Industry Specialist/Expert – Much like scheduling a specialist for a medical procedure, it is wise to choose a rep firm with specific vertical market expertise. It’s important to work with a rep firm that is dedicated to your industry and has strong relationships with key security integrators and distributors. Not too long ago, some manufacturers were hiring data communication representatives in the security space. Unfortunately, neither party enjoyed much success unless the firm hired a professional dedicated security staff to augment its efforts.
Creating End User Demand – A successful rep firm will understand how important it is to market your product not only to distributors, but to the end users and consulting engineers. Due to drastic shifts in the marketplace, the focus should be on creating end user demand and brand loyalty for your product through consistent exposure, communication and marketing. The end user is the entity that develops long term brand loyalty, and most likely will be around longer than their integrator or sales rep. Brand loyalty is the key to any manufacturer’s success.
Strong Sales and Management Team – As the leader goes, so goes the company. A rep firm should consist of more than one individual with a solid reputation. The rep firm you choose needs to have established and documented processes to train their staff on new manufacturers and their technologies. The leader/leaders in the firm should also have strong ethical reputations in the market. Distribution and integration in the local market can provide a significant amount of information to the organization, keeping in mind that there is a difference in “liking” a firm and feeling that they are “ethical”.
Building Partnerships – A winning rep firm creates partnerships with their customers and forms strong strategic relationships within the security industry. It’s important that the firm continually delivers value to their customers and is a trusted partner of choice when it comes to security. By taking the time to understand each customer’s unique situation and then recommending the right solution, your reps provide success and goodwill for both your products and your status as a trusted provider.
Have their Own Sales Staff – A large percentage of manufacturers rep firms do not employ their sales personnel, rather they hire them as 1099 contractors. Although firms can significantly decreases risk, lowers costs and reduces taxes using 1099 contractors, there can be a downside for both the rep firm and manufacturer. With 1099 contractors not being a direct and true employee, they are not subject to the company policies and procedures or overall direction of managers and officers.
These guidelines are a basic roadmap for a solid rep-manufacturer relationship. Each manufacturer has a different set of priorities when selecting a rep firm. It’s important to keep the factors above in mind when making a final decision.
“We look for sales organizations that are extremely results-oriented and dedicated to the security industry,” says Kenichi Mori, director of marketing and product management for Sony Electronics’ Security Systems Division, who recommends using this simple formula for sale success. “It is also important to find firms that employ top-tier talent in each geography they serve.”
About The Author: Robert Lydic is president of IP Security Reps Inc., a leading security manufacturer’s rep firm based in Brighton, Mich. The company, which was founded by Lydic in 2010, has won 10 National Sales Awards over the last four years. Lydic has been in the IP data, voice and video market since 1998. He has also served on several entrepreneurial leadership panels in Ohio and been a member of the Entrepreneurs Organization Detroit Chapter since November 2003. For further information on IP Security Reps, visit www.ipsecurityreps.com.