The ideal mix of business development activities in the IP&E industry include a perfect blend of sales and marketing experience, contacts and knowledge. Such a mix is never more important than when a manufacturer decides to outsource sales and marketing representation.

This often happens in the electronics industry as manufacturers quickly and effectively launch products into new territories by tapping into business development partner’s distribution networks and customer contacts.

So if this is a route you are considering, what elements should you consider in the perfect business development mix:

Business Development Briefing – Firstly your strategy must be clear and lucidly communicated to the outsourced sales and marketing team. The brief is everything in terms of setting appropriate expectations on both sides and obviously in creating mutually profitable contracts and terms of engagement.

Local Market Audit – From the briefing the team should then demonstrate and deliver a full market audit. Rather than a list of potential distributors and customers, this should be evidence of a deeper understanding of market trends, opportunities and threats.

Setting Strategic Objectives – Together and collaboratively this is the point of setting not just quick win goals in a product launch but rather some sustainable and smart objectives for longer term growth. Strategic objectives should be a mix of financial as well as subjective measures an example of which is brand perception.

Creating Marketing Strategy – The marketing strategy should again be created in collaboration. By marketing we don’t simply mean the promotional plan but rather a longer term view of deliverables for product, place, price, promotion and importantly, physical evidence, the all-important advocacy, testimonials and case studies.

Customer Journey – Be it the distributor or end customer, the process and systems to be used for engagement from initial awareness through conversion to ongoing retention are vital, to ensure customer experience is at the heart of all engagement and relationship building.

Sales Integration – Fed directly from the strategic goals, the wider marketing strategy and the choreographed customer journey, the integration with day to day sales activities and initiatives, will be key to a coherent and measurable product launch and ongoing business development and growth.

Digital Marketing Plan – Supporting sales activities will be the digital marketing plan which through creation and ongoing fuelling of an engaging digital profile, will set the scene and support the communication of key messages, even whilst we sleep.

Content Strategy – The ideal marketing and sales plan is fuelled by a coherent and engaging content strategy. The content strategy informs printed and digital media and publications and increasingly focuses on the outcomes a customer will experience rather than simply product features and benefits.

Tactical Marketing Action Plan – Step by step and measurable at the finest level of detail, the tactical marketing action plan is a monthly record of activities that integrate to provide the right messages at the right times to the right people to influence decision making and give buyers reasons to buy.

Measurement and Reporting – And coming full circle, the most effective outsourced business development, sales and marketing teams will stand by and be accountable to their measurement and reporting. Ensure all parties understand the need for consistent and relevant key performance indicators (KPIs) and that these, with recommendations for continuous improvements, are reported in a timely manner to everyone involved.

 – Article by Kevin White, Director of Elec-Rep, outsourced sales and marketing representation specialists ; The Gateway to Europe.

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