By Andy Slawetsky – Brother held an inside sales meeting in NJ on December 13 – 14 where over 100 of their employees gathered to hear updates from the printer company and learn about forthcoming products and Brother’s go-forward strategy.

Several guest speakers were on hand, including IDC VP Keith Kmetz, someone from InfoTrends/BLI/Keypoint Intelligence (I didn’t hear who) and myself, who was there to provide my What’s Happenin’ industry overview.

I also ran a panel during the conference with two end users and two Brother employees where we discussed trends, buying technology (how they buy, who they buy from, why they buy, etc.). That was a great panel and the two “non-Brother” customers provided great comments on how a sales rep can get on their radar. There were lots of interesting questions from the crowd and we probably could have gone on another hour!

I have had many meetings with Brother over the years, but I never realized how big they really are. While their traditional focus has been outside this channel, a push over the last couple of years and the need for A4 vendors in this space has provided them with a great opportunity.

Indeed, depending on how you define the market, Brother sells more printers than anyone, earning a number one position in many key categories. This was accomplished through a variety of other channels (VARs, retail, e-tail, etc.), leaving me to wonder for years why they hadn’t developed a program for imaging dealers.

Click here to see all photos from this event

Over the last few years, Brother has pulled several people from competitive A3 OEMS, such as Steve Feldstein, Dan Waldinger, Steve Santucci and Dan Butler, among others. You knew as soon as these guys started showing up at Brother that they were going to come after this channel. Well, here they are, and they have a nice program to offer!

It was quite an eye-opener when I walked into that room and saw so many people. It was packed and on the sides, Brother had set up demonstration stations with new printers, scanners and technology they will be rolling out over the next year.

For those of you looking for an A4 line that’s not oversaturated in your market, Brother is a great option as most dealers don’t sell it. They have a nice line of printers, MFPs and scanners that are very competitive.

I appreciate the invite and the chance to speak to this group. As many in the crowd work on other areas, I wasn’t sure how well my session would be received, but it went great and even though I went over in time (again!) and was the last person up before lunch, people hung in there and seemed to enjoy it!


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