Written by: Ted Konnerth CEO of Egret, Inc.
Electriconnect.com (e-connect) is a simplified CRM/ ‘rolodex’ for salespeople and sales executives to discover new potential customers in local markets. E-connect is specific to the electrical industry; the target user would be a salesperson from an electrical manufacturer that is looking to increase their sales within a local market. The concept is straightforward; the electrical industry typically uses local, independent manufacturer rep organizations to promote their products to electrical distributors or local electrical utilities. E-connect is a repository of over 18,000 electrical distributor locations, 1,700 lighting design firms and/or MEP firms and over 1,500 independent manufacturer representative firms.
E-connect is a subscription service. The monthly fee is $125/mo and it is cancellable at any time.
This is not a ‘list service’ of email addresses or names that have little accuracy or relevance. The database has been personally curated by Egret employees, daily over 21 years; these are industry experts that know the channel and have personally overseen each entry.
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E-connect is an active contact management system. A typical scenario would be as follows:
A Regional Sales Manager has scheduled a visit to Chicago and contacted the local rep to set up the visit and define the agenda for specific customers to meet. With e-connect, that RSM can enter the zip code for Chicago, select which type of customer they’d like to meet e.g. Distributors or Specifiers. With a radius search of 50 or 75 or 100 miles around Chicago, they immediately get a list of each category. I quickly ran that search with a radius of 50 miles and got the following results:
• 800 Distributors
• 91 Rep firms
• 187 Specifier firms
Each entry includes the address, phone number and key contact (where available); plus that contact’s email address. The RSM can select the contacts of interest; move that list into a folder inside of e-connect and then email directly from e-connect to each contact to introduce themselves and suggest a meeting and schedule an appointment during their visit. They can attach a brochure of a new product, or an invitation to join a presentation, etc.
The one issue that concerns VP of Sales within the industry is how effective is their regional sales talent in driving brand acceptance in each local market.
For a senior sales executive that is looking to either add an additional new rep for specific market coverage, or replace the current rep; they have a listing of reps that include all contact info; plus information on that rep firm’s major product line.
The premise is simple; rather than rely on the local rep to know every potential customer; e-connect helps the RSM, as well as the local rep, identify people they don’t already know, helping to bring new business to both parties.
I started my career in the lighting industry after grad school. I joined my Dad’s local rep firm in Columbus, OH and after 2 years of successfully growing revenues and profits; I was recruited to join a large global manufacturer in Chicago; Cooper Lighting. I started with the company as a salesman, and was promoted to District manager, then regional, then Marketing Director, then Area VP and finally Global VP of Sales overseeing $1B in sales revenue. When I left Cooper, I started my own search firm; Egret Consulting Group (Egret).
One issue that always was on my mind, was how to influence business and build brand awareness on a local market basis, knowing that your sales presence was based on an independent representative; with multiple lines. As I reviewed activity reports from my regional managers, I noticed that they would meet the same customers over and over. While that was a nice way to develop a relationship, it was also very limiting in expanding our presence.
I started Egret as specialized solely on the electrical industry; with market specialists that served clients that manufacture lighting, wire/cable, power distribution equipment, as well as electrical distributors and specialty niches of lighting design firms and ESCO’s (energy service companies).
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When I started Egret, I purchased ‘lists’ of companies, by categories and by SIC codes. Those lists were horribly inaccurate and required more labor to clean them up than to just research the industry and load them in separately. Over 21 years and dozens of staff members; each identifying new companies in their space, Egret had a curated a database of over 30,000 companies unique to the electrical industry. To this day, there is not a simple internet search that will yield an accurate list of companies in any geography. The search requires a strong grasp of the ‘language’ of the industry, as well the channel influences and interconnectivity of getting a product to market. Electrical is a trade driven industry; i.e. electrical contractors, general contractors, electrical engineers, distributors, specifiers, utilities, consultants, organizations, technical conferences and more; all are influencers in getting a product to market. List generators cannot filter out the noise.
With our specialized database I found my solution for every VP of Sales that wants to expand their reach into new companies; Electriconnect.com. E-connect gives the regional manager the knowledge to bring value to the rep and the manufacturer. For only $125/mo for full access; the manufacturer has 100’s of curated leads to follow up on. I only wish I had a similar system when I was VP of Sales.
Electriconnect is continuously updated to fill in names where they may have changed, add new companies, change addresses and more. As we build out our ESCO database as a stand-alone market, we will eventually add that as part of Electriconnect, as well.