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Posted by Todd Hockenberry ● Feb 19, 2019

4 Reasons Strategic Partnerships are the Best Way to Market Your Product

Selling isn’t easy, but maybe there are some things that are easier to sell than others, like, say, a robotic arm.

But don’t tell that to Ben Toskey, President of MOTIVE Robotics in Minneapolis.

MOTIVE focuses on delivering turnkey robotics for material handling applications. More simply put, they help companies that handle any form of materials move the materials around a factory with less human effort.

They currently work with two types of robots that facilitate this support in very different ways:

Industrial self-driving vehicles used to transport goods in and out of factories and manufacturing facilities.

Collaborative robots. These tend to move a little slower, hold less weight, don’t require additional safety equipment around them, and tend to be less expensive.

While MOTIVE doesn’t actually manufacture the robots, they turn those robots into results. By partnering with companies that build these robots, they’re able to deliver a turnkey solution to the customer who wants to implement robotic equipment into their factory. One third of the project cost is typically the robot and the other two thirds of the cost is engineering and all the other equipment required to produce the right outcome.

That’s where MOTIVE comes in as a systems integrator. These two types of robots are very new to the industrial automation market. This means the market for systems integrators who are focused on these specific robots is fairly slim. While many system integrators are certainly capable of working with these technologies, it’s not their core focus, as it is with MOTIVE.

The Right Way to Sell Your Product

Ben doesn’t just try to make a sale to anyone he meets. He stays future-focused and, more importantly, customer-focused. Ben has both a technical and financial decision maker who work parallel to one another to ensure Ben makes a good decision. These stakeholders are checking to see if the technical solution Ben is proposing to a customer not only solves their problem in the factory but that it’s aligned with the needs of their business.

Ben would look for things like:

  • What the ROI would be for this potential customer
  • How much capital they have allocated
  • What are their strategic initiatives or what do they hope to accomplish (i.e. increase safety, decrease operational expenses, etc.)

It’s so important to not only solve the technical challenge but to align it with the needs of the business.

Industrial companies tend to be product-focused and they hyper focus on selling features and benefits, but Ben’s company hits a different note. They think with the end in mind: the desired outcome. Top of mind are the goals of the customer and how his solution could help them achieve those goals.

That’s what creates success. It creates a better experience for the customer because you look at the sale from their point of view. You’re in it for them as opposed to just trying to push a product on them.

“When I go into a meeting, I’m not going to put a powerpoint presentation and teach them about the bells and whistles of my product. You start with a question to understand what’s important to them, what problem they’re trying to solve. And then they tell you exactly how to sell your product.” -Ben Toskey

If your customer’s main concern is safety in their factory, why would you spend 30 minutes talking about how your product is going to deliver an ROI? They’ve literally shared with you their main concern, so focus on that. Sell them that. The companies that figure this out deliver customer experiences that are different from the ones that don’t figure this out. The ones that figure this out are the businesses that win.

How Strategic Partnerships Bring You More Customers

Strategic partnerships have the ability to propel your business forward if you steward them the right way.

Trusted partner:

MOTIVE only sells one brand of collaborative robots and they partner with the industry leader to sell them. MOTIVE works with this partner for one important reason: customers want to buy their robots. This makes this manufacturer a no-brainer partnership.

Nature of the work:

As we mentioned earlier, Ben’s company doesn’t make the robots, they sell systems of implementation. On the flip side, their partner doesn’t sell this type of system, they only sell the bare robot. Both partners specialize in one aspect of the business; the nature of their work makes this partnership mutually beneficial.

More opportunities:

If you build these relationships the right way, these partners will bring you all the opportunities they encounter where a customer needs what you have. The first sale of Ben’s company was actually a lead that came in through one of their distribution partners. That’s extremely powerful.

You can reach more together:

Because Ben’s ideal customers are small to medium manufacturing businesses, he went to visit the executive director of the SMB manufacturing industry association. An association he knew his ideal customers would be members of. He explained what he did to the director, and he didn’t even have to sell anything because the director knew this was a pain point for his members. Because of that meeting, MOTIVE and the association are co producing an event to educate the association members on how robotics can improve their business. He got his robot manufacturing company involved and they’re even paying for the event!

These four ways strategic partnerships propel your business forward are but a few. There are so many other ways your business could benefit from investing time and effort into building these important relationships. How could you use strategic partnerships to bring your product or service to more people? If you’ve already been working on this, how have you seen it improve your business?


Topics: Industrial Executive