Here We Go Again on the Rep Thing
How long must vendors be shackled to independent reps who put them on the map?
Emails are flooding in with the “how-dare-they” sentiments we hear every time a manufacturer cans its independent reps and goes to a factory-direct model – which is often, these days.
“We invested heavily to build this company from nothing to a leading brand,” they say, quite correctly.
But how long do manufacturers, who often launch their products through a network of independent reps, “owe” those reps for putting them on the map? Should they be tethered forever to these firms if the rep model no longer suits their business?
We can debate all day long whether independent reps or factory-direct sales are better for manufacturers and their customers.
But vendors can’t afford to be sentimental or eternally indebted if reps no longer make sense for the business – just as none of us can afford to keep otherwise stellar employees who no longer are required.
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Julie Jacobson is founding editor of CE Pro, the leading media brand for the home-technology channel. She has covered the smart-home industry since 1994, long before there was much of an Internet, let alone an Internet of things. Currently she studies, speaks, writes and rabble-rouses in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V, wellness-related technology, biophilic design, and the business of home technology. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, and earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a recipient of the annual CTA TechHome Leadership Award, and a CEDIA Fellows honoree. A washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player, Julie currently resides in San Antonio, Texas and sometimes St. Paul, Minn. Follow on Twitter: @juliejacobson Email Julie at firstname.lastname@example.org
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