There was a comment made at InfoComm's Salt Lake City Regional Roundtable a couple of months ago pertaining to the slightly revised sales process that many integrators (and yes, manufacturers, too) have adopted in recent times: "We need to remind sales people how to sell, not just take the orders that have been rolling in over the years."
In an industry that became quite comfortable with effortless 20% growth year after year, a certain amount of adjustment has had to occur.
Two weeks ago I paid a visit to General Communications' headquarters in Draper, Utah, a suburb just south of Salt Lake City. Sitting down with Ingolf de Jong, president of the company, he revealed that he is very optimistic about opportunities that exist for our industry. Listing recent projects their company had completed, he said something that makes a lot of sense: "The business is there, we just have to find it, and work harder for it."
The demand for integrated audio, video, and communications technologies is holding steady, as these tools have become essential to day-to-day business and learning across many vertical markets. Or more specifically, as de Jong elaborated, "When things are tight, people look to technology to save on costs. They are going to need what we sell -- that's a good place to be."
In addition to its Utah headquarters, General Communications also has an office in Washington, DC, which opened its doors almost five years ago, led by Dan Erickson, VP and CTO. The 52-year-old company's business expansion domestically and internationally will be easily managed in the new office and warehouse facility it moved into last year.
During my tour of the offices, warehouse, systems pre-build area, training room, and the fully outfitted, entirely wireless boardroom setup within the new headquarters, I learned which vertical markets continue to offer significant potential. Mass notification, digital signage, and voice evacuation are areas where growth is expected, and higher education is also presenting opportunities "as educators seek to get their message to students in a broader format."
Another new business opportunity lies in enhancing the service and support offered to clients after the installation is complete. "As technology becomes more challenging, clients need extra support," de Jong noted.
Himself a major proponent and facilitator of industry education and certification, de Jong sees the next sales training hurdle as three words: Return On Investment. "In times where everybody is concerned about finances, we need to be able to address ROI," he said. "It's important that our clients realize that the technologies we offer create efficiencies for them. Everyone wants enhanced productivity."