Q: What is your new position, and what does it entail?
A: As VP of sales for Proel America, I will be managing the network of independent sales reps and dealers, and traveling as the primary Proel product evangelist in the U.S. and Canada.
Q: How has your background prepared you for your new role?
A: I worked for major touring artists for 28 years as a sound engineer and technical specialist. For 20 of those years, I also was CEO and later chairman at TC Electronic U.S., so I am comfortable with both the gear and the management of a sales and support organization.
Q: What new marketing initiatives are we likely to see from the company?
A: I will be living out of a suitcase for the next year! Seriously though, the main efforts will be directed at building the Proel brand in the U.S. and Canada. The top priorities will be product education and providing our customers with a high level of service and support. Proel products are sold in 120 countries, and are known for their solid engineering and value, so we need to bring that message to the market. Proel lighting products, including the premium Sagitter brand, are also distinct possibilities for the North American market.
Q: What are your short- and long-term goals?
A: Our first goal will be to take on new sales reps in the territories not currently covered. We need coverage in Georgia, New England, the Mountain States and Canada, so we will be interviewing for those slots in January and February. Our long-term goal will be to work with Proel’s R&D team to tailor our products to hit both the performance and economic realities of the North American market. We are there on the technical side with the Flash, Extreme and mixer product ranges. They have gained acceptance in the U.S., but Proel SpA manufactures a full range of products, from small background music speakers to arena-size line-array boxes. Many of these products are doing well in other parts of the world. We need to identify which of those products are best suited for the U.S. and Canadian markets.
Q: What is the greatest challenge that you face?
A: Well, of course, it’s the economy. Budgets are tightening at every level, so many people are being forced to postpone purchases or go for products that are purchased solely on price. The old adage, “You get what you pay for” certainly applies to audio gear. Expectations are high at every price range. The real challenge in today’s market is to deliver performance and pricing. There is also the longevity issue. The bargain product may prove to not be a bargain in the long run, if you have to replace it in a few years. We are certainly going to strive to deliver on all three points; performance, price and reliability. As I can attest from experience, building a brand is a long and winding road, but Proel is committed to North America for the long term.