In my biweekly blog series, I am highlighting some of the incredible people who work for the Audio Video Industry. In this post, we are profiling Chris Bartram. Here is his brief introduction.
Chris Bartram is the Managing Director of Crystal Display Systems, Digital Electronic Display Specialists located in Dartford, United Kingdom.
1. Describe your journey in the AV industry? How did it start?
I started as an internal sales engineer in LCD and TFT displays and touchscreens in 1994. I was promoted a number of times to product Manager, Sales Manager and covered the whole of Europe working with many International Blue chip companies.
2. What do you think are the challenges that are facing a new person who wants to join the industry?
The main challenge of a new comer into the industry is the sheer wide range of products and technologies that are rapidly changing with new products being added constantly.
3. What are the positives of working in this industry?
The challenges are in fact the positives also as it is not a slow dormant industry but rather a fast paced and changing industry that is never going to be boring as there is always something new, whether it be a new product or new technology, just around the corner which makes it interesting and exciting, but you have to keep up to speed and be able to support all these new technologies!
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4. What in your opinion would you change in the industry? What are the negatives that are prevalent?
There are too many sales people that do not understand their products and have not taken the time to learn them which leads them to ‘blagging’ and ‘waffling’ about technologies that can lead to real issues for end customers when the incorrect technology or product may have been designed in.
5. Describe your ideal client? What do you wish clients to know before hiring you?
We have a wide range of clients in many vertical markets and of different sizes or technical abilities so this depends on the project and requirement but they must have a definite project with a good understanding of what they want and specific timescales are also helpful. Sometimes clients have just an idea and we help them make that a reality or we have to tell them at the beginning that it is not feasible or practical for the following reasons.
6. If you were going to start over, what would you do differently?
Learn more quickly, keep a small specialist team rather than expanding for the sake of expansion, not waste time on time-wasting companies with pie in the sky ideas or no technical ability at all as the amount of support needed can be huge and can suck the life out of the company for weeks. As we do now we should always have been looking for the next technology on the horizon to hopefully get first mover advantages.
7. Describe a typical work day for you. What are your daily disciplines?
There is never a typical day here as we have so many different projects globally but customers always come first and dealing with their requirements or requests as quickly as possible, and we have a good reputation for having a rapid response system to add value to our clients systems and performance. But whilst dealing with the day to day we are also regularly marketing and promoting new products, developments and technologies so our clients and prospects can also plan forward with new products.
8. Describe the apps and gear that you use daily which makes you more productive?
We use Apps such as Hootsuite to help automate our digital Media marketing, SemRush to help ensure our website is optimised which is critical for us as people find us from across the globe and this can only happen with an optimised website and back office solutions. We try to keep our systems simple and although Apps etc. can help, our business still boils down to a good team of people that want to help clients get the best solutions for their projects and we need to be careful, hours a day are not spent filling in CRM system as then we have less time for our clients!
9. How do you stay relevant in this industry?
All of the above! Really please re-read the above as all the critical factors are there: Apps and systems, Best Team, New products and Technology, pro-active marketing, and customer focused solution orientated sales. It is not rocket science but many companies do not do it nor live it, but we believe CDS does exactly that. As we have a global presence we also created a basic video here so all our worldwide customers that could not necessarily visit our Headquarters could know who we are:
We also try to give examples of our work on the website so people can see these: http://crystal-display.com/products/transparent-case-studies/
To know more about him or his business, please connect with him on Linkedin.
Also please drop your questions in the comments below and I will make sure that he sees them.