Thursday, October 16, 2003
Are you struggling to create and keep profitable customers? Columns for Sales and Marketing Management who wants to build business relationships.
You can grow customer relationships in business to business by featuring them to a common end-users. These simple strategy can grow purchase volumes, product acceptance, and the size of your market. If you haven't considered it already, look at ways to help your customer increase the demand for your product.
These strategies work best for companies who provide a product to service providers, but can be used in any business with bundled solutions. You'll find practical models in many manufacturing companies who create a product that is uniquely identifiable with the end-user.
Many strategies are available, but here are a few to consider for trial over the next 6-months in your own business--
- Create an information resource that features your product to end-users. Include your customers (resellers or integrators) in the resource as the place to turn to implement the information provided. Focus on product tips, evaluation criteria, and other facts necessary to make a buying decision. Your sales pitch should connect end-users to your customers.
- Surround yourself with your top volume buyers. Use success examples with your volume customers in your marketing efforts. This builds additional credibility for your organization, while producing exposure that increases your customers sales. This win-win arrangement works for direct mail, trade shows, and other contacts with end-users.
- Provide marketing co-op funds for specific marketing campaigns. Your customers will be more inclined to sell your product if it cost less for them to market it. You help your customers produce a larger product while spending less for your own marketing.
- Feature your customers through their end-users. If an end-user has success with your product, then work directly with your customer to create a case study describing the success. This brings positive exposure to a larger audience while providing a credible message.
- Inventory financing programs help bring more products to end-users. Depending on your financial arrangement, you could even receive payment before moving products to integrators for incorporation into solutions sold to end-users. Your customers get materials they need to provide a solution which they will be paid for later.
- Provide systems to reduce costs of certain tasks related to delivering your product. This can be as simple as inventory management, or as complex as a logistics systems to track every aspect of a complex product. Your customer doesn't have to buy a system and they embed you in their business process.
Like many of the foundational practices you'll find here, these methods are in practice every day and work. Here are a few examples:
- Intel Corporation's Intel Inside(r) Program provides for OEM resellers and systems integrators. This program includes co-op advertising opportunities, use of "Intel Inside" circle logo, and purchase arrangements. A direct customer to Intel benefits from their credibility and can reduce their own marketing costs, Intel gets greater product adoption.
- Ford Fleet uses a Alternative Fuel Vehicles program to promote local dealers. By providing marketing tools, educational materials, and current laws Ford Fleet provides a consistent message while building acceptance for their products. Dealers benefit by saving money marketing materials and the demonstrated support the manufacture.
- Hewlett-Packard offers various partners programs for resellers and systems integrators. While HP may benefit from Intel's program, they provide their own channel co-op funds, marketing collateral, and logistics support. Members get web-based sales support tools without having to invest in costly systems.
- Boeing's Commercial Aviation Services provides MyBoeingFleet to airlines. This information management program allows airlines to store maintenance related information on Boeing's consolidated systems. Airlines save money because they don't have to invest in software or systems management, but reduces management costs.
Justin Hitt helps executives build profitable relationships with customer, employees, and strategic partners. He can be reached by phone at +1 (877) 207-3798 or on-line at https://iunctura.com/
Last update: 04/18/2004; 3:09:12 AM.