Ray Pitchforth, Marketing Manager at distributor Icon has outlined his company’s differentiation strategy for Comms Business Magazine readers.
“Icon distributes VoIP, professional DECT, business phone, alarm, and messaging systems. These require a skilled solutions sale, sophisticated specification and installation, and ongoing support. In these markets Icon has positioned itself as a value added systems distributor. This has meant differentiating the total business model so that adding value is at the core of business and not just part of the marketing process. This means;
– Distributing products that really need a value-added service, are compatible, and will add depth rather than breadth to the portfolio. That way icon can provide unrivalled advice on the interoperability and suitability of the products and how the functionality can be exploited across the applications.
– Responding to a dealer’s individual need.
– Actively working with dealers to close the sale. This may mean supporting the dealer at customer sales meetings.
– Maintaining sufficient stock to make deliveries. Stock availability is the key to adding value. As a key UK distributor for the products in its portfolio icon has often supported dealers who have been let down by a box shifter.
– Extending commitment to the dealer into post sales service. Icon provides a problem solving telephone based support team, out of warranty repair and an ongoing commitment to a solution sourced from it. In some case it also works with the dealer to train the customer.
– Focusing on relationship building and positive communications. The knowledge that a dealer can call and speak to someone that knows about an order or client installation and will be able to walk them through the problem, make suggestions and offer a solution all adds to the value of a boxed product.
Pitchforth concludes, “Icon believes that many distributors who claim to add value do not meet best in class benchmarks. The test is to look at the commitment given to value added; is advice available at time of order, is real time support provided during installation, is there a depth of application knowledge at the end of the phone, does the distributor actively support the sales process, and finally will the distributor’s commitment to the solution continue after the bill has been paid.”