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Relationship Selling Never Grows OldFebruary 7, 2024 | Dan Feinberg, I-Connect007
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes
Many years ago, I was a regional sales manager for a well-known supplier, and we had one of the world’s largest PCB fab facilities in our region. Part of my responsibility was to prove our product to that fab’s process engineering team. Our product happened to be red, while the fab was using our competitor’s product, which was blue. Just as we were successfully building a very good relationship with this company, the competing sales team said or did something to anger the responsible process engineer. I was soon informed that they would change to our product. The engineer said, “I can see my room turning red.” I attribute this change to a well-built relationship spiced up with a little good timing.
The first step for a sales team is to directly interact with the targeted customers, converting the leads (created by advertising and research done by the marketing team) into sales. Marketing is the first chapter, and sales is the rest of the story. Get to know the customer and build a relationship with the key decision-makers, be they process engineers, purchasing agents, or just about everyone in between.
It is important to recognize that sales and marketing are related but not the same. I find it interesting that some people are not aware of the difference. The confusion is understandable in that the goal of both functions is to enter a market with a product and/or service and gain sales. One of the ways I learned to gain business was to enter a market by showing product value (marketing) and gaining business opportunities by building sound personal relationships with key decision-makers (sales).
The main goal of marketing is to obtain, invent, and/or produce something needed or can be used by an industry segment. This is done by using market research to determine the industry segment’s needs (using a larger set of activities, market research on pricing, identification of competition, strength, and weakness of competing products) and then testing the product to ensure it meets those needs as much as possible. Use that to build a marketing plan and product introduction timeline, issue announcements, advertise, etc. Then, the sales process starts.
While marketing activities are usually indirect (identify prospective customers), sales activities are usually direct (interact with customers), and success is far more probable if the relationships between the salesperson/team and the process engineer/purchasing agent making the final decision have been established and are strong.
On 22-23 February 2024, Sales and Account Management together with important expert areas met in Munich, Germany, to get input, exchange ideas and discuss how to ensure excellent customer experience throughout the entire customer journey.
IPC announced the January 2024 findings from its North American Electronics Manufacturing Services (EMS) Statistical Program. The book-to-bill ratio stands at 1.20.
IPC announced the January 2024 findings from its North American Printed Circuit Board (PCB) Statistical Program. The book-to-bill ratio stands at 0.93.
Nordson Corporation reported results for the fiscal first quarter ended January 31, 2024. Sales were $633 million, a 4% increase compared to the prior year’s first quarter sales of $610 million.
Net sales of $204.6 million decreased 10.7% versus the prior quarter resulting from lower sales in the AES and EMS business units. AES net sales decreased by 7.2% primarily related to lower aerospace and defense (A&D), renewable energy sales, partially offset by higher EV/HEV sales.