Dovetail 8

Dovetail 8
Suppliers of Products and Services Discover Rep Firms via Mutual Interest and Relationships with Target Customers and Key Accounts

Friday, September 7, 2012

Tilting at a Windmill Called Dovetail 8

"Tilting at Windmills" refers to confrontations where adversaries are incorrectly perceived. The word tilting means jousting. This phrase from the novel Don Quixote is universally recognized and often quoted. Don Quixote fights windmills that he imagines to be giants. Believing that the windmill blades are the giant's arms, he attacks the ominous beast. 

Is Dovetail 8 Don Quixote's windmill? 
Some people perceive Dovetail 8 to be what it is not. Let's define what Dovetail 8 really is. I describe Dovetail 8 as a discovery marketplace because Technology Suppliers can discover Manufacturer's Representatives who have Access & Influence at the Supplier's Target Customers. Since many Manufacturer's Representatives (Rep Firms) and Suppliers encouraged me to create Dovetail 8, the unprovoked attacks on my "windmill" caught me by surprise. 
I did not stop the attackers because I wanted to engage them... in conversation. I needed to understand what provoked the jousting. Owners of Rep Firms lead the charge.
When the first lance hit me, the jouster said, "Dovetail 8 appears to be advocating non-exclusive representation, which leads to multiple reps in a territory. I have multiple issues with the non-exclusive rep model." 
When I heard "appears to be advocating", I realized that this Rep Owner was Tilting at Windmills. Dovetail 8 is not an advocacy group! Dovetail 8 provides added-value to Rep Firms, Suppliers and their Customers. 
In an attempt to correct his preconceptions and misconceptions, I sent him an email. Excerpt: The important distinction that I want to make is that Suppliers who require "full exclusive regional sales and marketing services" will probably not use Dovetail 8. Many Suppliers have a niche technology and a narrow product offering which defines the value of its product or service to a specific market, i.e. military, telecom, handheld, etc., and specific customers within those markets. You could represent those types of Suppliers, through Dovetail 8, exclusively at the accounts that are a good match for your rep firm. Representation would be for that Supplier at that customer...exclusively. [Complete email is available on request].
Things got really interesting when I introduced Dovetail 8 to the LinkedIn Group: Technology Sales & Service Reps.
I was encouraged by the first comment: "GREAT concept and a great resource!"
An unconvinced Rep Owner commented, "Not sure how this concept is a win for reps....", to which he got this reply from a fellow member, "What is your concern?"
The Rep Owner then revealed his true identity as Don Quixote. "It's a non-exclusive account by account "registration" system which primarily benefits the supplier. To me, this is a further watering down of rep effort along with declining rates, offshore territory splits, etc." 
Where did that come from? The dominoes are falling now!
"I don't know any reps that would willingly give up potentially high value key accounts for the purpose of goodwill with the principal. I would only consider using this service if XYZ Company had a valuable product that I didn't have a principal for and was searching for a potential source."
Dovetail 8 regained its identity when a member responded, "... that is exactly what Dovetail 8 is for you.... You fill out your listing. The phone rings. You weigh the opportunity and make a sound business decision. Dovetail 8 isn't trying to kill the traditional manufacturer/rep agreement. It's there to help reps take advantage of their years of hard work and long-standing relationships."
My marketing initiatives for Dovetail 8 were temporarily interrupted while I tried to correct the perceptions of those who were Tilting at Windmills. How do you suggest that I address the concerns that Rep Owners have? Their concerns are real, but their perceptions are not. Dovetail 8 is just a harmless windmill.
I welcome your comments.
If you want to learn more about Dovetail 8, visit www.dovetail8.com or email me at vcramer@dovetail8.com

3 comments:

  1. I guess I do not understand why Dovetail 8 discourages exclusive contracts. My thinking was that manufacturers would evaluate the synergy of a rep firm by looking at their line list and the types of customers that they dealt with and based on those factors sign an exclusive agreement for a territory with the rep firm that they felt like would be the best match. Can some one explain what I am missing here?

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  2. I respectfully suggest the definition of "exclusive" is what is missing. You point to one and only one definition of "exclusive" - a geographical boundary business model.
    Dovetail 8 recognizes the fact that "target account", sorry I mean CSSR (Customer Specific Sales Representation) business model not only exist today, but thrive. Supplier/Rep relationships built around CSSR are no less "exclusive" than your definition - The Customer(s) best covered by the Rep due to synergies, relationships and the access and influence delivered by the Rep becomes the territory under contract with the Supplier.
    The Dovetail 8 vision is a meeting place for Suppliers (like me) who wish to discover the best Reps, the "specialists", based on mutual interest in Specific Account criteria instead of the "general practitioners" with geographical criteria in mind.

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  3. My own experience with this business model dates back to the late 1990's, and I am certain that Vince is on the correct path here, and his insights about perception are accurate. Dovetail 8 works to the benefit of not only suppliers and independent reps, but to the customers that they serve as well. Dovetail 8 augments the standard arrangement between suppliers and reps and offers tremendous potential for (a) enhanced account coverage for the supplier, (b) increased earning opportunity for the rep, and (c) better sales resource for the customer. Who loses in this scenario? No one!

    I've said this before: The first guy through the wall always gets bloodied. It's a bit messy right now but, over time, as the message is clarified and folks understand the benefits of the Dovetail 8 business model, this will likely become the standard for future hybrid sales organizations.

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