Best & Worst Places to Buy Surveillance

Author: John Honovich, Published on Dec 17, 2014

Stores, distributors, manufacturers, the Internet, Chinese spam emails?

Today, there are more options to buy surveillance than ever.

But what are the best and worst places to buy?

IPVM surveyed 100 integrators to learn from their experiences and tabulate the consensus top and bottom picks.

Summary

We found a number of clear trends:

  • Integrators like buying from manufacturers more than distributors.
  • While integrators named dozens of different sources, the distributors that were mentioned the most (across best and worst votes) were ADI, Anixter, ScanSource and Tri-Ed. However, the percentage of best vs worst votes for these 4 varied significantly.
  • Online buying remained a distinct minority choice for integrators.

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*** **** *** *** **** *** ***** ****** ** ***?

**** ******** *** *********** ** ***** **** ***** *********** *** tabulate *** ********* *** *** ****** *****.

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** ***** * ****** ** ***** ******:

  • *********** **** ****** **** ************* **** **** ************.
  • ***** *********** ***** ****** ** ********* *******, *** ************ **** **** mentioned *** **** (****** **** *** ***** *****) **** ***, Anixter, ********** *** ***-**. *******, *** ********** ** **** ** worst ***** *** ***** * ****** *************.
  • ****** ****** ******** * ******** ******** ****** *** ***********.

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Love *************

**** *********** ****** *************, ** *******, ** ***** ********* ******: 

  • "******** **** *** ************"
  • "************ **** ********. *** ********* *** **** ******* *** *** knowledge **** ** ****."
  • "** *** ****** **** *******. **'* *** **** ***** **** the ******** ** ********* ******* ********."
  • "* **** ****** ***** **** ********** ****** **** *** ************ if ******** ** *********. * **** ***** ************ **** ****** loyalty ** *********** *** ***** **** ****** ** *** *** user."
  • " ******** **** *** ************. **'* *******, ******, *** **** **** better ******* (***-**** *** *****-****). ************ **** *** ****** *** more ***********, ***** ******* (**** **** ** **** ***** ** well), ***** ** ***'*"
  • "****** ****** **** *** ************ ** *** ****. *** ******** the ***** ******* ***** *** *******, *** *** ***** ********* and ***** ********* ** *** ****** ** *******."
  • "****** **** ************ - *** ****** ** ******* *** **** of ******* ********* ** *** *********** ***** *** *** **** of ********* ******* *** ****** (**** *******)**** ** *** **** and **** ********* *** **** ************* ** ********** ***** ***- thereby ******** ***** ********** ** * ********"
  • "****** *** ***** *****, **** ****-** *** ****** ****** ************."

******, ************* *** *** ******* **** ** ***** ***** ** any ****** *******.

*** ***** **** *** ******** *** * *********** *** ********** called *** ******** ** *** **** ***** *** **** ** buy ************ ********. *******, ** ** ********* ***** ******, ** it ********** ** ********* **** ******** *** **** ****** *** their *** ****** *** **** ******* ************.

Frustration **** ************

** *** **** ****, **** *********** ****** ************, ** *******, as *** ***** ***** ** *** ************ ********.

  • "**** ************. **** ** *********. ** ***********. **** **** ***** numbers"
  • "******* ************. ******* ******* ** * ****** *****, **** ** inventory *** ********* *** *** ********** **** *** ********."
  • "************ ** *** ***** ***** ** *** ************ ******** ** our **********. ********* *** ************ ********* ******* ***************."
  • "*** **** ** **** * ***** *** **** ******* **** going ******* ****. **** **** * ******** ** **** ** you *********** ** *** ***** ******* **** **** ******** ** are **** **** *******."
  • "************* ******** ************ *** ****** **** **** ***** ******. ** most ***** * ****** *** ****** ** **** ** ******** or ********* *** **** ** **** ** ** ********** *** research **** ****** ********** *********."
  • "************, **** *** *** ***** ********** *** ** ******* ***** anything. ***** ***** ***** ******** ** ***** ************* ** **** quantities ****** **** *** *** **** *****. **** ******* ******* into ***** ******** **** *** *** ********* *** **** ****** to *** ***** ******* **** *** *** ***** *** **** not *** *********** *** *******."

** *** ***** ****, ** ********** ****** ************ ********* ** the **** ***** ** *** ********.

Geographical **** - ********

*** *********** *********, ***** ~**% ** ********* **** **** ***** America (****** *** *** **), ******* *** ******** ************ *** good ** ***, **** **** *** **** ** *** ******* based ** *** *** ** ***********.

**********

** ************,************* *** **** ****/***** ***** **** ** *********** ******** **** as *** **** *** **** * ** *** *****. ******** and ********** **** *** * **** ****** ******** ****** *****:

  • "**** *****, **** *** *** ********"
  • "**** ****** - ****, ******** *** **** ***** **** ** product."
  • "********** ** **** & ******** ***** ******** *** ********* ******** materials. **** **** *** **** ****** *** ****** ******* & product ************. ** ** ** ********* ********* ***. **** **** have ******* *********** *** **** ************ **** *** **** ******* if ******. **** **** **** ********* ** ****."
  • "********** - ***** ******** ****** ********. ******** ******* ** *****."
  • "**********. **** *** ********* ******* *** ***** ** *******. **** also ***** ** *** **** *********** *******."
  • "********** - ***** *******, *********** ******* *** **** ** *** ever **** ****** ** *** *** *****!"

**** *****, ******* ********** ** *** ** ******* **** ** ADI *** *******. 

***

****** ****. ** *** ** ********** **** **********, ****** **** 10 ***** ********** ****.

** *** ******** ****, **** *********** ***** ****** ******* **** ADI ********:

  • "*** *** ****** **** *** **, *** * ******* **** the ******* *********. * **** ***** **** ****."
  • "***. ***** ******* *** ************ ******** **** **** ****, *** made *** **** * *** ******."
  • "*** - **** ********* *** **** ** ****. **** **** been **** ** **** **** ***** ***."
  • "***... * **** * ***** ************ **** ** ********...***** *** fishing *** *** *** ***** ***** *** *** ****"
  • "*** ** *** **** *****. **** **** ** *********** *** don't *** ** ***** **** ********. **** **** **** *** order ** * ****** ****** *** **** *** ** ***** what *** *** ** **** **** **** ** *** *** typically ******* ** ***** ***********."
  • "***- **** ******** *******, ***** ******** ****** (**** **** ***) and ****** ** *** ********* *********, **** *** ***-**** (**** contacting ************* ********)."
  • "**** ** ***** *** **** ***** *** *** ********* ************* sales ***"
  • "***. **** ********** ***** ******. **** ** **** ** ****** easily. ********** *******. ** ********* ***** ** ******* / *** out *** ****** / **** ***** ***."
  • "***. **** *** ** ***** *****. ** *** ***** ****** does *** **** ********* ** *****, **** *** *** ** from ******* ****** *** * ******'* **** ** *** *** shipping."
  • "*** ********* ****** *** *** ******* ***** *** *** *** been ***** ******* *** ***** **********. **** **** ********* **** stock ** *** *** ** **** ******* ****** ****** *******."

** *** ***** ****, *** **** ****** ********* *** **** service ** ******** ********:

  • "*** -- **** ******* ** *** ***** ******. ***** ** sometimes ********* ** ******** *******!"
  • "**** ** ******* *** ******* ****** *** ********** *** *******. It ***** ******** ** ** ***** ****** *** ** ***** like **** ***** **** **** *** *** ***. **** ***** prices *** *** **** *** ***. *** *** ***** ** 2 ********* ****** *** *** ********* ****** *** *** ****."
  • "*** ************ ****** **** ******* *****, ****** ****, ** ***** lack ** *********** *****, ***** ******* ******, *** *** ********** of ******** ** ******* ******** ******* ****** ** ***** * voicemail."
  • "* ***** ** *** **** **** *** * ***** *******. *** hoops *** ******* ****** ** *** * **** ******* ***** is **** ********** ***** ****. ** **** *** ****** **** of * **** ******* *** *** ******* ******** *** *** a *** ********. **** *** *** * ***, *** **** find *** **** *** ***** ***** ******* ** ** * new ******."

**** *****, *******, ******* **********'* ******** **** ******** *********** **** ADI.

*******

********** *** ***** **** / ***** ***** ** *** ************, **** 17 ***** ********** ******* ***** ** **** *********.

**** *********** *** ******** *********** **** ****:

  • "******* *** **** * ***** ****** *** *** ** ****** equipment. **** **** * ***** ***** **** **** ** ************ following ** ** *** ********."
  • "*******. **** ********** ** *** **** ****** ************* ** **** us ****** *** ********."
  • "******** **** ***** *** ******** *** *** *** ******** ** need, ******* *** ****** **** ** ** *** ** ******* accounts ** **** **** ******** ********."
  • "**** *** ***** ** * ***** **** ****** *** **** given ** ****** ********* ****** **** ** **** ****."
  • "* **** * ******** ******* ********* **** **** *** ***** for ** ** ******* *** **** *** ******** **** * need ****."
  • "*******. ** **** ******* ****** ***** ****** ******* ***** ***** we ******* ** *********** "********" ******."
  • "***** *******'* ****** ** *** ******** ****** **** *******, ****'** been **** ***** *** *** ******** *** **** ** **** competitive *******. **** **** **** ****** ***** *** ****** ******** times **** *** ***** **** ** **** ****."

*** **** *** ********, ********* **** **** ** ********* *** changing ****:

  • "*******. **** **** ** **** **** *** **** ******* *** sales **** ********** ******."
  • "*******, ************* **** **** ****** *** *****"
  • "******* - ******* **** *** *** ******. ** ** *** responsibility ** ******* ******* ***** *******. **** **** **** **** provide *** *****. **** ***** ***** ********** **** *** **** as ***** *** ** **** **** ********* *********."
  • "*** ***** ** *** **** * ***** **** ***** ** Anixter ** **** ***'* ********** ** ******** ** **** *** more ** ** ********** ***********. **** *** **** ***** ******. Recently * ***** ** ******* ************** *** ******* *** ** integrated ******** ******** ********** ** ****, ****** ******* *** *********. They *** ** **** **** * *** ******* *****."
  • "******* ***** ****. *** *** ***** *** ******* ** *** phone, **** **** ***** ***** **** **** ******* ***********. **** department ***** ******* ***** *** *****. *** *******, *** *** selling *** ******* ***'* **** *** ****. **** ****, *******. They've **** ****** ******* ** *** ****** ** ********."
  • "******* - *** ******** ******, *** ****** ********, ******** ** interest"
  • "*******. **** **** **** ****** *** ***** *********** *** ********* so ****** *** **** *** **** **********"
  • "**** ******* *********, **** *** *** ******* **** ******** ******* and ********* ***** *** ** ****** **** *********** ***** ******** costs *** ********."
  • "*******. **** ** ****** ** - ** **** ***** ***** type ***** - **** ***** ** **** ***** *** **** along. ***** ******* ** ***."

*** ***** ****** **** **** ******* *** **************** ****** ** ******* ******, ***** * ****** ** *********** ****** *** **********:

  • "******* - **** **** ***** ** ** ****** ** * few ** *** ********. ** **** **** **** **** *****."
  • "*******, **** ******** ******* *** **** **** *** ** **** direct ** *** *********- ****!"
  • "*******, ****'** **** ** *** *** **** ** *** ****'* looking."
  • "******* - ***** ****** ** *** *** *****!"

** ******, *******'* *** **** ** ******* ** *** *** ***-**, ****** ******* * ***** ****** ******** **** ***.

***-**

***-** *** *** ******* **** ********** ****** *** (** *****) and ***** **** ****, **** *****.

**** *** ******** *********** **** ***** ********:

  • "** **** **** ********** ******* ***** ******* *** ******* ****** are ***** ** **** *** ********. **** ***** ****** *** very ***********."
  • "***-** ************ ***** *** ******* ********* ******* *** ***-***** *******. Their ********* ******* ** *** ** **** ** *** ****. They'll ** *** ** ***** *** ** *** *** ******* the ******* ** ****."
  • "***-**. ***** *** *******. * *** ** **** **** *** person, **** **** ** ** ********* ** ** ********, *** endeavor ** ******** * ***** ******* *** ******** ************ **** the ***** ** *** ***** ****** ***** ******** ******* ** expertise **** ****."
  • "***-** - **** *** ********* ********** *** **** **** **** they *** *******."
  • "** *** ** **** ******* *** ************* ***** *** *****. He'll **** ** ** ********* ** **** *** **** **** from ** *** * *** **** *** *** *** *************** on ******** ***** *********** ******** *** **'** **** **** *'* talking *****. ***** ******* ** **** ***** **** ** ****** but ** *** **** *** **** ****** ** *** **** it ***** *** ******* ***** **** ******* *******. ** **** my ********** *** **** *******. *** ****** ********** ** ****** something ** ****."

****** *** ******** ****:

  • "** **** ***** ***-** ** ** * *********. **** **** don't **** ********. ******* ** *** *** *** ******* *** in **** **** ***."
  • "***-**, *** ***** ***** ** *** ******** ** *** ******** I ****"
  • "***-**. ** ***** ******** *** ********** ******** **** **** **** accounts ***** ******** *** ****. ******* ********** **** ******** *** phased *** ** ***** *** ***** * **** **** ** make ******* *** ** ********/***** *********."
  • "***-** ** *********** (*******), ******* **** ****** ** * ***** numbers ** ******! * ****** ** ****, *** ** **** in *** ******** *********** ******** *** *** *** **** **********. Their ***** ******* *** ********* ****** ***** **** *** **** year ** **** **** **** **** *****."

****** ***, *** **** *********** *** ********* ****** **** ** how *** ** ********** **** ******* **** *** **** *** years.

******

* *** *********** ***** ******** *********** ****** ****** (********* * **** Amazon) *** * *** ***** ******** ***********. ***** **** *********** surely ********* *** ******, ** ** ***** **** ****** ****** for **** ** ******* *** **** *** ***** ******** ** buying ************.

** ******, ** ** *** ***** ******** ** ************ ******** for **** ****** **** ******* *********** ***** ******** ** *** ***** see **** *** *** ** ** ******* ********** ****** (*.*., ****** ****** ******* **** **** ***** **********?).

*****

*******, ****** ****** **** ***** *** ****** * **** ****** option ** ***** **** ******** / ********** (*.*.,***,*** ******* *** ** *******) **** ****** **** ********* *** ****-**** ******* ************* **** **** ***********.

*********, ***** * ****** ** *********** ** *** ****** **** China, *** *** *********** ********** *** * ****** ** ******** experiences *** ********:

  • "******* ************* ****** *** ****** ******* ***** ***** ****, *** IP ******* *** *************, *** **** ** ******* ** *** too ****"
  •  "****** ****** **** ** ******* ******* ************. * ****'* ** this, *** *** ** ** ********* *** *** *** ****** was * ********* *** ****. **** ***** ** ********** ** return ** *** ********** *** ****** * ******** *** **** in *** ***** *****."
  • "**** * ******* ***** **** ***** ** *******" 
  • "******* **** *****. * ****** **** * ****** **** ********* before ****** **** ** *** *** **** *** ******** * lot ** *****."
  • "#* - *****, ******* ********* / ** **** ******. ***** may ** ****** ****, *** ***** ** ** ******* *** NO ******** ** ***** **."

Comments (34)

For those integrators who buy mostly online, or those who say they get very little support from distributors and are expected to "know exact model numbers" (that one made me laugh), I assume most of those were small, maybe 1 to 3 person operations....?

No. Most of them with comments like that were from integrators in the multi-millions annual revenue, a few were tens of millions of annual revenue.

So you think it is extremely rare to have a distributor rep who expects you to "know exact model numbers"? Evidently, many of your colleagues have less pleasant experiences than you do.

What I envisioned by the comment about model numbers was maybe an integrator not knowing much about the product they were trying to buy without having done any research, but I could have totally misread it.

That is surprising so many larger integrators would look to the Internet or Chinese specials for equipment. It's just counter to what I would have expected.

Only 10% of respondents mentioned the Internet or China and 70% of those were for worst. Internet and China was not common, for anyone, big or small.

That is a completely different matter than those that "get very little support from distributors", which was far more common of a complaint, some about distributors in general, more about specific distributors. Indeed, there were two mega integrators who cited two of the biggest distributors as the ones being the worst for them to buy from.

Maybe I've been lucky but the distributors I work with have been generally good... within reason. They are human, after all.

I think it's best practice to always double check whatever the distributor provides instead of relying upon them to provide parts that fit your needs. It is the integrator who pays the price so, partially, the onus is on us to vet the product before we sell it. I try to provide a list and tell them exactly what to quote and have better results when I do. Your mileage may vary.

It seems to me that distributors and manufactures provide different functions. The manufacuturer should be providing the dealer with technical knowledge and training, engineering resources, strong pre and post-sales support, marketing resources, etc.. The distributor's function should be providing stock and logistics, financing, order consolidation, and good customer service (msot seem to fall short of doing these things well). If they can provide some level of technical support and expertise that is a bonus. It should not be surprising that a company with an 800 page catalog does not provide deep product knowledge on everything they sell. But if an integrator has a project that requires components from 10 different manufacutuers it is inefficient and an administrative overhead burden to order from 10 different companies. The manufacturer should provide the same support whether the integrator is buying direct or through distribution and a pricing structure that doesn't favor either. Having a direct relationship with the manufacturer is important but buying direct may not be.

@Undisclosed A: I agree with everything you have said. Distributors do have important services and that is financing, logistics, and warehousing equipment.

Unfortunately, in the quest to remain competitive and add value many distributors have started to pitch their technical prowess. I have heard from distributors over the years that state they will perform staging/configuration of devices, design complete systems, and even estimate the jobs. Once a distributor sales rep has sold someone on their company's technical prowess it is hard to stuff that back into Pandora's box, whether it can be delivered to expectation or not. The negative comments about distributors not having knowledge of product and the expectation that they should may be spawned by this.

Who has not heard a distributor say "we don't just push boxes, we can provide X, Y, and Z technical services"?

Who has not heard a distributor say "we don't just push boxes, we can provide X, Y, and Z technical services"?

Lol. That is basically every distributor in the whole world :)

I think there is a real play for the opposite approach. A distributor whose pitch is: "We will get you the right stuff, immediately, at the lowest possible price. You just tell us exactly what you want, don't expect any hand holding or brilliant thoughts, just stuff, fast and cheap."

I always just wanted a distributor that could push boxes well and at low cost. That was pretty much it. I think there are different levels of integrator, though, and even different levels of staff at an integrator. I was at the top, where I learned product and very rarely called sales support, because I wanted all designs to be my own. Plus any time I called distributor tech groups, they were awful. Awful.

I'm honestly not sure how integrators who don't work that way actually got anything done. I couldn't imagine relying on distributors to pick a camera for this or that application. Telling me what fits that application and might be on sale? Sure. Actually picking it? No.

I will say that I used a certain distributor's preconfiguration and assembly services and they were fine. They saved the time we expected them to. They unboxed cameras, recycled packaging, addressed them, labeled them, put them on a pallet, built a rack with patch panels and switches, and put it all on pallets and shipped them to us. I feel like there are a couple that can actually deliver on that, but it's for a different sort of project and requires more engineering prior to the sale than a lot of project see post-sale.

Ethan, that's pretty much what I've been thinking, but you said it better than me.

So, basically, having a good rep makes you like the company and having a bad rep makes you hate the company. Makes sense. That's why I've been busting skulls to increase our internal salesmanship skills and product knowledge training for 2015.

I think that is only half the story.

The other part is product availability / quick delivery.

For example, that is a big reason so many people use / choose ADI.

I would say that is a big part of it. The inside sales person is who delivers what I need -- pricing and availability -- and has the best product knowledge when it is needed. My preference is to avoid even speaking to the outside sales person unless I want a free lunch and 20 questions about what is in the pipeline.

We buy direct from manufacturers whenever possible. We expect protection when we specify their product, exceptional support in all phases of a project, adequate logistics, and 30-day terms.

We buy a majority of our product through distribution. We consider the main purposes of distribution to be credit terms and stock. If you don't get 60-day terms, you're doing it wrong. If they don't work hard to get you what you need, when you need it, find another distributor. If they occasionally push a few leads your way, consider that gravy. If you need them for design support, find a new career.

In all cases, we have strong relationships with our vendors. If a manufacturer or distributor has a weak inside or outside rep, we ask for someone else to handle our account. If they break our trust, we don't do business with them. Your vendors greatly influence your ability to deliver exceptional service to your customers. Hold your vendors to the same standards to which you hold yourself!

I don't understand integrators buying from a distributor that actively pursues end user accounts like Anixter. Unless they are bringing you in on opportunities and handing you business, you are slowly slitting your own throat. They are bombarding end users in our areas both with direct marketing pieces and active direct sales people.

I had the experience of being in a meeting with the Security Director for one of my customers when the Director of IT burst in with the Anixter rep in tow announcing the revelation that they could buy security products directly from Anixter on their account. The rep proceeded to sell the direct relationship for about 5 minutes until he finally took notice of me and my company logo'd shirt, and recognized who I was. At that point he reversed course and all sales suddenly had to go through their integration partners. Truly hilarious as I'd already had it out over the phone with this exact same person over their direct sales approach, and was assured by him they didn't do this. Amazingly I've never heard from him since. You may get your throat slit in business, but I'd encourage you not to hand the perpetrator the razor. Thoughts?

D, how long ago was this? I am just curious cause one of the counters I have heard is that "Hey that happened in the past, but now we don't do that anymore"

Approximately 3 years, but I've been hearing they don't do this since well before that. I've had a couple other similar experiences since then that tell me they still haven't changed tactics, imo.

I just ran a report of ~ 150k installer, dealer and integrator records. Firms in the top 99th percentile lack enough financial juice to warrant direct vendor relations. The shear number of trunk slammers and SMB dealers dwarfs the number of integration firms by several orders of magnitude. Vendors big and small are feeling the pressure to make their numbers. Distribution, now more than ever, is so critical to the surveillance food chain. I would venture to say that even mid-sized distributors have more working capital than all IPVM integrators combined. Like it or lump it, that's the way it is. That being said, I do sympathize with the plight of the modern integrator to excel in a global economy where the Internet and the ever expanding OEM buffet make it difficult to make a buck. The real enemy is bottom feeding Internet sites and super massive blackhole electronics retailers (you know who you are) who drive margins down. I'm not talking about security-centric e-comm sites who've been selling online since before Google. End Rant!

Hi E,

Can you elaborate on this statement, "I just ran a report of ~ 150k installer, dealer and integrator records. Firms in the top 99th percentile lack enough financial juice to warrant direct vendor relations."

What size, in terms of annual revenue, is a company to be in the 99th percentile? $1 million annual revenue? $10 million annual revenue? $100 million annual revenue?

What is your criteria for warranting a direct vendor relation?

Here's one immediate counter to your claim. Avigilon sells direct to 2,000 integrators / dealers, and most of those are far from being in the 99th percentile of anything.

Distribution in our business is often just a necessary evil. Anixters sales team is opportunistic and their management has been arrogant and disengaged for as long as I can remember. They call themselves "demand creators" but its just talk. If your products show up on a spec you can expect them to demand creation of a project registration to protect themselves - even though they probably did nothing to get you spec'd. They still sell to end users. Still!! CSC is better than Anixter in some regions. ScanSource is a cut above both of them. While ADI and Tri-Ed are in a race to zero with their shelves stocked with cheaper and cheaper low end video products. They are the DMV of the security world...it's a place Manufacturer's have to go, and can't wait to get out of.

morning very interesting topic, I own an independent distribution company that sells to Latin America and the Caribbean , we have been around for quite a few years and our model is to hire mostly Electronic Engineers for sales and we do design of integrated systems , CCTV , Access , Fire, Automation and more , IMO i feel we have been very successful and we continue to grow that business model, I do compete with many of these multinational distributors and we are very succesful against them , we dont have the deep pockets or the millions in inventory but all of our customers know they get proper design , presale and postsale support and we always offer them the best solution to win their job. we work with all types of integrators from the Billion dollar guys to the 100k companies we feel we can add value to any of them. We do not currently sell in the US market though.

Is there any data on how many end users buy surveillance through a dealer, through a distributor, or through the Internet?

Ari, it's a great question. What would be tough is to determine who is included in 'end users'. Are we just talking commercial / industry / government end users? Or are we including residential / consumber / SMB? And if we are doing the latter, how do you weigh the groups? Does 1 consumer end user count just the same as 1 government end user?

I have to laugh when I hear "tech" support from the distributors. I would have only assumed that distribor tech support was simply around the logistics of the product line like catching on and order that you selected the wrong base to go with a dome camera may be the wrong transceiver for a fiber switch. But I can't see calling someone who sells thousands of products and asking them to talk to tech support for one of them knowing even at the manufacturer level you almost always have to wait for tier 2 or 3 to respond to you. I can't see that kind of talent being paid what there worth at the distribor level.

Truth. I've been offered jobs in the tech support departments of distributors, and tech support of manufacturers. The manufacturers paid badly, the distributors paid worse.

Rubbish! There are plenty of distributors willing to pay top dollar for techs who can merge book smarts with street smarts. If you're not working on a pay-per-performance or revenue share model then find another distributor.

Hi E,

Can you elaborate? Tech support employees at distributors get 'revenue share'? How much revenue share? Which distributors?

Yes, technicians are stakeholders too. All phases of the customer lifecycle - acquisition, retention, etc. - are equally important.

Our financial compensation packages are much more dynamic then, say, a Sleep Number employee who makes a fixed 1.5% commission. That's about as aggressive as my local bank's CD rates. A virtuous cycle, however, breeds creativity, fosters innovation, and cultivates healthy competition.

Can only speak for SMB distis with 100-150 employees. Both qualitative and quantitative assessment tools are used to consolidate customer touch points, tie metrics to staffers and attribute employee performance. Its also a speedy way to go broke, so strong leadership and mentorship are crucial for success.

I can certainly believe there are exceptions on the distributor side, but since most integrators deal with a handful of the mega distributors, that seems to fairly reflect negative experiences with those companies.

Great info and great feedback from people. I always think its funny when integrators cry foul when distribution sells direct to end-users but it is ok for the integrator to buy direct from manufacturers. Double Standards?

On a side note, many end-users are savy enough to install their own surviellence system or just swap out a bad camera. Why shouldnt they just buy direct? They can buy a decent camera online or turn to their distributor and cut out the integrator.

Maybe everyone should feed the channel.

Manufacturer - Distributor- Installer- End Customer.

Mr.G

Yeah cut out the integrator, that

1.) came to their place free of charge to educate them on purchasing cameras, intelligently.

2.) designs a system that works for them and puts it on paper, when requested ( "if you want my business"......)

3.) Makes several trips once to qualify and spec, second to design and give bid to and third to wine and dine and make them feel special. then to try to close deal to hear " the internet distributor is selling it below your cost, so why are you ripping me off:("!!!!

4.) giving them great options for great tech support and after sales guarantee

5.) LOCAL did I say LOCAL SUPPORT

6.) and the list goes on so yeah skip the integrator and screw them all so in turn you the distributor can have all the integrator headaches, of all the free come to my place and once they wear them out as above just start buying from the Manufacturer.

SO yeah lets skip all the heartache and have the end user go to the Manufacturer......oh yes they have been there before and could not have that many offices and manage everything....this is the exact reason the CHANNEL was developed because the manufacturers figured out it wasn't profitable for them to keep a million ducks in the pond.....And oh yes the distributor will or has figured that out too.

But in the end its all about the almighty buck....no one really cares!!!

thats my 36 year in the business take!!! Any one challenge that?

But in the end its all about the almighty buck....no one really cares!!!

What it's all about for you, if not to make money?

11, I don't think that's fair.

What 10 is clearly saying is that integrators, like him, often give away a lot of time and expertise up front:

"Makes several trips once to qualify and spec, second to design and give bid to and third to wine and dine and make them feel special. then to try to close deal to hear " the internet distributor is selling it below your cost, so why are you ripping me off"

So they take all of that and then turn around and buy from someone else for cheap. It's an issue of fairness.

It's an issue of fairness...

Who is being unfair to the integrator? The customer? The disty?

From what I've read here there is no love lost between integrators and distributors, and many integrators wouldn't lose sleep over going around them to make an extra buck, if possible.

So, to lament the greed of others, i.e. "the almighty buck" that motivates them, is to imply no such motivation for oneself.

p.s. he asked for a challenge :)

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