When I first joined the ranks of Milestone one of my coworkers told me that “Every integrator wants to work for a manufacturer when they grow up.”
It was funny, and at the time I identified with that statement on some level. Working for a manufacturer offered a few advantages for sure. From a sales perspective, it eliminated a lot of the roller coaster effect. If one customer was having a down year, it usually meant one of your other customers was having an up year. Only regional or overall economic down turns had a major, direct impact on sales. Working for a manufacturer also eliminated some of the stress of deadlines, or contract negotiations, or of late night site visits to finish a project on time. All of these were a welcome change of pace from my years of work as an integrator.
Anyone who has interacted with me knows that I sell in a very specific way. I joke that I talk more people out of buying things than into buying them. The reason I say this, is that many times people will ask for a product or service specifically, and instead of taking the order, I typically try to take a step backwards and ask “what are we trying to accomplish?” The answer to that question many times meant that the product or service needed was different than what was initially asked for and the sale shifted.
The net result of this approach was that I spent a little longer on each transaction to develop an understanding of the problem that was needing to be solved and to build a relationship with the person who had engaged with me in the first place. I was able to use my experience as an integrator in my role as a manufacturer sales person to help my integrators vet their designs and assure we were choosing the proper solutions. I was even more valuable when my integrators needed someone from the factory to visit their customers with them to answer questions or explore solutions.
What I found however as my career dove deeper and deeper into the world of product sales and territory management was that I was getting farther and farther away from what I was really great at.
I was getting farther and farther away from the end customer.
Joining Tangram Interiors’ Technology team offered me an opportunity to reverse all of that in a very unique way. Their heritage in office design and furniture has yielded deep relationships with their corporate clients. They have a working knowledge of their customers businesses, habits, work styles and challenges which I believe are all very important to proper technology design and planning.
I was looking to get closer to the customer to leverage my 17 years in AV, and Tangram offered the perfect opportunity to do that. As Sales Director for technology, I’ll be working to expand the amazing relationships that the team has already established, isolate our strengths, and grow the division strategically. I’ll also be helping to drive the culture of the sales team and continually define how we approach our customers and create meaningful relationships based on understanding how people work, what they struggle with, and how technology may help alleviate those pains.
I look forward to new adventures and to maintaining all of the industry relationships I’ve made over the course of my career. I’ve gone from integration, to manufacturing and back to integration. It seems that things have come full circle.. or in this case… maybe orange triangle 🙂