In the U.S. and abroad, manufacturing is booming. During the year 2013 alone, manufacturers infused $2.08 trillion into the U.S. economy – totally more than 12 percent of the nation’s GDP – according to the National Association of Manufacturers.
As a value-added reseller (VAR), you’re uniquely positioned to break into this booming industry with AV systems that many manufacturers are hungry for. However, keep in mind that the manufacturing market is slightly different from many of your other customers’, and it requires a unique approach.
When selling pro AV systems to manufacturers, remember the following three tips:
1. Think globally.
The manufacturing industry has embraced globalization. Today, many American manufacturing companies have locations (or even headquarters) overseas, and many foreign manufacturers have set up offices in the U.S. Product developers, manufacturing employees, management and even administrative staff for American companies are increasingly located abroad, which can save each firm significant amounts of money.
All this globalization is good business for VARs who work in the pro AV space. Your product and service offering can enable colleagues from around the world to quickly and easily work together – regardless of distance. Especially when working with larger manufacturers, keep a global perspective, and always look solutions that will help them simplify the ways in which they work with their other locations, while also saving money.
2. Focus first on communication and collaboration.
If you’ve racked up a lot of experience with video conferencing and collaboration technology, the manufacturing vertical is a great place for you to be. With a single company’s employees, suppliers, facilities and customers strewn all over the country – or the world – seamless communication and collaboration are the No. 1 priority for most manufacturing end users.
Bone up on any system that will improve efficiency, maximize collaboration and, perhaps most importantly, do away with the need to travel. Most likely, your manufacturing customers will be looking for video conferencing systems, telepresence devices, and unified communications and collaboration (UCC) technology. This includes instant messaging and chat, active directory, telephone systems, desktop and data sharing, email, certain smartphone and tablet apps, and anything else that helps end users quickly and easily share information.
After you’ve led with communication and collaboration technologies, inquire about your customers’ needs for other pro AV solutions, such as projectors, digital screens, paging systems, sound systems and anything else that might be needed in their headquarters, warehouses, manufacturing facilities or offices.
3. Tout the strong ROI opportunities.
For some of your pro AV customers, making a strong ROI case might be a bit challenging. After all, it takes a while to see a return on their investment when they install a new sound or presentation system – if a tangible return ever comes at all.
But for your manufacturing customers, ROI is a much more concrete concept. The video conferencing and UCC technologies you offer enable companies to significantly cut back on travel expenditures. With money saved on every unnecessary trip, they’re likely to experience ROI within a relatively short time. When meeting with potential customers, be sure to emphasize the incredible ROI potential.
Does your business work with customers in the manufacturing industry? What tips would you share for selling pro AV systems to this particular market?