Participating in the panel discussion were (left-right) were Jim Johnson, Calpipe Industries; Dominquez Hills, CA; Mark Gibson, Agents Midwest Ltd., Wood Dale, IL; Tom Bisson, General Cable, Highland Heights, KY; Jamey Yore, Coresential, Tampa, FL; Bill Cheetham, Leviton Manufacturing Co., Providence, RI; Larry Rodger, Synergy Electrical Sales, Fairless Hills, PA; and NEMRA’s Ken Hooper as moderator.
At last week’s 47th NEMRA Annual Conference in Orlando, much of the chatter centered on the surge in rep mergers, the number of new LED companies looking for reps, Southwire’s relationship with Lowe’s and their joint effort to build electrical contractor sales, and the keynote address by Shark Tank’s Robert Herjavec.
But another point of discussion at the meeting could have more far-reaching impact on independent manufacturers’ reps than all of these topics combined –- NEMRA’s new Power Pact strategy and its focus on strengthening the rep-manufacturer relationship. The NEMRA Power Pact is based in part on a recent study of association members on the relationship between independent manufacturers’ reps and electrical manufacturers by the Alexander Group, Scottsdale, AZ.
In his remarks before a panel discussion on the Power Pact, NEMRA President Ken Hooper said several aspects of the rep-manufacturer relationship need immediate attention. For example, the Alexander Group study showed differences in the level of importance rep and manufacturer respondents put on several key issues, including sales enablement (rep access to manufacturer support resources); the need for realistic and in some cases updated performance-based rep compensation plans; and engagement from electrical manufacturers’ C-suite executives on rep-related sales and marketing activities.
During the session, NEMRA 2016-2016 chairman Tim Klinger, president, I-Pro Inc., Denver, CO, discussed some sales enablement ideas that reps and manufacturers can adopt and showed attendees how his company developed an innovative online trip planer to maximize manufacturers’ visits in I-Pro’s territory. On the compensation front, Ken Hooper said one respondent said manufacturers are over-compensating on legacy products and under-compensating on new products.