Eric Graf, CEO of Flockgen, explains how mid-market businesses can trade relationships with one another to expand service offerings and lower customer acquisition.
As sales reps, we need to make appointments and we need to make sales but often times, we don’t know how to find the best people. Typically, we develop a prospect list and a sales pitch and bring on a marketing team.
It becomes the core business.
Eric cites this as a common problem that negatively affects business with regard to customer acquisition.
At Flockgen, clients are able to increase their bottom line because the cost of customer acquisition is spread among the partners.
Expanding beyond the core
Mid-market companies can expand the conversation with their customers beyond just the core aspects. When they do, they will realize that the prospect of monetizing exists in multiple areas which are often overlooked.
At Flockgen, the cost of customer acquisition is spread across multiple services far beyond what mid-market companies might do in the core.
As an example: There are already a number of partners with great businesses that sell telecom products. Some have had the same product for the past ten years, but their sales reps can’t talk to the customers beyond the core even if they wanted to.
They don’t have anything else to present to those customers. [00:53]
Flockgen offers an alternative solution.
They can drive revenue with those relationships around completely different products and services. Ones that have nothing to do with telecom.
They leverage those relationships to introduce new products and services in a way that doesn’t require a lot of cost because they already have hundreds of partners that offer many different things. [02:46]
Such a partnership allows you to do more in one place instead of finding a partner with many companies on your own.
By focusing on the ways mid-market companies work together to become stronger and build revenue, everybody wins.
Creating a well-oiled referral process
Referrals are a natural part of sales. They drive revenue and create business.
Flockgen partners with people they know and trust.
Using the telecom example again, suppose you have a salesperson selling phone systems all day long. As a partner with Flockgen, the salesperson could also talk with customers about sustainability, controlling costs, or operations. He has a credible way to have that conversation because Eric and his team have provided him with content and talking points.
He doesn’t have to be an expert in the field. Instead, he just has to be able to access the interest in the client. [04:16]
The Flockgen Difference
The Flockgen concept developed organically. Eric spent the last ten years working in the energy industry where he saw a lot of disruption. There were many new companies with new services and new products, and declining costs all around.
Previously, Eric was in the telecom world, which he views as a more mature industry in terms of sales and marketing. Everyone knows each other and works with a collaborative spirit despite competition. Actual channels exist that allow people to team up and co-market.
Eric hoped to build similar channels in the energy industry by borrowing the ideas that worked for telecom.
Educating their partners is a key. How does referral marketing work? What are the pros and cons? [05:32]
Rightsizing the program and menu for each of their individual partners is what sets Eric and his team apart. No two businesses are the same, even if they do the same thing. What works for one might not work for the other, or for their sales team.
Flockgen matches capabilities in an intelligent way with their partner sales team so that everyone feels comfortable and credible when having conversations. It allows them to drive relationships further. [06:31]
Establishing bilateral relationships with their partners is crucial to the success of every party. Each can refer business to the other by promoting services up and down their respective networks.
One partner could be driving revenue one day and receiving referrals the next day from others in the network who are doing the same thing.
Getting started is easy. It is just a matter of understanding what you do, what a new customer base would mean to you, and what services you offer.
Flockgen makes sure everyone in your organization is on the same page.
If you are a large company, then you already have the business development teams and the corporate development teams in place to establish relationships. But it can be difficult to keep those relationships fresh. [09:29]
Eric’s approach is for everyone to meet in the middle to allow collaboration and to set clear terms with one another.
He believes that despite doing well at the start, many businesses that focus on partnering and collaborating will fail because they are not structured correctly. One partner gets the shorter end of the stick, perhaps. [11:37]
Flockgen focuses on healthy partnerships. They maintain the relationships so that you can concentrate on talking to clients and building value.
Transparency = Trust
Providing transparency is critical to the success of the partnerships they create. When both parties understand the terms, it protects the credibility of the relationship. What happens when I refer to you? What happens when you refer to me?
It becomes a matter of trust. It drives behavior. [13:39]
When everyone brings the right attitude, a real willingness to focus on the customer, and is respectful of the initial relationship with the client, value is added to all of the relationships. [15:03]
Flockgen partners only with those who stand by their work. Those they can trust to do good work and who do not hesitate when asked for customer references.
It’s not who you know, it is who you know that you can trust.
The partners utilizing the networks at Flockgen are driving their revenues and driving their commissions. It works because everyone is focused on creating the best customer experience.
There are lots of folks who represent or promote similar services but they don’t backstop and track and monitor, or intervene when necessary, as relationships mature and transactions come together the way Flockgen does. [17:45]
Flockgen levels the playing field.
Mid-market businesses in the US generate 26% of the revenue in the US despite comprising only 1% of the commercial active firms. A large portion of the market is generally overlooked and underserved.
Eric encourages everyone to take those businesses seriously when thinking about who you are selling to and how you are positioning your services and products. [18:26]
Think about how to reach those customers.
“Lower Customer Acquisition Costs” episode resources
The front door is always open at Flockgen. Visit them at www.flockgen.com
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