In a global market, the understanding of marketing strategy is essential. It is very difficult for a small, average company to have experts from every country involved in their processes. The choice becomes whether to invest in a multitude of foreign commercial offices, or to develop a distributor network all over the world.
PROTEM decided to make the choice to concentrate their efforts on their distributor network.
The main advantage of a strong international distributor network, is the ability to communicate with a regional company that has a native workforce. The intercultural exchange is a challenge by itself. In any relationship with your clients you have different interests and points of view. If you add the difficulties of language and cultural understanding to these relationships, you can be sure that the investment of time and energy will drastically increase, along with the likelihood of being misunderstood.
Therefore, the distributor becomes a facilitator in this relationship with clients. While building and maintaining a distributor network has a cost, it is almost negligible in comparison with the time and cost spent in endeavoring to understand the client, waiting for answers due to time differences, and the potential loss in sales due to misunderstandings, or difficulties in placing an order and receiving it in a timely manner.
PROTEM is the world leader in special solutions for weld end preparation and machining. This service requires a special understanding that goes far beyond product distribution and marketing. The trusting, highly skilled partnership PROTEM has with our distributors allows us to extend our expertise all over the world. We cultivate this relationship in the following manner:
1. Distributor Training
Even when our product is well known by our distributors, the large range of areas in which PROTEM has skills, knowledge and expertise requires time committed to sharing ideas and communication about the features, uses and benefits of our machines. It is also time dedicated to knowing and understanding each other and the challenges faced in the market place. This is a huge and important step in relationship building and team coordination between the commercial and technical representatives of each company.
2. Demonstration Tours
Even though the distributor is able to make the equipment demonstration to a client, the visit of a PROTEM Technical Sales Engineer benefits the distributor and client relationship, as well as PROTEM. PROTEM and their distributors are thus able to build and maintain a close partnership in front of and with the client that creates a three way relationship which understands and solves the client’s needs.
3. Numerous Contacts
A company evolves because of new skills and experiences obtained by all the special situations encountered in providing solutions for the unique project requirements of their customers. Having distributors involved in these situations allows the distributor to be a part of this evolution and always be aware of what PROTEM is able to provide in terms of solutions for a customer’s particular needs. Therefore, the prospect of any order becomes an opportunity to discuss client needs, project requirements, feasibility, expectations and potential solutions. These conversations allow the partnership between PROTEM and our distributors to continually grow and develop, keeping alive the knowledge and understanding acquired by both companies.
In conclusion, a distributor network strategy enables PROTEM to create viable long-term relationships with foreign companies that results in worldwide coverage for our products and services.