ניהול לקוחות אסטרטגיים – החברה הישראלית הקטנה מול הלקוח הגדול – חלק ראשון

בשנים האחרונות “נשאבתי” לעסוק בסיטואציה אופינית ללא מעט חברות ישראליות.
חברה ישראלית קטנה או בינונית אשר עובדת מול לקוחות גדולים בחו”ל.
כיצד ניתן לפתח שיטת עבודה אפקטיבית בסיטואציה זו ?
בשפה המקצועית הנושא נקרא “ניהול לקוחות אסטרטגיים” ( SAM- Strategic Account Management)  ובנגזרת מורכבת עוד יותר שלו עבודה מול לקוחות גלובליים (GAM).
בנושא זה אני משתף פעולה עם מומחה עולמי בתחום בשם פרופ. קוין ווילסון.
אני מצרף פה בשני חלקים מאמר שכתבנו באנגלית (הוא כתב, אני הוספתי…) עבור עיתון פנימי של לקוח גדול אשר מסכם את עיקרי התפיסה.
למתענינים בחומר נוסף אני מציע להיכנס לאתר http://www.strategicaccounts.org/  של SAMA הארגון המאגד בתוכו את העוסקים בתחום.
בחלק הראשון של המאמר אנו מציגים שלושה קשיים עיקריים:
  • מוצרים הופכים לקומודיטי מאוד מהר בהרבה תעשייתיות, קשה להשיג נאמנות לקוחות וכך תפקיד איש המכירות הופך לקשה יותר ויותר
  • פונקציית הרכש, ניהול שרשרת האספקה הפכו למקצועיים יותר יותר.
  • הצורך בתיעדוף בין לקוחות בגלל מגבלת משאבים (במיוחד של החברה הישראלית !)

Strategic Account Management – The Changing Face of Sales 
Dr. Kevin Wilson and Michael Gally – PART 1
Your company is the industry technology leader, you have some of the very best products in your marketplace, your after-sale service is second to none and the economic argument for customers to adopt your proposals is irrefutable and yet…
You are continually under price pressure, customers treat your offerings as commodities and there is scant evidence of loyalty from many of your customers. Of course, not all customers are the same. Some represent a disproportionate share of your business; some are more profitable to deal with than others, some do repay the efforts you make in serving them, and some are just more trouble than they are worth.
How do you tell the difference and how do you treat them differently? Is it possible to develop long term, sustainable competitive advantage that your competitors have difficulty in copying, can you choose who you do business with, and can you combat moves to drive your prices down and commoditise your product or service?
This article aims to provide answers to at least some of those questions by discussing how Strategic Account Management programmes can be made more effective.
What’s different?
Traditionally, selling has been about applying the salesperson’s knowledge of their company’s products and services to the needs of their customers and through an effective sales process to persuade customers to buy. The skills used by salespeople have been the ability to investigate need, present the benefits and overcome objections through the application of a range of sales techniques. There has been growing consensus in recent years that selling should be consultative rather than coercive or adversarial but whatever approach has been adopted the aim was to get the customer to buy your solution rather than your competitors because you could demonstrate clear differential advantage. That was all well and good in the days when you could differentiate your product offering and when purchasing got involved very late in the process to negotiate on price, but things have changed.
So, what’s changed? The answer is “not a lot” and at the same time “a great deal”.
One of the anomalies in this age of technological change is how many industries are reliant on “old” technology. The motor industry, aerospace, computers, and a dozen other industries look back 50-100 years for their base technology. Standardisation of technologies and processes has led directly to the commoditisation of products and has driven the major changes we have seen in the way people do business. As it became increasingly difficult to achieve differentiation from product technologies so companies sought competitive advantage through process improvements, cost reduction initiatives, quality improvement, collaboration within the supply chain, supplier base reduction and the like. Many of these changes have been affected by procurement and supply chain management, the very people who used to be called “purchasing”.
The impact on sales people is that they find their role increasingly under threat. Some customer procurement departments don’t even want to see them and are insisting that the role of sales is to respond to requests for tender or participation in reverse auctions.
Purchasing has become a profession
An astonishing degree of “professionalisation” has occurred in purchasing and supply chain management in the past twenty or so years. Look at the tools that are regularly employed by purchasing to assess, manage and (dare I say) coerce suppliers and compare those with the analytical tools employed by your own sales organisation when dealing with customers. I suggest that you might be hard pressed to identify enough to count on the fingers of one hand.
Purchasing has become increasingly “strategic” with ever more senior managers involved in purchasing and supply decisions. Striving to wrest cost savings and competitive advantage from the supply chain customers develop and manage portfolios of suppliers, positioning them in terms of relative power/dependency, the nature of the purchasing task, the value of the supplier long and short term, their position in the supply chain, levels of competition and technological ownership. The reality for many supply organisations is that if they are not “strategic suppliers” who provide value the customer cannot duplicate elsewhere, then they are commodity suppliers.
זוהי המציאות ואיתה צריך להתמודד.
בחלק השני אותו אפרסם בימים הקרובים אציג את עקרונות התפיסה שפותחה כדי להתמודד עם המציאות הקשה.
מיכאל גלי
26.3.10

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