Paper Chase  6/2/2015

I recently met with a buyer who had just returned from an ECRM show. She was very upbeat, saying that she had seen some exciting new products and met some great new manufacturers.

“What happens in those meetings are key in determining whether I will be in touch after the show,” she told me.

She added that the show also offered the opportunity to see new trends and catch up with current suppliers. As she was talking, she suddenly stopped in mid-sentence and paused…

“Here is what I don’t understand,” she said. “Vendors don’t realize how many meetings buyers attend during an ECRM event – as many as 60 or 70. After most meetings, the vendor will ask me if I want to take some printed materials with me – a corporate presentation, catalog, sell sheets, price lists, spec sheets, and a sample of their product.”

Considering the number of meetings buyers attend, that pile of paper can grow into a back-breaking nightmare -- and your catalog that is sitting on the top of the pile will not win you any points!

Do the math – if a buyer took a 10 page presentation from each of 60 meetings – that’s more than a full ream of paper at about 5lbs. Add a folder, price list and sell sheet – well, you get the idea.

“Do they think that by giving me a stack of paper (that I will never read and will end up in the hotel’s recycle bin) they will have a better shot at being a fit?” she asked me. “I would be more likely to contact a company that had respected my time, my environment…and my back!”

But, thanks to ECRM’s Digital Division, there’s a brand new smart tool solution for this!

There is now an option on ECRM’s Marketgate website for manufacturers to upload corporate presentations and other information to provide additional tools for buyers trying to evaluate their offerings. The best part is, it doesn’t weigh a thing, is share-able and instantly accessible!

As a veteran of ECRM shows, I am often asked, “How much printed material should I bring?” In my experience, it is important to bring a few paper copies of your corporate presentation, price list and any other document that you might need to refer to at a meeting, like ingredients, nutritionals, comparatives, etc. Paper copies are also a great tool at meetings that “catch fire,” where an excited buyer wants to look at the information right there and then – you need to be ready!

My buyer friend agrees: “If a meeting goes well and the vendor has uploaded all of the product information onto the Marketgate site, I can create new item forms right away. I can also share it with my team -- while I am still at the show, in some cases – and get a head start on an exciting new product line!”

The ability to upload corporate presentations, product lists, articles that support claims about products and other information, accessible through ECRM’s Connect App or online via Marketgate, is just one of the many smart tools that the ECRM Marketgate platform offers sellers to efficiently connect with the most powerful decision makers in the food industry.

After all, the more efficient you can make the process for the buyer, the faster they can write that P.O.!

Andrea Leiser

RSVP Solutions Group

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