Relationship Marketing with Business Associates and Partners

Business dynamics have forced the Organizations to recognize Customer as the most important factor responsible for its own existence and survival. Organizations have no option but to be customer centric. When we say that Organizations have to be customer centric, we are not only referring to the marketing and sales tuning in with the end customer in the market, but to the Organization tuning in to listening to the customer, establishing a relationship with the customer. When we talk about an Organization’s relationship with the customer, we are not only referring exclusively to the end consumer alone, but to the intermediate agencies that are involved in delivering the Company’s products and services to the end customer too. To the Organization these intermediaries are also its customers.

Depending upon the product, particular market and the business model, an Organization might be engaging with franchisees, Whole Dealers, Stockists, Booking agents, Warehousing partners, Distribution partners etc. Normally it is understood that the relationship between the company and the channel is based on the commission, product volumes and the targets set for sales etc. If you analyze the network you will find that there is a power play that operates between the Organization and the partner which needs to be managed by the Company by engaging the agency in an interactive relationship and working towards a win win approach.

Take the case of an Wholesale Dealer engaged with a Company. The whole sale dealer by virtue of his position does have the power to strengthen or weaken the sales of the Company in the particular segment or territory. The wholesaler can influence the market sentiments to the existing products as well as any new products of the Company. The wholesaler can effectively block or create roadblocks if the Company tries to engage in direct marketing or other alternative forms of selling in the same region. The Company which is able to manage the relationship with the whole seller effectively is able to get the whole seller to be a partner in its business and not an outside agency.

Effective relationship management can yield in the whole seller representing and converting the market opinion on behalf of the company and boost the sales. Effective market penetration, market reach and market cover can increase as the outcome of a positive relationship between the Whole seller and the Company. Such a situation calls for the Company to practice a healthy marketing strategy as well as Organizational business strategy outlining its attitude and relationship towards its business partners.

The Company’s attitude and commitment towards the relationship will determine the strength of the partnership and draw participation from the whole seller as well as other partners in the business cycle. There is a clear cut differentiation between the Organizational policy and relationship management practice towards its partners to the business process requirements expected from the partners. When the partners are engaged in a relationship, the business process requirements with reference to the business transactions are met with and honoured by both parties. A healthy relationship can effectively convert the Whole seller to be the spokes person of the Company in the market thus leading to opening of many more doors for the Company.

Realising the need for relationship building and seeing the value that can be released based on such a healthy relationship, Companies engage and focus on engaging with the business partners and associates on long term basis. Though marketing departments take the initiative to build such relationship, the management of the organizations as well as other functions like finance, service etc are also involved closely with the business partners talking one common language and following one set of corporate values that speaks for the Organization.

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