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Opinion: how can European manufacturers break into the US market?

Manfred Freiberger, founder of MCF and AVCom, details a new partnership aiming to help European manufacturers successfully market their products in the US.

Manfred Freiberger, founder of MCF and AVCom, details a new partnership aiming to help European manufacturers successfully market their products in the US.

Through my two-and-a-half decades working in the international AV industry, I have noticed an increasing number of unique and high-quality products that are manufactured in Europe. Yet few of these products are marketed within the US.

I have found multiple reasons for European AV manufacturers to be reluctant to enter the US market. They face numerous daunting challenges: communication, gaining name recognition, brand awareness, sales implementation, ordering logistics, warehousing of products and technical support. Another major concern is that the business/sales model that applies in the US is totally different from that in Europe. While European AV products are sold through distributors, US AV sales are channelled primarily through dealers and integrators, who for the most part purchase their products for resale and integration directly from the manufacturer. There are a few distributors, but dealers and integrators in the US prefer an open communication and relationship with the factory via factory personnel or independent manufacturers’ representatives.

I believe I have found a solution – by going into partnership with a company that already provides assistance to US manufacturers. Founded in 2013, Successful Sales Consulting assists in the recruiting, training and co-ordinating of efforts of regional independent manufacturer representative firms for the purpose of creating and building the US AV dealer/integrator channel. The company further facilitates dialogue and discovery to clarify channels, analyse the competition and define marketing strategies. By collaborating with AV manufacturers, specific goals, objectives and programmes are created, which give management an opportunity to measure the results.

I have now set up a partnership to expand Successful Sales Consulting, so that it can offer assistance and guidance to European manufacturers of AV-related products, to give them a fast, effective and sustainable entry into the US market. The challenges mentioned above, among many others, are all made easier with the US-based professional services that we offer.

Successful Sales Consulting was founded by my friend and associate Ron DeVoe, after over 35 years in channel development. Ron has contacts throughout the ‘AV rep’ network and fully understands the role of the independent representative and how to build a strong partnership between representatives and manufacturers. The combination of our collective experience, both internationally and domestically, will be a great resource for our clients.

As a native German, with over 25 years in the AV industry, I bring multilingual expertise and technical experience, having worked internationally with a variety of AV manufacturers. As founder of MCF and AVCom, I specialised in developing new markets while conceiving and implementing innovative approaches.

Successful Sales Consulting’s other services will include pre-and after-sales support, product and sales training, and support for consultants and architects. It will also offer US-based order handling and processing, warehousing, shipping and tracking, and technical support.

ISE is just barely over and InfoComm is fast approaching. We have found that despite having presence at these major trade shows, manufacturers that are new to a market have time-sensitive ROI issues that can be greatly stalled without the correct strategy, personnel and market understanding. It is exciting to be able to offer manufacturers such wide-reaching services and benefits.