Fujikura Ltd.

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A Microcosm of Technological Innovation

The story behind the development of flexible print circuits, the key driver of the evolution of electronics

Phase.2 The Dramatic Story Behind … Sales and Marketing

Making inroads in the FPC market where the dominant front runners had already well-established positions was extremely difficult for a late entrant like Fujikura. But the persistence and perseverance of its sales team made a number of successes possible.

As is often the case with new projects, Fujikura's FPC business had to operate in difficult conditions with insufficient financial and human resources and organizational support. Launching a new business means by definition there are no existing customers. The sales team had to develop a customer base from scratch by contacting prospective customers one by one. In addition, most of the prospective customers were already doing business with other manufacturers. It was quite a challenge for a latecomer to break the stronghold of the other powerful players. There seemed to be only one winning formula: to visit the prospective customers again and again, sometimes even begging them to try out the prototypes. When they did agree to try them, however, there came another challenge. If the quality of the prototype was unsatisfactory, it was unlikely that the company in question would ever become a future customer. Our R&D team had almost no experience in developing FPC technologies and were metaphorically feeling their way through the dark. Indeed, it was not uncommon for the FPC project to hit a wall in the face of a wave of complaints about the prototypes. Nonetheless, the sales team never gave up. With a genuine desire to serve and a customer-focused approach, they started to earn trust of those upset potential customers.

One day, the sales team made a bold decision: "Whatever we do, we are likely to receive complaints anyway. So, why don't we knock on the doors of the big name companies? After all, we have nothing to lose." Looking back, their audacity is to be commended. Believing that complaints actually provide good opportunities, salespeople dealing with unhappy customers in part truly welcomed their complaints. Their determination to convert challenges into opportunities gradually imbued the FPC project with vitality and momentum. As a result, the sales team succeeded in establishing accounts with many world-class corporations. Their persistence and perseverance enabled them to pry open a door into big business.

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