Trust that after doing this since 1986, Spinitar adding a new manufacturer or product line is highly scrutinized. Frankly, I’m as much if not more interested in the business and value proposition that a manufacturer brings, than the product they provide. I hope I don’t get in trouble for saying this, but I think there is a great deal of parity out there today amongst product sets. So, once a product is just as good as another, the integrator needs to look more closely at the company providing the product for additional value that they might provide. To me, this is beyond typical plans and programs.
For instance, we had a manufacturer conduct strategic sales training to our sales team, making sure our sales team was better equipped to differentiate themselves in today’s difficult and changing selling environment. We had another manufacturer provide ‘Lean Practices & Principles’ training to a group of our employees charged with uncovering process and communication efficiencies throughout our organization. And yet another manufacturer offered in depth technical training, not specific to their product, but in an attempt to improve our technical competencies. In all cases, these manufacturers were investing in our organization and delivering value that had no direct correlation with selling their particular product. These manufacturers get it as it relates to differentiating themselves by not just providing a product, but by delivering real value.
Another thing Spinitar considers are the people selling and supporting the product, along with their leadership team. We’re very ‘attached at the hip’ to our manufacturers, having a teaming vs. adversarial relationship with them. ‘Partner’ is a much-overused term, but from our vantage point, the relationship with those that provide us with the ‘stuff’ is SO important. I guess it’s the old adage that people do business with those that they like, and with those that they trust. Our manufacturers are considered friends.
Jeff Irvin is Principal at Spinitar. This feature is part of SCN's "Hush Hush" October print issue.