Building and Developing Relationships

Building and developing relationships

Example – Dell- How networking skills lead to better co-ordination.

Your staff develops networking skills in the supply chain. From the perspective of the previous lesson, we are concerned very much with internal and external customers, our customer relationships, loyalty and retention. So if we reconsider each term in relation to Dell we have a highly complex set of relationships which intertwine. Marketers and others develop interpersonal and networking skills to deal with the boundaries. As a result the boundaries can sometimes appear seamless, especially if good relations are enjoyed between individuals and groups within the ‘network.’

There are many techniques that marketers can use to communicate with internal customers and functions. Firstly marketers would need to identify internal and external customers, including their different needs and wants. Secondly the marketing function will provide internal services such as intranets for human resources, internal recruitment, and companywide briefings and announcements. Finally the marketing team can provide extranet services for supporting activities in the supply chain. The supply chain connects internal and external manufacturers and producers, our internal business functions (as discussed above) and our final customer interface at wholesale, retail and ultimately at the consumption of our product and service.

When is internal cooperation needed?

Internal cooperation is needed to overcome problems between staff and colleagues, our internal customers. These problems occur in every organisation at some point in time. It is argued that a culture of internal marketing will help us overcome such problems. Let’s look at some examples:

  • Products and services not meeting quality standards
  • People leaving and going sick because of problems of low motivation
  • The inability to communicate between teams and departments, or to subordinates and superiors.
  • Being inefficient and slow
  • Personal and political battles which get in the way of a productive and proactive organisation
  • We could also include other HR issues such as absenteeism, bullying, lack of investment in training and development, poor management and others.
  • Try to think of some other problems that internal marketing helps to overcome.
  • Organisational objectives help to give direction.

    The acronym SMART is used when describing organisational objectives. So objectives must be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timed. If some reason they are not then you have similar internal problems since people have different targets or goals.

    If organisational objectives are clear and then people will commit to them. Commitment to organisational objectives will help to build and develop relationships both within the marketing function and across the organisation itself.

    Internal support for marketing initiatives

    To draw some of the new learning together we can use some of our skills to gain internal support for marketing initiatives. We now have knowledge of our marketing supply chain and we know how to use good working relationships to get the most out of colleagues both internally and externally. We know the reasons why internal cooperation is needed to achieve corporate goals, and we know the importance of commitment to organisational objectives. Internal marketing techniques are also valuable service when trying to gain internal support for our initiatives.

    Support is necessary from everybody within the organisation. We need support from our product designers, and from the manufacturing department. Once goods are produced we need the support of warehouse and logistics staff to get the product to customers. Within the marketing team itself we need coordination and teamwork from public relations, sales staff, promotion staff and everybody from within the marketing team. Let’s consider some of the other functions and departments from within the organisation that we for support. Again, in Unit 1 – What is Marketing? we have considered other functions and departments with whom we need relationships.

    Functions within an organization

    The marketing function within any organization does not exist in isolation. Therefore it’s important to see how marketing connects with and permeates other functions within the organization. In this next section let’s consider how marketing interacts with research and development, production/operations/logistics, human resources, IT and customer service. Obviously all functions within your organization should point towards the customer i.e. they are customer oriented from the warehouseman that packs the order to the customer service team member who answers any queries you might have. So let’s look at these other functions and their relationship with marketing.

    What are the benefits of being better co-ordinated?

    Good working relationships within the supply chain will pay dividends. There is less conflict and more cooperation, and creative solutions to problems are more likely to be generated. Here are some more examples:

    • There are improvements in quality since fewer mistakes are made.
    • Relationships become friendlier between suppliers and customers, and the whole process is more simple and clear.
    • Problems can be solved quickly and effectively.
    • New ideas are generated because the network is connected.
    • Performance generally improves.
    • Everyone is more reactive to changes in the business environment.
    • Successful negotiation in the supply chain

      Whilst there are a lot of benefits an extended network and a marketing supply chain, let’s not forget that different companies are linked together but they are not the same organisation. Each organisation has its own mission, strategy, tactics and motivations which do not always match those of your own. This can sometimes lead to the need for negotiation between different parties in the chain. Let’s take a quick look at some ways in which we can deal with negotiation.

      Some of your network contacts will have more power than others. Power is important that is the difference between getting things done, or not. If you are dependent on suppliers or buyers for any reason then you need to protect the value which you deliver by negotiating with your network.

      • Don’t be afraid to ask your buyers/suppliers if certain issues arise
      • Once you make an offer be prepared to wait for an answer, and never negotiate against yourself
      • If you make an agreement then make sure you get it in writing
      • Make sure that you are prepared for any negotiations and have your facts and figures ready
      • Make sure you know the size and level of power and authority before negotiating with others.
      • Know your bottom line. You’re in business to deliver value and to make profits.
      • Have a backup plan ready just in case things don’t turn out the way we planned.
      • Use listening skills and really try and hear what the other party is trying to say.
      • Discussion is your most important tool. Make sure you talk everything through.
      • To complete this section on building and developing relationships, you need to be able to describe approaches used to build and develop those relationships both within the marketing function and across the organisation as a whole. This was covered in previous lessons in Marketing Teacher’s Lessonstore.