Tag Archive for Customer Relationship Management

Relationship Management

By Tom Fedro

I don’t understand why, but far too many businesses fail to take into account the importance of relationships. Relationships with employees, vendors, customers, and others determine the success or failure of an organization. It’s amazing to me that many tech companies in particular fail to adequately consider the impacts of their relationships and the value that is earned or lost by them.

Your primary job is not to write code or data sheets. Your primary job is not to create products or presentations. Your primary job in management is developing and maintaining relationships with everyone along your production and delivery system. You can’t let these items go. A great many brilliant technological advancements never see a market because an understanding of the importance of human relationships was missing. Take the time to recognize what your distributors and your clients hold most dear. Don’t try to convince them of your product’s value without first understanding what it is that is most important to them. Work at this, and you’ll find that your sales and production efforts will begin to streamline.

I’ve often had friends ask me “How can you get employees to believe they have a say?” I always give the obvious answer, “Give them a say” and mean it by taking concrete action. Determining how to value relationships in your business is the same. Recognize that the relationships are more than just valuable – THEY ARE your business. Once this is clear you’ll ultimately find your policies, goals, and activities aligning themselves according to that principle. Above all, never forget that business is ultimately about people, even when you spend your day working on software and hardware. The human element is the element that pays for the company’s existence, and you forget about it at your peril and at the peril of your company.

How are you doing? How are the relationships in your business? What are you going to change?

Got Value Added Resellers?? Use the White Glove Treatment

Paragon reseller customer serviceBy Tom Fedro

To be successful in the channel a technology vendor needs to provide its channel partners with not only top-notch products, they must offer the “white-glove” treatment. You may ask what that entails, exactly. As Tevye once said, “Let me tell you.”

Over the last three years our team has spent countless hours meeting with and learning about the needs of the Value Added Reseller community and what these brave technology entrepreneurs are looking for in their partners. We have observed that a successful vendor to the VARs goes far beyond product features and pricing tiers — both of which are very important, but — it really comes down to providing measurably superior pre-sale lead delivery and post-sale technical support that can be relied on when the ship is sinking — which will happen on occasion. These are the two areas where a vendor must spend its time when building its partner network.

Other key parts of a winning partner program includes

  • Joint sales calls; the VAR must view the vendor as an extension of its sales team
  • Lead distribution; 100% Channel Centric – all leads go to VARs
  • Access to sales and technical experts in a heartbeat
  • Joint marketing activities; press releases, case studies and other collateral
  • Aggressive margins with additional discounts for registered deals
  • And, of course, outstanding technical and sales product training

In addition to whats mentioned above, at my company, Paragon Software Group, we like to promote our partner’s successes as well. To that end, read a case study about our partner Argonaut Solutions and how they replaced Symantec’s Backup Exec with Paragon’s Drive Backup — great imaging software at a great price. To read the full case story, go to our Web site, www.Paragon-Downloads.com.

Good Selling!

Opportunity Knocks

Tom Fedro NewsOpportunity Knocks” is a collection of interesting, timely articles for the business and technology minded soul. Enjoy!

Tips for Developing Life-Long Clients

By Tom Fedro

Building Long-Term Relationships in Business by Tom FedroLike a good friend, great sales professionals continue their customer relationships long after the sale has closed. This is especially important when working in a Business to Business (B2B) software sales enironment. Whether you’re selling office supplies, commerical real estate, or (as in our case at Paragon Software Group) high value software solutions, the best marketing tool to generate new sales is word-of-mouth. To that end, here are a few tips to build long-term relationships and improve your credibility and reputation.

1. During the sales cycle, act as an extension of the client’s / prospect’s team by helping to solve problems and by providing solutions; don’t just sell software

2. When negotiating contracts, ensure the customer always feels like he won in the deal, without your giving away the store—a great deal is an honest win-win contract—ensure mutual satisfaction

3. Stay with the customer long after the sale is complete; reach out to them on a regular basis ensuring that they are happy with the software; you may uncover a new opportunity

4. Keep the communication line open by sending them useful information to their business or an article that could impact them now and then

5. If they encounter problems, don’t avoid them, follow up quickly to fix the issue, acting as a liaison between them and customer support

By adding value to your partner relationships, you will build trust over time, which in turn will convert into repeat sales should the client contact move to another position or potentially another company. These valuable connections will continue to generate new sales through recommendations, upgrades and new projects. Long-term success is keeping the customer satisfied; it costs much more to make a sale to a new customer than to one with which you have already established a strong relationship.

Good selling!