As the founder and CEO of a growing woman-owned business in Turkey, Yildiz Kayabasi has a deep appreciation for the challenges her customers face on a daily basis. That's why she has been focused on assembling a team of problem solvers and creative thinkers, rather than sellers, since starting Anadtek Bilişim Teknolojileri (aka Anadtek Information Technologies).
She wants to help other companies like hers figure out how to maximize automatic identification data capture (AIDC) technologies to improve their processes, better serve their customers, and grow their businesses. And she wants them to be able to maintain the momentum they gain once they get that first lift from digitalization efforts. She firmly believes that being a customer-centric company – and following a consultative approach rather than a transactional approach – is what makes Anandtek different from other companies.
"We aim to build long-term relationships with customers," Yildiz said when we connected recently. "To achieve this, we ask questions, listen to our customers, provide solutions based on their needs, and leave the decision to our customers."
Keep reading to learn more about the challenges she faced since starting her business seven years ago, the reason she decided to partner with Zebra, and the advice she has for other entrepreneurs:
John: Tell us a little bit about your company. What inspired you to get into the technology industry?
Yildiz: I cannot say that my venture into the technology sector was conscious. It was a process that came to me during my first job search and shaped my next working life. After learning more about the industry, the idea of women and technology getting together excited me. In 2014, I decided to become an entrepreneur, and Anadtek Information Technologies was established. We have specialized in AIDC solutions since our first day, and we have been very focused on the automotive industry, which benefits greatly from high automation technologies. However, we are not just a technology provider. Forty percent of our customers rely on us to provide long-term service and support, and we provide consultancy and technical services to several companies that actually operate in the same sector as us but do not have technical service capabilities.
John: In Turkey, women-owned businesses represent 40% of small and medium enterprises (SMEs). And some credit women-owned businesses with supercharging the country's startup scene. However, it's been reported that women-owned businesses have 23% less access to technology than men-owned firms. Have you found this to be true in working with customers? And how has it impacted you as a women-owned technology company?
Yildiz: Unfortunately, when technology is mentioned, the first thing that comes to mind is men, which long kept women entrepreneurs away from this field. In recent years, the increase in government and private sector investor incentives has allowed us to see more women entrepreneurs, especially in the IT sector. Thanks to this promising development, I think women are as interested in technology as men and no longer have problems accessing it.
John: What advantages do you think you have as a woman-owned business in the technology space?
Yildiz: Women can produce practical solutions in complex situations, and their detailed and meticulous approach can be an advantage. In addition, the technology sector is available to work remotely, and stretching working hours is another advantage. Nevertheless, every business owner who has the required technological equipment and can make strategic plans will have an advantage.
John: Have you ever found it challenging to build your sales pipeline?
Yildiz: As a growing company, we need new business. Therefore, we run campaigns to generate leads, follow up with them quickly, and qualify them. In the early years of our business, we were not paying attention to qualifications. However, we saw its importance. We now build our pipeline with well-qualified opportunities, which increases our chance of turning them into a sale.
John: Without revealing all your secrets, what marketing and sales strategies have helped you the most to successfully connect with customers?
Yildiz: We establish relationships with customers. We visit them on site, examine the production, storage, and sales processes, identify the disruptions in their workflows, and offer new technologies and solutions. This leads us to build a relationship of trust for our customers.
John: How have you used the resources provided through Zebra's PartnerConnect program to attract or assist customers?
Yildiz: We need to speak with vendors directly to be able to fully support our customers. Having a dedicated Zebra account manager who understands our needs has been a crucial resource and really helped us grow. We have regular business review meetings with our account manager to share ideas and set up strategies. We frequently discuss our opportunities, get the resources we need quickly, and introduce Zebra to the end-users when required.
In line with the support we get, Zebra has a handy and centralized platform, which helps us stay up to date with the latest products and updates. The PartnerConnect program provides us with the tools required to manage customer opportunities effectively. The smooth process and the support we get from Zebra has helped us achieve high growth. Therefore, Zebra is our first choice.
John: Have you found the PartnerConnect program to be helpful in differentiating your business in a crowded technology marketplace?
Yildiz: Though we have provided services to our customers for many years, partnering with Zebra has allowed us to provide even more value Adding hardware sales into our business model, along with the support we receive from the PartnerConnect program, has helped us differentiate, strengthen our relations with our customers, and accelerate our growth rate.
John: What motivated you to partner with Zebra?
Yildiz: I have been suggesting and servicing Zebra products to my customers since the first day I started in the sector. However, we didn't officially partner with Zebra until 2019 after meeting with our current account manager. He really pioneered our collaborative efforts and has since treated us so professionally. He truly supports his partners and guides us to take the right steps. He is one of the main reasons why the relationship between Zebra and Anadtek remains so strong.
John: What lessons have you learned that you think could help other growing or women-owned businesses in the technology sector?
Yildiz: Whether you are a woman or a man, being an expert in your field is the most critical criterion. The technology sector is one of the sectors in which change is experienced the fastest. Everyone aiming for a career in this field should be open to development and innovation.
You can learn more about Anandtek and the solutions and services it provides by visiting its website.