At Kinnek, we help small businesses to purchase equipment and supplies from a variety of suppliers more easily - and for free.
For small businesses, Kinnek offers a quick and convenient way to meet and engage with relevant suppliers. But what about suppliers? For businesses who sell equipment and supplies to SMBs, we provide unique marketing and sales tools to showcase their products, garner ratings, reviews and sell smarter.
The Kinnek Community met with Harrison Congdon on our Business Development team to learn how suppliers are using Kinnek to grow their sales. If you’re interested in joining Kinnek’s growing Sales team, share your resume with us.
How would you describe your role in the company?
Harrison: I work with a variety of suppliers and introduce them to the Kinnek marketplace. My goal is to build strong partnerships. In particular, I help our suppliers understand how Kinnek can be a great additional or - in some cases - standalone tool to help them grow their business. Thousands of SMBs use Kinnek to manage their purchasing and supplier relationships. That translates into a lot of requests for suppliers! To date, we have over 2,000 suppliers in our network helping to support those purchasing requirements.
How do you find out about new suppliers?
Harrison: As we grow our presence in industry-specific publications and trade events, some suppliers will reach out to us and initiate a conversation on how Kinnek can help grow their businesses.
However, most suppliers hear about Kinnek from our outbound supplier acquisition efforts. That’s because we’re really focused on reaching out to suppliers directly via phone or email.
At every touch point with a supplier, it’s our job to convey the benefits of using Kinnek. Quoting through our marketplace really can help suppliers reach a range of small business customers that would be unimaginable using traditional outreach methods.
It’s amazing to be able to show the correlation between using Kinnek and growing a supplier’s sales!
How do you help suppliers learn about the advantages of being on Kinnek?
Harrison: Kinnek offers suppliers a unique set of tools to manage all those requests for quotes from customers looking to purchase on the marketplace. First, they get to showcase their great reputation by building out company profiles including pictures of their products, the team and so forth. The supplier team helps support and reinforce those conversations with reputable, relevant suppliers. For example, we know suppliers benefit from showcasing customer reviews and trade references in their profiles, which potential purchasers can view. A good review and good references go a long way to getting more requests for quotes!
Our team also knows how Kinnek can be a revolutionary tool for suppliers to connect with business customers, especially suppliers who are small businesses themselves.
For more experienced suppliers, Kinnek can be great add-on to their existing sales channels. With minimal effort, they receive qualified leads from a range of customers who might otherwise be out of reach due to their size or location. Though one small business customer may not seem like a valid target for a large supply business, imagine if that one small business was one of millions waiting for quotes? Suddenly that order of magnitude makes things interesting - even for established companies. Whatever the case, ultimately it’s my job to make sure suppliers are aware of those business benefits and happy about them! Ultimately if our suppliers are happy that means the SMBs using Kinnek to purchase for their business are happy too.
What aspect of your job do you like the most?
Harrison: I really like the learning process! For me, starting out in my career, it’s all about how much there is to learn. Every time I talk with a new supplier they’re so eager to discuss their product and unique selling point. After graduating college, I never thought I’d become an expert in brewery equipment or walk-in coolers or tortilla presses! It’s really cool stuff. Very few places give you such a breadth of exposure to different industries and put you in the driving seat so fast. I’m representing the interests of thousands of businesses internationally - that’s pretty amazing!
The second part of this role that really does it for me is getting a supplier’s feedback on their Kinnek experience. We monitor how well a supplier is doing, provide support and advice when they have questions and ultimately ensure they’re providing value to small businesses looking for quotes. If a supplier isn’t getting the leads they need - or isn’t quoting enough - then everyone loses out. That’s a sale that they could have made, or a small business looking to invest in supplies who didn’t get the information they needed. Thankfully that’s pretty rare, but it’s up to me and my colleagues to make sure it stays that way.
Finally we want to create a product that suppliers really enjoy using, not just one they find useful. Suppliers are as much Kinnek customers as the small businesses who visit our marketplace looking for quotes. Great customer service is core to our mission at Kinnek and we help our suppliers provide that too.
What’s does a typical day look like for an AE at Kinnek?
Harrison: Every day looks a little different...this is still a startup after all. Working with such a wide variety of suppliers across all product categories and managing accounts across all levels of engagement requires flexibility. For me though, I’ll start out by looking over the product categories and accounts I manage. Then it depends but most days I’ll onboard new suppliers, collect feedback, negotiate contract terms and a whole raft of other activities.
Oh, and hopefully I’m also playing ping pong at some point. Our internal league is going pretty strong!
Any tips for success at Kinnek?
Harrison: Successful at Kinnek means being determined, persistent and understanding. You also need to be genuinely interested in working with, and learning from, people.
You’ll talk with companies both big and small and be encouraged to think critically about how to tailor the Kinnek product to best suit each company’s specific needs. For any given supplier account, you’re likely to have many points of contact. Whether you’re talking with a salesperson, marketing rep, or the company President, communication is key. So, from that perspective, being a great communicator is a strong asset for being successful in this role.
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