Today I wanted to touch base with Benjamin Cohen, the founder of Proton.AI—one of our sponsors. Proton.AI delivers an instant, artificial intelligence-powered platform for distributors that helps sales teams succeed in an increasingly digital world.
I talked with Benj (his go-to nickname) about our united goal to highlight and support the important work of distributors. Whether you’re in technology (like Benj and his team) or you’re working in a warehouse, it’s so important that we stand together and showcase how distributors really do keep America running.
What motivated you to be part of the We Supply America journey?
We Supply America is aligned with our mission.
We’re a software company that builds AI-powered sales enablement tools for distributors. We only work with distributors. This is the industry that I grew up in, and I care a lot about, and We Supply America is all about telling the story of this industry—and I wanted to be a part of that.
One of the reasons I started the company was because there were not strong software companies that were servicing our market. And, honestly, I think it’s because distribution just gets ignored. What got me excited about the We Supply America campaign is that it’s about telling the stories of some of our customers and the industry that we love to the world, which we at Proton think is so important. So we felt like there was really strong alignment there.
A lot of what prompted this tour was seeing how the pandemic affected distribution. What did that mean to you and your company and how do you think the ongoing pandemic will affect distribution?
We’re building software that helps distributors in a more virtual world. Our software figures out where sales reps should be spending their time, which became even more important during COVID because sales teams could no longer visit customers in person, and instead they had to do things over Zoom or over the phone.
That’s where we feel like we’ve been able to impact the industry in this challenging time. Our whole business is about helping distributors navigate. We think that our business plays a big role in helping distributors transition to a more hybrid selling model or a virtual selling model.
Unfortunately, I don’t think COVID’s going away, but we’re here to help distributors navigate it.
Thank you so much to Benj, and the team at Proton, for supporting the We Supply America mission. Their technology helps distributors create proactive selling strategies, optimize data, and save money in the process. It’s inspiring how they truly want to help distributors innovate. One thing they’ve been working on is ensuring that their omnichannel platform seamlessly integrates with popular ERP systems so that companies can integrate Proton’s platform with the platforms that they already use, making it easier for distributors to set up and get to work without having to learn an entirely new system.
Distribution is so multifaceted, and there is such an opportunity for innovation and adaptation. I’ve seen the innovation, and I’ve heard the stories of adapting to COVID-19 and to the needs of customers. And I’m excited to see how tech companies, like Proton, will support the forward-thinking goals of the industry. This centuries-old industry is still cutting edge, and I can’t wait to see how distributors continue to innovate with the help of new technologies.
Benj and I spoke at length in this interview about the impact of the pandemic on our industry. It’s been a tough year for so many of us and it’s important that we reframe and adjust so that we can sustain our industry. You know how much I love talking about the noble calling of distribution, and Benj and I really dive into what that means for our industry, and what it means as part of the We Supply America mission.
And don’t forget to check out my chat with Infor’s Kristin Monsey, where she tells me she hopes that We Supply America goes viral. (I do too!)