By Ed Pierce, Founder, ITA Fleet Communications
News about imminent sales or mergers within the fleet industry is once again making headlines. And, conversation, speculation, concern, and anticipation rule! However, these changes ought to spur others in the industry to review their corporate strategic plans. After all, the best defense to market changes is a strong offense.
“What ifs” that were ruled out before might now come into play and require revisiting even a recent strategic planning process. With every change in status of a competitor or strategic partner, especially a company involved in your supply chain, there are new threats and new opportunities. Presumed strengths and weaknesses change, too. Consequently, your strategy, too, may need adjustment.
History says that a significant percentage of customers will test the waters once their vendor is sold or merged. Of course, competitors will pounce on these new or revived sales opportunities. However, think about the perception of the fleet manager when a sales rep finally makes his or her first call or calls after an extended period only after the news breaks. Is the rep perceived as an opportunist or a true partner?
The best companies have already considered and begun implementing actions to be taken in case of upheaval in the marketplace. The best sales and marketing teams have been communicating to prospects all along – even to fleet decision-makers who have been steadfast in their support of a competitor. Finally, the best sales reps and companies already have earned top-of-mind awareness and positive perceptions among these newly-interested prospects. So, there’s a better chance the sales rep will RECEIVE a call from a fleet manager who needs to initiate a search for a new provider.
So, if the best defense to market changes is a strong offense. The best offense is an ongoing, comprehensive sales and marketing effort to all prospects!
With decades of B2B sales and marketing success, Ed has served fleet product and service providers with strategic plan-related market research and integrated sales & marketing programs that significantly increased market penetration; brand management that markedly improved both awareness and positioning; and B2B sales support that helped sales exceed plan year in and year out. Ed now leads ITA Fleet Communications – a fleet-focused consulting firm helping excellent product and service providers achieve excellent results through innovative and effective integrated sales and marketing.