Azione members discuss vendor, client relations at New Orleans Conference
Day 2 of the Azione Unlimited buying group's fall “Networking” conference, held Sept. 10 in New Orleans, saw the group's assembled dealers and vendors breaking out into smaller groups for roundtable discussions on a variety of topics aimed at driving members' future survival and success.
The day began with an address by business consultant Peter Sieffer on “Client Base Maximization,” in which the speaker presented formulas for boosting business from technology integrators' most affulent and profitable customer base.
In his presentation, Sieffer suggested the following ways to manage growth:
• Strong financial forecasting and profitability/capacity planning
• Have a detailed, viable strategic plan
• Profit center-driven business
• Strong management of profit centers
• R&D constant focus on improving efficiency
Following that session, it was time for the first roundtable session of the day. In this segment, all attendees—both dealer and vendor members—broke into small groups to discuss the same topic—in this case, the questions “What does it take to get great alignment of Azione members with the group vendor lines?” and “Why aren't most Azione vendors selling 90% of dealer members?”
This touched upon an issue that Azione Founder/President Richard Glikes has frequently addressed in past group meetings: his preference that Azione dealers form stronger alliances, and sell more product from, the group's vendor members.
The format of this session was one used in many previous Azione conferences: Each breakout group would discuss the topic, assemble their ideas, and present them to the rest of the group when the discussion was closed.
Some of the ideas presented by the groups to improve dealer/vendor business dealings included:
• Making ordering easier for dealers, possibly through a web portal that facilitated simple ordering of all products from all Azione vendors
• Creating a simpler order form that would cover products for all Azione vendors
• Vendors offering their products at a discount to Azione dealer employees for their own use, which, it was suggested, would result in more engaged sales efforts from staffers actually using the products
• Improved tech support from the vendors for Azione dealers
• Offering advance replacement products to Azione dealers, so they'd have the items in stock and wouldn't have to wait until a customer requested a replacement product
• Making upcoming Azione conferences more product-driven, possibly with displays of product in booth spaces as at industry trade shows to enable dealers to better experience the products
• Allow more time for one-on-one dealer/vendor meetings at future conferences
• A web portal that would show how much money dealers are saving by being Azione members and buying product from the group's vendors