By: Nathan Wicka
With the ever increasing boom in technology and information, getting ones business message out can be easier said than done. While the invention of the World Wide Web has made it easier for businesses to get their message out, it has also created an age of information overload. Consumers are constantly being bombarded by texts, emails, news and social media. This is why it is so important for businesses to zero in on the right target audience to share ones message. More importantly in sales, when given extended time in front of potential customers, it is critical to convey a clear strong message.
The first step is know your target audience. Having a great message means nothing if it isn’t received by the right people. For example, Exact Medical Manufacturing (EMM) is a custom OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) of disposable operating room products. Our target customers are medical procedural kit packers, medical device manufactures, as well as medical supply distributors. To go even deeper, the target contacts within those specific businesses would be marketing and engineering managers and contacts within purchasing/sourcing. When looking to zero in on your target audience, think “Who is the decision maker?”
Now that you have your target audience, what channels can you use to reach them? Also, what will give me the most bang for my buck? Below are just a few examples:
- LinkedIn: This business orientated social networking site is a great tool for connecting with key potential business contacts: Today, one of the first things people do when receiving a business card or beginning introductory business talks is to “Google” that person’s name.
- LinkedIn is connected with the search engine Google and it’s a great way to direct potential customers to your LinkedIn home page and also your business’ website.
- Joining key groups within LinkedIn. For example, I belong to groups such as “The Strategic Sourcing and Procurement Group” & “Medical Device Opportunity Group.” Being a participant with these groups connects me to key members and sales targets for whom my message can reach. More importantly, many businesses use these platforms to advertise projects and product needs.
- Press Releases: Help in publicizing new information relevant to your business. If there is anything that is newsworthy at a certain point in time in your business, you need to inform your loyal customers and prospects through a press release. In the same way, when you have a brand new website for your business or service, then the web acts as a spokesperson and you link your press release content to it.
- Constant Contact: Is a marketing email service provider. Businesses not only gain an email marketing tool but also, essentially, a CRM. They can build customer and prospect lists, as well as take a look at detailed analytics that provide a window into customers’ like and dislikes.
- Industry Tradeshows: With all the different digital channels to release ones message on, nothing beats a face to face encounter with a current or potential customer. Industry tradeshows give you a centralized location to meet with companies face to face.
- For Example, Exact Medical Manufacturing was an exhibitor at the Medica Medical Tradeshow in Dusseldorf Germany this past November 2016.
- You don’t have to always exhibit to attend. For example, many industry tradeshows offer exhibit hall passes only that you can acquire to walk the tradeshow floor. This is a good tool to get in front of potential customers face-to-face to discuss business.
You know your target audience. You understand the channels to use to reach your audience. All that means nothing without being able to deliver a clear, concise message. One issue I deal with on a consistent basis is misconceptions and stereotypes related to overseas manufacturing. At Exact Medical Manufacturing, it is because of our core message of “Manufacturing With Integrity” & “Doing Chinese Manufacturing Right,” that I can address and breakthrough this stereotype.
Let me use EMM as an example. When prospecting or working with current and potential customers, I try to address three questions within my core messaging.
Why do I need the product?
As sales people, it is so easy to be on your own agenda and to begin overloading your customer with too much information. Instead, it is important to uncover what your potential customer’s needs and or current issues are. Look to be a problem solver. This goes back to some extent of understanding your target audience. For example, I look to find out what are some current sourcing issues or headaches they may be having. Is it quality, delivery/logistics, pricing, something else, or a combination of multiple issues? Once I know what my customer’s needs are, I can then form my message and answer the next question.
Why do I need to get that product from Exact Medical?
This is where the meat of your message comes into play. This is where you provide the benefits to your customer and differentiate yourself from your competition.
For example, let’s go back to my issue of dealing with misconceptions and stereotypes of overseas manufacturing. One of the topics I hear is inconsistent quality of products. I hear stories ranging from receiving a good first order of product only to have the quality regress on future orders.
This is where I address why Exact Medical is the solution to the problem and again address our core message that “Exact Medical Manufactures with Integrity & does Chinese Manufacturing the Right Way.”
- EMM offers the best of both worlds. We can offer competitive pricing all while not at the expense of having the quality of our product suffer.
- Exact Medical mirrors a U.S. manufacturing quality system. Our team at our facilities have current quality controls set in place to ensure product efficiency and consistency. EMM performs raw material tests such as melt index testing, hydrostatic pressure testing, strip tensile surface resistance testing, alcohol repellency testing and more.
- Don’t take my word for it, take it direct from the FDA. This past March 2016 EMM completed our second routine U.S. Food and Drug Audit of our manufacturing facilities since our establishment in 2009 without any observations. I am pleased to report that there were no objectionable written observations and a FDA 483 form was not issued.
- Our team at our facility speaks fluent English and Mandarin which helps streamline communication with our customers.
Why do I need it today?
This last question is where one would look to create a sense of urgency. Give the customer a reason to want to move forward with placing an order, or the continuation of a sourcing project, or custom product development project. It may be a special pricing based off volume or timing of order. It may be a guarantee offered to the customer on an order.
- For example, I stated above that at EMM one of our target audiences are medical procedure kit packers. Many of these procedural kits include many different medical devices and can retail for high dollars. That kit may need to include within it a surgical gown, surgical drape, or even a disposable equipment cover. If my customer is having a quality issue on any of these products that could prevent the entire kit from being sold into their market.
- Even if there are no current quality issues with the gowns, drapes, or covers, there is still opportunity. Understanding my customer and the kit market I know providing cost savings on the gowns, drapes, or covers that may go inside a certain kit can help drive the customers kit price down and make it more competitive for their end user in the marketplace. Furthermore, I can sell EMM’s specific product features benefits of higher quality which may also help differentiate that kit with its competitors in the marketplace.
In conclusion, remember when looking to get your message out, know your audience and know what proper channels to use to reach that audience. Then uncover your customers’ needs and get on their agenda. Based off their needs, develop a clear, concise message. Answer the questions with your message: Why do I need the product? Why do I need it from you? Why do I need it today?
Bio of Nathan Wicka
Nathan has spent the past 11 years successfully selling in the Medical Healthcare Industry. He has a unique perspective and experience in selling both directly to the end user and also as an OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer). His experience and understanding of each role in the sales process is integral and very beneficial in his current role as Business Development Manager (EMM US).
Nathan has both Domestic and International sales experience. In addition to the U.S. Market, over the last 5 years, he has been successfully involved in projects that have taken place in the Australian, Canadian, European, Middle Eastern, South American, African and Chinese Markets.
Nathan is a self-driven, self-motivated & hard worker who really enjoys working with customers to help solve problems and grow business. He understands the importance of great support & customer service. Furthermore, Nathan’s high motor and positive can-do attitude help make the high stress sourcing/supplying process an enjoyable one.
It is Nathan’s characteristics mentioned above, in addition to the price competitiveness and high quality products Exact Medical manufacturers, which differentiate Exact Medical from other overseas medical manufacturers.
On a personal note, Nathan is a big Buffalo sports fan. He enjoys playing ice hockey and skiing in his free time.