Written by Exertis Almo BDM's Darren Altman, CTS, DSCE & Andrew Giacobbe.
Three AV industry experts, Darren Altman, BDM II – Technical Specialist (Sharp/NEC – East Coast), Andrew Giacobbe, BDM – Brand Specialist (Sharp/NEC – West Coast), and Rob Ziv, Senior VP of Business Development at Exertis Almo, recently hosted a meaningful discussion on navigating company-wide change, detailing the endless opportunities for personal and collective growth within transitional times.
Here’s what they had to say.
Drawing from his own experience navigating company-wide changes, Andrew details the differences between two key acquisitions.
“I started off in the industry right out of college, working at Stampede, and about three to four months into working, we were acquired by DCC. I wasn’t too familiar with the [DCC] comradery, but not too many changes were made after we were acquired.”
“I saw a bigger change when [Exertis] merged with Almo – it was a [more significant] change because we combined Business Development Managers, Sales Teams, etc. The key factors everyone considers are: What makes sense for both companies? What is our end goal? Where do we see ourselves in 10 years?
We all had similar thoughts. And now, the role of BDM has an even bigger meaning.”
Along with the changes dealt with by a newly combined business development team, Darren questions the differences between management and non-management roles following such a significant company change – posing an important question to Senior VP of Business Development, Rob Ziv.
“What were your initial thoughts on the transition from a family-owned to family-operated company, especially following the 75th anniversary celebration?” Darren asked.
“My perspective is extremely positive,” Rob said. “Typically, when two organizations come together, there are duplicate roles, and fear of [job loss]. The culture here is so different from that mentality, that the conversations that were happening behind closed doors were, ‘We’re bringing everybody over.’”
“Within the BDM group, there were some people that left, but no jobs were eliminated due to duplication,” he elaborated. “Perhaps, other roles were available within the organization that [team members] chose to take. By our first combined Pro AV National Sales Meeting, we were family.”
Darren concurred with Rob’s positive experience.
“Throughout all my years here, there is always welcomeness, and if there is an issue that I can’t figure out, I can find someone who can,” Darren said. “We’re all individuals, we’re all humans working for the same company and purpose – comradery carries you, and it comes with the culture. Let’s take care of our customers and provide a service that fills our needs and the company’s needs. And you meet great people along the way.”
Andrew elaborated, “Before, we only had one Sharp/NEC BDM for the United States. Now, I’m the West and Darren is the East, which allows us to bounce ideas and hit the ground running, right off the bat.”
The increased opportunity for teamwork allows both Darren and Andrew to benefit from each other’s ideas, while also strengthening their vendor relationship with Sharp NEC Display Solutions.
Company Change as an Opportunity for Growth and Development
Despite the challenges associated with company change, Rob details the various opportunities for growth and development within an evolving organization – both business and technical.
“One of the things becoming apparent to me in our new organization is the additional opportunities for everybody,” he said. “While change brings uncertainty, it brings opportunity. The best thing that someone can do [in these situations] is lean in and keep their eyes open for additional ways to learn and grow. And we’ve seen that happen here.”
In reference to new opportunities, Darren acknowledges the importance of building relationships (and maintaining existing ones) with customers.
“With the diversity of our company portfolio, it’s hard to find something that we can’t help our [customers] with, even if it’s something we don’t carry. ‘Let me introduce you to my colleague that can help you through the process,’” he explained.
“We care about the customer, and relationships speak more than just sending texts and emails. I had a phone call with a customer the other day, just to talk. Showing that [interest in our customer] as a group holds a good amount of value beyond the knowledge of product.”
Overall, the three experts acknowledge the importance of providing consistent, quality products and services to Exertis Almo customers.
“We have the right connections,” Andrew explained. “Whether it be with our vendor or an [Exertis Almo team member], we can answer any questions [our customers] have.”
“There’s a comfort level in our customers knowing that they’re in good hands,” said Darren.
Darren and Andrew both acknowledge the importance of building and maintaining relationships with customers, allowing them to collaborate on Sharp/NEC product and service knowledge. Relationship building continues to evolve and grow since the Exertis Almo merger, providing considerable opportunities for personal and company-wide growth.