There were 650 sales people on the floor with me. I was competing for accounts, and trying to build our book of business. Everyday I would be on Hoover’s or Red Herring, or the Inc 500 list, exploring the potential to companies into new customers. The number of employees and type of business were key piececs of information that I needed. I would take those companies names and put them in our MAX system to see if the account was already owned by someone on the floor, if it wasn’t promptlty put them in my book. Then I would call the contact at the company, and try to pave the way for a sale. I was required to be making 65 calls per day. My book of business was 300 accounts, so I was through my book in a week. That means I was making nearly 1000 cold calls. . .per month for almost 2 years. Close to 24,000 cold calls in my time there.
Who were they to? What was I selling?
They were primarily to IT directors, as I worked for IBM Direct, representing PC, Laptop, and Intel based servers (The RISC based stuff and Mainframes were done through another division).
Why is this relevant to an AV blog?
Well, according to Gary Kayye in Sound and Communications, 80% of the convergent AV-IT systems are being installed by IT companies and not AV firms. According to CE Pro and Commercial Integrator, AV firms are encountering the IT guy as their point of contact more and more frequently.
I lay down the introduction here to simply state that what I am about to relate, has a very sturdy foundation. I believe I am uniquely qualified to speak to the reason the AV industry is losing the battle to install our own equipment, as well as offer some advice on how to gain marketshare.
So, how do AV firms compete in a field currently dominated by IT firms???
More to come in Part 2.