Customer management takes on many different roles as the program moves through the design process and into the commercialization process. In the design process, activities revolve around identifying functional needs, mapping them to products that they can supply and working with design teams to provide technical information, samples, specifications, applications information, and design assistance to solve design problems. This all happens in a competitive environment where other suppliers are trying to get their products into the system, and where problems, program scope changes, and time lines are all placing demands on the rep to get designed in and capture the socket before someone else wins.
Often the first discussions are for one or more specific products that clearly meet a core need of the system. While working to capture this core product, reps try to identify all the other functional blocks in the system that they have a potential product for that could meet the system needs.