by Frank Wells
Techrep Marketing is launching a new business unit to cover the state of Florida. The expansion makes Techrep arguably the largest manufacturers rep firm in the country "geographically and in population coverage," says Jeff Mac, president of Techrep Marketing, covering some 18 percent of the nation's footprint, and almost a third of the nation's population. "Launching a new company is never a small task," Mac elaborates. "It takes a massive amount of planning and implementation, but is something that we have been working towards for years."
Though Techrep's line card (including Sennheiser, Genelec and Switchcraft, among others) varies somewhat by region, and is deeper where they are already well established, the company will initially represent QSC and Universal Audio in Florida, along with products they distribute like the JoeCo BlackBox recorder.
Rep firms are somewhat invisible to end-users, though they play an important role as middleman between manufacturers and retailers/dealers in the promotion of products, in regional tech support and educational outreach, and in order processing and distribution. Mac and partner/CEO Ted Bahas, both of whom are active in the field even with the greater administrative responsibilities that have followed the company's growth, founded Techrep in 2000 with a unique approach to marketing their clients' products. "The biggest thing we do different is we run the rep firm like an event company," says Bahas. Techrep typically arrives at a dealer for product demonstrations or product training with a self-contained, turnkey presentation system, incorporating elements from the various products in their lines. In addition, "All rep firms are outsourced sales companies," Mac explains, "our approach is to provide outsourced regional management," which is "pretty different than what most rep firms are doing." Techrep follows a "best practices" driven business model, that Mac says dovetails with that of QSC.
Mac says "bodies in the field" are probably the best measure of a rep firm's health. Three new employees will man Techrep Florida, which began operation on September 1, 2010. These industry veterans are: Paul Friere covering southern Florida (with "a deep experience in the AV world and experience both inside and outside the state"), Bill Lewis in the northern peninsula (formerly at Sweetwater Sound and Disney, Lewis is a native Floridian "whose live sound skills and install experience are wide ranging") and in the panhandle, Rick Wallace (previously of V2 Marketing and All Pro Sound, Wallace's "wide experience as an installer and as a performer serves him well in taking care of his customers"). With these additions, Techrep will exceed 20 employees and give the firm the largest pool of pro reps in the country by Mac's reckoning. "More people in the field covering fewer customers per rep" is part of Techrep's model, Mac adds, "adding more people and shrinking territory." While shrinking territory is anathema to most reps, Techrep mitigates any potential loss of income from a smaller sales base by sharing commission on every sale with every company employee. That model also allows Techrep to break territory boundaries when a particular employee is better suited for a particular task. "We have worked hard through the years to structure our business so it can be extended into new areas," says Bahas. "We believe that what we do in our existing territories in the Southeast, Michigan and the Ohio Valley will translate well into Florida."
by Frank Wells