I have heard from business people on numerous occasions that Walmart does not make it easy to do business with them. They make the rules when it comes to selling your product through their stores. Why then do so many companies bend over backwards to cater to Walmart’s demands to sell their product? It’s simple, for a retail product Walmart is high on the food chain, they are about as far upstream as you can go in regard to a retail distribution channel.
We have made a concentrated effort at Resolutions to identify the best way to get as far upstream as possible when selling our e-learning solutions. It has made a dramatic impact on or business and how we approach different markets. When I say selling upstream I simply mean going as far up the food chain as possible to find one company who with the stroke of a pen will provide you with access to a large portion of your market.
I had an interesting call with a prospect last week that really brought this concept front and center for me. This prospect’s business happened to overlap two of our different industry vertical businesses, Mining and Insurance. The prospect is an officer at a large insurance company that caters specifically to the mining industry. As we talked through the potential of working together he asked my why I don’t just sell our Mine Training directly to the mines? My response was simple, we do, but working with you would provide us access to hundreds of mine operators and contractors by signing one deal.
It may seem like an insanely simple concept, but think about your business. How would it change your selling strategies, and possibly even your entire business strategy if you were able to focus on just a few key prospects far enough upstream that it opened up your entire market to you with the signing of a single contract? Take some time to evaluate your customers, find out what they have in common, how your business can add value to another that is higher on up in the food chain. It may take some time, thought, research and patience, but in the long run it could change your business.
What are your thoughts on selling upstream? Can you provide any good examples?