I am now a Regional Sales Manager in a small technology organization. There are 9 other folks like me (not quite :D ), around the country and I am inquiring here for a couple of reasons.

1. I used to be a Sales Manager with 8 directs. Now that I am an individual contributor (and more effective) I'd like some input on how MT site/conferences can benefit me and my peers.

2. We are positioned as the "Nordstrom" of our industry, both by us as well as by our customers. I am part of a small group of people selected to help further differentiate us from our competition. I have suggested very nice thank you notes as well as an executive gift program for some of our best customers. Any other suggestions? Anything that MT forums/site has to offer for this?

jhack's picture

Some companies do not allow their employees (especially those with purchasing power) to accept gifts worth more than a very small amount.

What is the product or service? "Technology" is a pretty broad area.

You might be able to provide some "high touch" aspects to your service component: personal delivery of some items, executive visits, a "round table" which allows customers direct input into the product planning process, etc. You may already be doing this.

Packaging is a great differentiator: have you bought an iPhone or iPod? The physical packaging is a delight.


eastcoastrob's picture

I agree with John that you need to be somewhat careful about gifts especially if you do anything with government organizations.

In terms of differentiating yourself from the competition, I've had considerable success using a one page "executive summary" of the key things that make my company different from others in the industry. Let me be clear: I'm referring to the company and it's practice and not specific product features, etc.

Hope that helps

tomas's picture

I had to Google Nordstroms as I'm not familiar with the company. I gather that it is an upmarket retail renowned for customer service. I'm having a bit of trouble relating that to a technology company (especially without knowing what you sell), but I guess it comes down to customer service and the intangible aspects of your product and/or service delivery.

Assuming that your underlying product is good quality and value for money, you can look at how your company delivers customer service. Can your customers get someone on the phone or get their emails answered in a timely manner? Do you have account managers who can actually help get things done, rather than being a hindrance? Customers don't want to be contacted continuously, but regular contact is good.

Gift giving is a tricky area. Corporate merchandise can be ok - i.e. branded pens, coffee cups, golf balls etc. You have to be careful that it doesn't come across as inappropriate. For example, I'd feel uncomfortable if a vendor wanted to take me out for an expensive meal, but would be fine if a nice meal was provided during an information/training session.