Growth On Display - AvNetwork.com

Growth On Display

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NAME: Sam Taylor

COMPANY: Electrograph Systems

TITLE: President

BACKGROUND: A 20-year veteran of the company, Taylor understands the value of excellent employees, the need to align with only the best manufacturing partners, and the importance of staying on top of the trends and competition.

THE CHALLENGE: With average selling prices of flat panels declining 20-25 percent over the last year and a business objective to grow by 15 percent annually, the bottom line is that Electrograph must significantly increase sales volume to stay on target.

SCN: What is your position and what are your responsibilities?

Sam Taylor: Since 1995 I have had the opportunity to serve as president of Electrograph. I am involved in all facets of Electrograph's business, from sales and marketing to partner relations and acquisitions. Over the last 12 years, it has been exciting and rewarding to watch Electrograph's annual sales grow from $16M to $500M.

SCN: How has your background prepared you for this role?

ST: My bachelor/master degrees and early work experience are actually in engineering. I joined Electrograph in 1987 as a sales manager for the Mid-Atlantic region, and was promoted to vice president of sales and marketing in 1993. As a result, I have a deeper understanding of what it takes to make a company work-the value of excellent employees, the need to align with only the best manufacturing partners, and the importance of staying on top of the trends and competition to help our systems contractors and other channel partners be as successful as possible.

SCN: Where do you see your market heading?

ST: The acceptance of flat panels is pervasive, and this has made the last decade explosive in terms of market growth and evolution. But the real story is the convergence of the professional and consumer markets. Currently, about 40 percent of Electrograph's reseller partners are selling into both markets, and I only expect this figure to increase as the line between the two continues to blur.

Today's systems contractors are fiercely competitive and need every selling opportunity they can get to stay in the game. Every day, Electrograph is adding new display and peripheral lines to make it easier for partners to serve both markets. Really, who has time to place POs and handle logistics with 20 different suppliers? Why not use one resource for all those needs?

SCN: What are Electrograph's short- and long-term goals?

ST: Our short-term goal is focused squarely on training and educating our 5,000+ reseller partners to ensure their growth and profitability. We are committed to giving our partners the critical tools and educational opportunities they require to cultivate their businesses.

Long-term, Electrograph strives to grow in two primary ways: organically through traditional sales and marketing activity, and by acquiring new companies. Two years ago we brought Alan Marc Smith on board as CEO, and he's done an outstanding job navigating Electrograph through acquisitions with ActiveLight and CineLight, and International Computer Graphics. Acquisitions like these will continue to be critical to our success.

SCN: What is the greatest challenge that your company faces?

ST: Maintaining a value-added position for our resellers and manufacturing partners. With average selling prices of flat panels declining 20-25 percent over the last year and a business objective to grow by 15 percent annually, the bottom line is that Electrograph must significantly increase sales volume to stay on target. It's the only way we can continue to offer our partners competitive prices and margins. We have to find ways to be more efficient in our operations and, at the same time, grow our value-added services.

SCN: How can systems contractors better position themselves to profit from Electrograph's products and/or services?

ST: Attend our DTEs for training and access to some of the hottest products and peripherals. Call our sales professionals. We have the most knowledgeable sales force in the industry-they are 100-percent trained by InfoComm. Take advantage of our logistics with Electrograph's 10 fully-functioning distribution centers throughout the U.S.-including two factory authorized service centers-all of which offer same-day shipping, will-call services, and just-in-time delivery. Electrograph has the tools that systems contractors need to succeed. All systems contractors need to do is use them.

Electrograph Systems...www.electrograph.com

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