Customer Case Library: The Path to Advancement in Top Sales

May 10, 2023

The rapid changes in the business market are pulling in supply, demand, inventory and other resources, and this will also give rise to many "counter common sense" supply chain stories. In the interviews in this Customer Case Library, we can better understand the great potential of independent distributors in the dynamic changes in the upstream and downstream of the entire supply chain.

*Note: Due to privacy protection, the customer name, salesperson and component number in the following content are pseudonyms.

Refuse to be passive: always look for new exits
The protagonist of the fourth issue is a company in the Netherlands that cares about global smart animal husbandry and is committed to providing producers with precise technical solutions for sustainable growth (hereinafter referred to as Customer H).
When we first heard about customer H’s positioning, we were all a little confused.

Selina, the sales manager of Cytech Systems, said with a smile, “You can understand it as a large-scale smart livestock technology provider, providing feeding systems, milking systems, individual animal identification & care, production and health status monitoring system etc. and provide corresponding equipment and services to global customers, mostly farms."

According to Selina,in recent years, people's demand for the quality of dairy products, meat products, etc. has continued to increase. At the same time, along with the rising costs of raw materials, labor and energy, many end customers have expanded their demand for smart equipment. In July last year, the demand for smart equipment increased. During the chip shortage period, customer H was in urgent need of a TI ADC chip ADS****11IPWR.

After Selina quickly communicated with Cytech Systems’procurement team, they confirmed that the material could meet the customer’s volume requirements and immediately responded to the customer.
Customer H said that he was out of town this week for business, so please contact his colleague,procurement B.

“I didn’t wait passively, I immediately contacted Purchase B, told him that we had the corresponding materials, and communicated with him that the price was XX,” Selina said without hesitation.

"Purchase B reported back that our price exceeded their target price. We had to continue looking for goods! Because this material ends with R, which also means that it is packed in tape and reel. According to our past experience, it will also have an alternative packaging is pallet packaging ending with T, so I asked the purchasing team to search for resources again with both material numbers, tape and reel packaging, and pallet packaging," Selina said.

Purchasing B: What are the differences between the materials corresponding to these two packages?

Selina: The products are exactly the same, but the packaging form is different. The price of pallet-packed materials is more favorable, which also saves you costs. Attached is the original manufacturer's specification sheet, in which the packaging form is highlighted. You can check it carefully. 

Purchasing B: Professional! meticulous! No more questions, we want this goods!

Acuity: Cleverly use high-end products instead of low-end products
After a while, customer H came to inquire about another material: Microchip’s interface IC—KSZ****RLL.
This time, after receiving the demand, Selina did not immediately send the demand to the procurement team, but carefully "researched" the IC.
While searching for the material model, Selina also found another model with just an extra letter "I" in the suffix. After checking the original manufacturer's specifications, she found that the difference between the two materials is that one is for One is for consumer grade, and the other is for industrial grade. In addition, this material also has a suffix to distinguish whether it has "TR" or not, which is the difference between pallet or tape and reel packaging.

In this way, it is equivalent to allowing the procurement team to search for 4 materials at the same time, which will not only greatly increase the probability of closing a deal, but also help customers further reduce costs.

So how does Selina determine the applications where industrial-grade products can replace consumer-grade products?
"I checked the difference between the two materials and found that the only difference is the operating temperature range. The temperature range of industrial-grade products is -40℃~85℃, and the temperature range of consumer-grade products is 0℃~70℃. The temperature range of industrial-grade products is the scope completely covers consumer grade, so we initially judged that it could be replaced, and then we confirmed it in the original manufacturer's specifications and sent it to the customer." Selina said.
The market is changing rapidly, and those who truly have in-depth first-hand information about the market are the sharpest. This is also the core value of Cytech Systems’sales and procurement teams.

Is it a common phenomenon for high-end products to replace low-end products?
"In fact, it is quite common. This ability to find substitutes is also very critical for distributors," Selina shared. "Generally, we use high-end products to replace low-end products. There are two starting points. One is the starting material. If you can't find the source of goods, you can only look for substitute products; Secondly, the price of substitutes will be more favorable, which can reduce costs for customers. However, no matter these two points, they are still customer-centric in nature and are for customers. For your own sake.”

Does this kind of price inversion happen from time to time?
"Yes, because of the ever-changing market, including the inventory of each company, market supply and demand, etc., the real-time prices of some materials often change. It is true that the price of high-end products is lower than low-end products, but when the original factory ships, That’s certainly not the case.”

What is the basis for comparing consumer-grade sources with automotive-grade materials?
Luke, another sales director of Cytech Systems, also shared his case.
When the chip shortage was still serious in March last year, an OEM customer in the electronics manufacturing industry in Germany (hereinafter referred to as Customer E) came to inquire about a buffer IC from Cytech Systems- Nexperia's 74HC1G***GW.

After Luke received the demand, he immediately confirm that the goods were in stock, and the customer placed an order. The initial progress was very smooth, but unexpectedly, a problem was discovered during the inspection process after Cytech Systems received the goods.
It turned out that the IC required by customer E was 74HC1G***GW, the 125 ordinary version. Since the ordinary version of the discrete device had no logo when it was opened, and gold samples were not available for comparison at the time, the procurement team could only find 74HC1G***GW- For Q100H automotive grade gold samples, the risk of accepting orders will be relatively high.

Subsequently, Luke immediately consulted Nexperia’s official customer service and asked about the difference between the two materials. The official customer service gave the following professional reply:
1. The BOM (bill of materials) is different between the automotive version and the non-automotive version;
2. The non-car version is not (specified as) zero delam;
3. The car version has zero delam;
4. The car version has stricter trigger limits in the final test;
5. The automotive version has a stricter control plan, etc.

At the same time, Luke also received confirmation from official customer service that "the automotive version 74HC1G***GW-Q100H can completely replace the ordinary version 74HC1G***GW,125, and both use the same package" (as shown in the picture below).

Immediately afterwards, Cytech Systems’QC team sent Nexperia’s official reply as well as automotive-grade gold samples and goods to the third-party testing agency.
After the third-party testing agency confirms the product quality, Cytech Systems will send the qualified test report returned by the testing agency to the customer and ship the goods smoothly.

The inherited experience of top sales
When Selina summarized some of her experiences in facing customers and difficulties, she highlighted three points:
1. Confident and full working status: Maintaining a confident status will make it easy for you to be perceived by the other party when communicating with customers via email or phone, which will play a good role;
2. Consultative sales: Never think for customers as a seller, but as a consultant. For example, we will check the original factory specifications to find alternative materials; consider saving costs for customers; and even often go to Send an email to the original manufacturer and send a screenshot to the customer for confirmation, etc.
3. Always remember customers: As the end of the year approaches, Cytech Systems also prepares gifts to give back to customers.

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