At last year’s CEDIA Expo, Legrand | AV announced the creation of Residential Custom Integration Business that was dedicated to supporting custom integrators in the home technology space and that brought together the company’s brands in infrastructure, networking, and AV systems, including Chief, Da-Lite, Luxul, Middle Atlantic, Nuvo, On-Q, QMotion, Sanus, and Vantage.
Here, Scott Gill, president of Legrand | AV, gives an update on the company’s progress and provides a preview of its plans for the future.
Related: Legrand’s New Focus on Residential Custom Integration Unites Brands at CEDIA 2018
RESIDENTIAL SYSTEMS: What is Legrand’s strategy regarding the companies it acquires?
SCOTT GILL: We generally look for businesses that are leaders in specific product segments. The product segments we target are typically attractive because of growth opportunities or because they align strategically to our existing business — or, ideally, both. The best references on businesses for us to acquire come from our integrator customers. We want to make sure that the acquisitions we make add value to our dealers.
In terms of integration, we first want to understand what makes a brand or business special to our customers. Then we build our integration plan around that. Sometimes it makes more sense to combine the new business with other activities within Legrand, and in other cases we take more of a stand-alone approach. We don’t have a one-size-fits-all strategy. We want to tailor our efforts to whatever will bring the most value to our dealers.
With the wide variety of brands and products Legrand now offers, what is the benefit for integrators to stay within Legrand brands when building a project?
Working with Legrand | AV Residential Solutions means integrators can do one-stop shopping with a trusted manufacturer. That’s because our brands address three major areas of need for residential integrators: infrastructure, networking, and AV systems. Integrators can build a strong foundation with our infrastructure and networking brands, then couple it with our AV solutions to transform smart homes and deliver a truly exceptional AV experience for homeowners.
Besides one-stop shopping, there are many other benefits, especially when compared to working with a smaller individual brand:
- Design services, such as the Luxul Customer Assurance Program, for robust network infrastructure.
- Field support and in-person training when a dealer enters a new product category.
- Builder demand generation, with a specialized team creating specifications and pull-through for our installation partners.
- Multiple shipping locations for faster in-stock service.
- Expert technical support across a variety of product areas.
- A collection of specialists with deep knowledge in their categories.
- Strong training teams and design services backed by online training, collateral, tools, and configurators.
- Local support in every U.S. territory.
How does Legrand plan on educating the industry about each of their offerings and how they can work together?
One of the fundamental elements that differentiates us from competitors is our focus on education and training. Not only do we have a hands-on sales team for whom training is part of the job, we also have a dedicated training team that can both educate about individual product brands and provide broader solutions training on how those products complement each other. We offer in-person trainings, webinars, online training, and certification events, and we’re launching a Legrand | AV sales app featuring all the brands to use as both a training and a sales tool.
Related: Legrand’s Brand Strategy
In what ways is Legrand reaching the channel?
Recently we segmented our sales department into various teams to better serve various types of customers. Channel sales, account sales, and solution sales each have their own focus, but the teams come together to make working with Legrand | AV simple for channel partners, buying groups, and integrators.
The Channel Sales team coordinates distributor activity with 20 territory sales managers on the Account Sales team to increase frequency of touch to monthly, quarterly, or biannually, depending on priority and size. The idea is to make it simple for the territory sales managers to engage with authorized distributors. The Channel Sales team creates and executes account plans for the top 40 distributors, providing a territory distributor playbook, distribution training, and know-how to help territory sales managers and/or regional sales managers proactively manage distributors.
The Account Sales team has extensive customer programs and support tools to help buying group dealers grow their businesses. There’s a design services team to assist with scope of work and billing of materials, and a technically proficient training department to make sure integrators are knowledgeable and efficient at the job site. The Account Sales team is also working with the Channel Sales team to establish a national program that will benefit customers such as distributors and specialty retailers at the local level.
Finally, the Solution Sales team is there to educate top-tier integrators about and inspire them to use Legrand | AV Residential Solutions. Solution Sales gives integrators a single point of contact and a direct line of communication to get the advice they need, from the initial project consultation to completion. Through system design support, on-site project support, engineering services, value engineering, and help identifying synergies within the Legrand | AV product categories that could line up with project needs, we provide efficiencies in planning and project management that help integrators increase profitability.
Looking ahead, what is Legrand’s goal for its position in the residential industry? Where does the company see itself in five years?
We want to be the first partner that integrators think of when they specify, design, and complete an AV installation. In some of the categories where we lead, we are fortunate to have earned that position today, but in other categories, we’re still working toward that aspiration. So, as we look out over the next three to five years, that mindset frames our goal: In every category where Legrand | AV provides a solution, we want to be the natural partner for integrators. That doesn’t mean we’ll provide everything — just that our unique combination of product innovation and exceptional service will enable us to earn integrators’ trust for each and every job.
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