The key behind Merivaara’s recent success in Latin America lies in a completely redefined approach towards the market.
In the past, the company used to manage the business from its native Finland, which, admittedly, sounds like a bit far away. Knowing that one the biggest weaknesses of suppliers is the lack of proper in-country post-sales services and support, Merivaara decided about a year ago to throw more chips on the table and hired a team that would successfully combine the specialties of both sales and technical support – locally.
And the investment has already started to pay off. Area Sales Manager Frank George Jackovitz and Regional Technical Support Manager Yojin Ramones are an unbeatable team determined to take Merivaara’s business in Latin America and the Caribbean to a whole new level.
When we met Jackovitz and Ramones, they were excited about this new course Merivaara is shifting towards as part of its plan to reorganize its Latin American sales, marketing, and service offerings.
“Many companies have an approach of selling the product and then just disappearing,” explained Jackovitz during a working lunch. “There’s no support whatsoever, no follow-up. If the customer has a problem, maybe they get an answer, maybe they don’t. What Yojin is trying to do is answer as many inquiries in real-time as possible – including weekends.”
Jackovitz is located in Miami, which is a more than convenient location considering the markets he is focused on. Meanwhile, his partner Ramones, armed with native language skills, is based in the territory in the south of Brazil.
Industrial Prime met these two gentlemen in the summer. We were not surprised to hear that their collaboration works so smoothly, as the chemistry between the two was evident.
Finding the Right Players
Jackovitz and Ramones have known each other since 1997. It is hardly surprising, then, that the partnership works.
“We do everything together, and thanks to that we really look like we are one unified front to the customer,” Ramones pointed out. “There’s no sales without service, and when I tackle an issue of questions, service, repair, or anything else with the client, I keep Frank up to date on everything that’s going on.”
The two gentlemen have been collaborating with Merivaara for about a year now. As it was suggested earlier, their hard work is already bearing fruit.
Merivaara’s success in working with local distributors in Latin America used to be quite hit-and-miss: some of the distributors may have had proper coverage with all of the Merivaara products, while others would pick perhaps only one or two individual products. However, it looks like this is now changing.
“We’ve been going for a more unified distribution and a full coverage in the region,” explained Jackovitz. “Now we’re looking for distributors that are going to take the entire product line – including surgical tables and lights plus integrated OR systems – and that is going to invest in sales, service, and marketing, in purchasing demo equipment for their showrooms, and in participating in trade shows. These are things you need to do to develop a brand in the local market.”
Merivaara has now replaced several distributors in the region and made a major breakthrough by securing its first sale in Brazil in ten years. It is the company’s strategy to place a full sales and service force throughout Brazil.
“We look for the right players and then invest in them and support them,” said Jackovitz. “We build great relationships and help the distributors build their own business as well so that we can all be winners together. We are now going with full force in all the countries in Latin America, and it’s really working because the distributors believe in us.”
In short, Merivaara is now truly in the Latin American market instead of trying to develop the business and support its customers from the other end of the world as it used to.
Thanks to this, the superior quality of Merivaara products is now supported by great improvements in terms of presence, reputation, as well as sales, service, and support – not only locally, but also in the local language.
That sounds like a winning hand indeed.
Text and images by Industrial PRIME
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