Her book, “The Digital Distributor: Six Steps to Accelerate Sales”, is a workbook-style guide that shows distributors how to build a strong digital foundation from which they can successfully communicate their value, manage and convert more valuable leads, and serve their buyers on their buyers' terms. She is also the founder of The Digital Distributor Program, on which the book is based. Learn more at https://www.TheDigitalDistributor.com. 


About our host:

Ian G. Heller

Founder & Senior Partner, Distribution Strategy Group

Ian Heller is Founder & Senior Partner at Distribution Strategy Group, and has more than 30 years of experience executing marketing and e-business strategy in the wholesale distribution industry. He has written and spoken extensively on the impact of digital disruption on distributors.