Case Study: Sales Aid

SMA’s turnkey service for customer success stories proves a success with IBM.

They range from bakeries and seed companies to county hospitals, governments and technology organizations… from financial and law firms to every kind of manufacturer, distributor and retailer under the sun.

They are the thousands of small and medium sized businesses served by IBM technology. To reach that market, IBM relies on the skills, knowledge and local presence of its Business Partners, especially IBM Premier Business Partners who make an added investment in the relationship.

It’s A Two-Way Street

“Business Partners don’t have huge marketing budgets, nor do they have the staff resources to develop sales aids,” says Rick Ross, Program Manager, Co-marketing, for IBM’s North American Channel Marketing. “So we offer a turnkey service for two-page stories profiling their solution in a customer situation. Business Partners use these stories for reference selling, as handouts or as Web site content.”

To provide the turnkey service, IBM turned to SMA’s team of professional writers. For each story, SMA interviews the Business Partner and customer, prepares draft copy for review, revises as required, and finalizes copy. SMA also handles all related administration, defining and tracking the critical path of each story. To date, SMA has completed more than 100 stories.

Why SMA?

“We need writers with a solid knowledge of our business, so there’s no learning curve,” says Rick. “They also need to be highly professional in dealing with our Business Partners and customers, and responsive to our needs. SMA is all those things. They do a great job managing the work.

“With SMA, I know the job will get done well, and I can focus on areas where I can add value,” he adds. “Some people can’t cross the desk and see things from the customer’s point of view. But Bob Becker and SMA certainly do.”

The success stories have been a hit with Business Partners and their clients. “I get great feedback on the program,” says Rick. “This year, 90% of our participating Business Partners are repeat customers, so obviously they’re finding this service very valuable.