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Design Win 101: Strategies for Building Repeat Business


With Tesla Motors on track to produce 20,000 cars per year in 2013, up from 328 in the last quarter of 2012, the Tesla supplier list is suddenly a great place to be.

So what does that have to do with you?

Scoring the “design win”.

The endgame for every supplier to direct manufacturers is scoring a “design win,” which includes your component as part of the spec for the product being made. Design wins typically happen six to 12 months before the product is manufactured, and drive a long-lasting revenue stream.

If you are fortunate to find a customer who has a smash hit like the Tesla Model S sedan, which was named 2013 Car of the Year award by Motor Trend magazine, and 2013 Automobile of the Year by Automobile magazine, you can ride the coattails of their success with additional orders for your product as demand increases.

Design by procurement

In B2B e-commerce for indirect goods and services (the things companies buy to run their businesses), procurement organizations are like engineers who designed the Tesla Model S—they get to choose who the preferred vendors are in their company’s procurement solution. If your company is chosen, you’ll have a front-row opportunity to capture repeat business—i.e. increasing your “share of wallet”—from this customer, for several reasons:

  • As an approved vendor, you do not have to overcome the administrative hurdles around buying the way your customers want to buy—you will be “easy to buy from”.
  • If you distribute a catalog, you’ll be able to make sure yours is at the fingertips of every potential buyer at that company, increasing visibility of your offerings to customers ready to buy.
  • The cost, time, and trouble for the company to switch business to another vendor can be high.


Building a pipeline for repeat business

But in order to realize these benefits, and build this kind of pipeline for repeat business, you’ve got to create an electronic connection with your customer. That’s what business networks do—they provide an easy-to-use service to enable electronic connections to make it easier for customers to do business with you.

Furthermore, instead of manual or one-off digital connections you might make with individual customers, a business network gives you economies of scale; connect once and you can service many if not all of your customers using that same business network. So all parties on the network receive the benefits of standardization, ease of integration, and fluid communication.

How to get started

While I can’t promise you a design win for the next Tesla super car, I can tell you that research strongly indicates that B2B companies like yours can more easily find customers ready to buy, accelerate sales cycles, and improve customer retention by participating in a business network.

You can read my previous blog post on how to get started.

About the author
Rob Mihalko
Rob Mihalko

Rob oversees Ariba’s overall seller marketing initiatives as well as the Ariba Discovery service. Before joining Ariba, Rob held a variety of marketing, business development, and finance roles at Microsoft, Disney, and Intel. He was also a manag... Read More >>>

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