What to change – actions which correspond to change
What to pass on – the means of advancing strong working relationships with dealers
February 15, 2016
I started at Yamaha 34 years ago, and I have spent around 30 years predominantly in sales in developed countries. Looking at our major current changes from a sales perspective, there are items I presently feel we should keep, and others I feel we should change.
What needs to be kept
As customers are now able to access all types of information with their smartphones and PCs, they have a strong desire to link directly with brands. The role of the dealer is changing significantly in terms of the purchasing process of consumers, known as AISAS® (Attention, Interest, Search, Action, Share). The dealer's role will also be influenced by the Internet of Things (IoT), which will focus development on "brand" and "things." In other words, the world is rapidly becoming a stage on which Yamaha (brand) and products (things) will be linked directly. Nevertheless, dealers will continue to be the point of contact for final servicing and purchase decisions. The strength of Yamaha sales is our style of ensuring customer satisfaction through strong ties with dealers, so this is a work practice that we definitely need to keep.
I believe we have achieved excellent results around the world over the last 60 years through this style, which we have exported from Japan along with products (Monozukuri), and through working with local people.
What needs to be changed
We need to adjust and improve our practices to better meet the changing motivations of our customers. Even as the business environment and customer preferences are significantly changing, and even as competitors are advancing their businesses by copying the Yamaha style, it is still possible to expand the market for a particular product using practices that were successful in the past. However, we should continually reexamine our practices to determine whether we are just doing them for our own sake, or truly for the sake of customer satisfaction and dealer profits.
What kinds of customers are we marketing to? What kinds of results are we achieving? Did the dealer make a profit? Did the dealer work with us? We answer such questions to analyze our market environment and clarify the features and mechanisms of success. At the same time, however, our success will also depend on the precise coordination of our marketing activities in the future. Although this will be difficult, this is the source of the Yamaha way, and I believe it will create significant advantages for us as we head into the future.
We also need to be closely attuned to the motivations of our customers when they buy or use Yamaha products, or receive our services. This will allow us to better understand their needs as we evolve the successful practices of the past, leading to innovative new approaches. There are many possible scenarios, but as we work with dealers to address the actual conditions in their markets, I believe we can advance our practices for the creation of strong, enduring bonds with our customers.
＊ AISAS is a registered trademark of Dentsu Inc.