Dumbest move I've heard of for a while from one of my former peers! There's greed and then there's stupidity! I hope its one of the young one's who can learn from this and not one of the seasoned professionals.
I am curious as to why he would be visiting one of your customers in the first place without you!!! The only time I would ever visit an end user without my partner was when it was demanded by the end user... Just the fact he was visiting without you should be the really big red flag if you involved him in the original sale.
This begs the question, do you sign a NDA with each product represenative you deal with? If not, how do you know you can trust him/her? What are the conditions of your trust?
Axis is not hiring seasoned people, they are hiring young people with no prior industry experience. This type of thing is going to happen more and more.
These kids, they just want to talk about the camera - its features and functions etc. but there is more to why an integrator would re sell Axis or any other product, than the product itself. It always always comes back to relationships.
They come in and want to talk about the camera, I then line up the technical specification with another brand that is 20% less and ask them, what would you do? Fun.
Remember always that the BS out there, about educating the customer, the customer is you but they want to bypass you, go around you and get to the customer first.
Could you explain more how they are “Your Customer”? I really get confused by this statement, they have 190 Axis cameras… How are they not an Axis customer?
As a Manufacturer what does the wording of your Dealer (Integrator) agreement state around sales, marketing and support you are looking for? How does it describe the end user? How does it describe the Dealer (Integrator)? What kind of relationship are your expecting the Dealer (Integrator) and End User to have?
I would suggest because the end user does not have an agreement with Axis directly they are not their customer.
If I have 190 Chevrolet service vehicles I am not a customer of Chevrolets but rather the dealer(s) I bought them from.
IPVMU Certified | 11/23/15 02:30pm
Not excusing him, but maybe you should have gave him a heads up and gave him the chance to do a meet comp or give sales help, before just selling something else. The difficulty in working so closely with a manufacturer is that once you jump ship.
On the other hand, he should have called you and asked you what was up, before just bringing someone else in.
If either of the above conversations happened, I'd love to hear how they went and more details.
After reading the responses I have to ask...Are you ( #1) sure the RSM brought the other integrator into your customer or is it possible your competitor brought the RSM in? Just an outside chance the RSM was stuck on a ride-along???
Just my 2 cents. When you sold a few "niche" products... were those Axis products that you sold? If not, did you have a conversation with Axis what your intentions were and explain that you were not trying to flip their cameras out? If they weren't aware of this, and they came in and saw Mobotix cameras for example that you sold them, you would probably be perceived as working against them there, and it would make more sense for them to grab an integrator partner that they know will continue to push their cameras at this customer and salvage their relationship.
A few "niche" cameras never warrants taking competitor into an account, it calls for a conversation about why ( if Axis has similar product) and nothing if they don't have a product that is equivalent. If they get 95% of every sale they should be your best friend!
It was never made clear as to how Axis knew about competitive product and why they were calling on the end customer after a sale??? Do you(#1) know these answers?
IPVMU Certified | 11/23/15 04:36pm
The politics that go on in this industry are unbelievable, perhaps worse than any other due to so many chains in the sales process and the cut throat pricing that is going on. The days of trust seem to be out the window. Even this story is disjointed and lacking concrete details.
One manufacturer recently took on one of our dealers direct, using the excuse that they needed to be able to compete with another brand. He didn't even let us know, waited for us to figure it out, then came back with a pocket full of excuses to justify it for himself. Now they have the cost of additional support, and credit terms, etc. Meanwhile we could have ourselves sold the dealer different brands for quite some time, but we were loyal to our demise in this particular case.
I think sales people are so scared of losing a deal or a customer these days that they will do anything even at the risk of long term reputation or what is best for their company.
I would bet that this Axis rep would argue that this was his customer in the first place, and that's probably how he has it listed in his CRM system. I'd love to hear his point of view on this. It'd be like watching the Republicans vs the Democrats. Both stories are probably so polished, we wouldn't know what to believe.
At the end of the day, if your manufacturer sees more value in your customer than you, that might be a bad spot leverage wise, so you should be careful and communicate with them in this regard.
From the manufacturer standpoint, if they are going to cross ethical lines, they must be prepared for the competitive ramifications. As in this case, I am sure the Integrator is now going to fight against Axis and the new integrator to keep his customer.
I would bring this to the attention of upper management at Axis. I don't mean the Area or Regional people I mean North American Director of Sales ( Larry Newman) or General Manager (Fredrik Nilsson). If you had attended the Partner Conference a couple weeks ago you could/should have brought it to everyone's attention then. Possibly you would have been given some assurance that it wouldn't happen again??? But its also possible the RSM was given directions to call on all end customers to see what products they are being sold. Part of the Axis mantra is to be paranoid.
I have never had this happen. Generally, Axis has been pretty forthcoming with us. I wonder if this is perhaps just a bad RSM.
A while back we went into a meeting with potential customer where an Axis rep had just visited and suggested that they buy cameras direct from Anixter and install them themselves. Recently on a technology forum an Axis rep said they'd first suggest a customer go to CDW for cameras. Nice to know some things don't change.
Unless things have changed significantly I know that Anixter is severely chastised and monetarily punished for selling direct to end users, as well Axis has always told their sales people that selling through the entire channel ( including integrator / resellers) is the only path to take.
I believe this is the young/inexperienced rep saying something he/she shouldn't or an end user bending the truth???
I registered a $300K project with Sony (and Anixter) and for the most part we installed Sony PTZ's and several domes, total of 45 cameras. We also spec'd and sold 20 Axis 5MP cameras because Sony didn't have a 5MP offering.
Now I find out that the Sony manufacturers rep was in the customer's office doing demos and dealing direct with them unbeknownst to me. I felt betrayed as they used the project I brought to them and are now selling direct to the end user. Maybe it was initiated by my end user but I still feel that the manufacturer/rep company I gave the information to should have at least contacted me about it. I called the rep firm and asked them about this end around and they backtracked saying 'our job is to bring our company product lines to our customers'....Lesson learned -->No more Sony camera sales for me, they're overpriced and losing market share anyway.
Absolute BS and going forward I will register no projects with distributors or manufacturer rep companies. I advise you do the same if you want to reduce the risk of this happening. What do you get anyway? 3-5 points? That's not enough to make or break winning a project, if it is, you're just a public bid house.
NOTICE: This comment has been moved to its own discussion: $300k Sony Project Being Sold Direct To End User
From the integrator survey, here is another case / different integrator but similar description:
"Axis. When we brought the local rep into a closed quote process, he announced the project to the market and registered to multiple integrators. The customer kept us completely in the loop as the process unfolded and provided us with all competitive information. Complete lack of integrity and business ethics."