Posted on 4/4/2018 7:00:00 PM by Chief Team
Strategic account manager
Describe the work you do.
I develop and enhance relationships with Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) in the digital signage industry to assist and improve the process of digital signage rollouts. I make sure they are educated in our products, have access to Chief's innovative products when needed, and support them and their relationships with their customers. It’s most helpful to learn about projects early on in the cycle to make sure it’s a seamless sales motion.
What drew you to this work?
Blind luck. I was put in a business development role for a display manufacturer in distribution. Two and a half months later, the architect and relationship person left, and my boss tapped me to take over. That was nine years ago. Since then, I grew the digital signage team at that distributor from just me to a team of 10. That team was supporting one of the largest direct market resellers in the industry. I would work with sales reps to handle the digital signage conversations that needed to happen. Since then, I’ve just found I like digital signage. I get excited about the innovation and growth. That is my emphasis.
What are the challenges of the job?
One of the challenges is I am the mount, the side course. No one thinks about the mount until later in the sales cycle. I have to be proactive with my OEM partners to get them to think about it earlierwith their customers so the end result will be a complete and polished product.
What are the rewards?
Successful roll outs. When you have one that goes out and not only are the OEMs involved very happy, the dealers are happy, the installation teams know what they are doing, and most importantly the end customer is happy with the final result. That’s the payoff. People may try to silo – this person for this, that person for that. What I try to do is get all the people to the table together to make sure the end customer is satisfied with the rollout – product, logistics, relationships. I want the customer to know the product and be sure they will like the final results.
Describe a typical day at work.
I stay on the phone. One of the main tenets of my position is to reach out to OEM partners. It keeps me busy trying to connect with them on a set schedule. I also really try to be diligent when it comes to finding champions within those OEM spaces that will help me with their coworkers and organizations. That’s a great way to stay in front of the people I need to stay in front of. When I am on the road, I am a brand advocate and I’m going out and participating in digital signage centric shows.
What personality traits work well with what you do?
I had a boss who said the ability to be a sales rep is the ability to start a conversation with a stranger in a bar and come out with a friend. I will find friends in a room of strangers.
Do you have other hobbies or interests?
I’m an avid sports fan. I like live sports. All sports. Playing with family, hanging out with my kids. I like to read and do all that academic stuff. I read fiction. Horror fiction.
Where did you grow up?
Grew up in North Jersey. To that point, Mets, Jets, Nicks, Rangers. So, I see a lot of loss.
What interests you about digital signage?
It is the way that companies will communicate with people going forward almost exclusively. It influences buying and non-buying decisions. It’s a vertical-less industry where the same philosophies in a car dealership are used for digital signage in hospitals.
What I like the best about it – you have the shallow end of digital signage pretty pictures, then you have the deeper end, which is true interaction between customer and signage. Companies are utilizing these data points to set up a system for them to know if someone is male, female, age range, smiling or not, and then select content for that person. When we think of that we think of retail, but there are other examples of this. For instance, at a hotel in Chicago, when you walk in with an RFID tag, you can be directed to the right conference room. The same technology could be used in airports to get people to correct gates.
What is a common misconception about digital signage you often have to correct?
The most common misconception in general is that consumer means the same thing as commercial. The most common misstep is “I can do this by myself.” Digital signage is one of the most non google-able things you can run across. There’s no google search for how to do a digital signage rollout across 2000 locations. According to experts, there are about 650 products for digital signage software. When googled, one might get about 4-5, and those solutions can be way more or less than someone needs. On the mounting side, there are so many variations of a wall mount. That’s why it’s so important that companies, including Chief, have put people like me into positions to help with digital signage projects. A good portion of my job is making introductions.
What trends are you seeing in 2018?
The trend of touch is going into a lot of places it hasn’t gone before. Kiosks are part of a huge segment that is growing. Think of what the ATM did for banking. That’s what a kiosk can do for an airport or higher education. With Quick Service Restaurants, we’re going to see a lot of the same growth with menu board applications as the companies out there realize the effect it has.
What makes something a good idea for you?
A good idea is one that hasn’t been totally fleshed out. I’m teamwork oriented. With my job currently, I have to work with sales managers, product management and OEM partners. The teamwork aspect is very interesting. I respect the hustle. I have lifelong friendships based on the fact some guy was trying to sell something.
What is your favorite non-dirty curse word?
I don’t know, man – I just use the curse words because I’m an adult and I deal with adults. I will tell you that when I hurt myself in front of my children, I say “God love America!”