Canon U.S.A. just completed a five city sales and technical road show and I had the privilege of attending their final event in Atlanta GA June 4 – 5. The road shows occurred over 6 weeks and gave Canon the opportunity to get in front of their dealers’ people.
After a quick meet and greet and some What’s Happenin’ Hat photo ops, we had lunch and then moved into the opening session where Karin Harring laid out the agenda and introduced EVP and GM Sam Yoshida, who welcomed about 150 attendees from mega dealers like Dex, Novatech, RJ Young and a great number of other Canon dealers from across the South East US. The session was packed and I was told that they were actually oversold, having to tell people they couldn’t come after a certain point if they hadn’t already signed up.
Sam spoke briefly, talking about what Canon was hoping to accomplish with the one day five city event. You can see his discussion here.
Following Sam, Karin again took to the stage talking about Canon’s opportunity for growth in areas such as Cloud, Security, Production, Large Format and more. Indeed I one of the sessions I heard dealers talking about with great enthusiasm was the imagePROGRAF discussion they had attended earlier that day.
Next, Workflow Magazine’s Patricia Ames gave listeners an overview on the use of Social Media in their selling process with an interactive presentation that drove home the point that it’s free and you’re crazy not to be using it at some level in your day to day business.
There were two tracks, one technical and the other more sales oriented. Each track had several sessions, ranging from production to solutions like NT-ware and others. I attended the sales side and sat through several presentations.
Some of the breakouts turned out to be more like brainstorming sessions where people in different groups worked to overcome objections and find solutions to meet specific hypothetical customer requirements.
Topics covered in these sessions included Cloud, Security, Production Print, Print Management and some upcoming news I can’t share quite yet.
Once the day’s breakouts were completed, attendees were treated to a happy hour and dinner before many finished the evening at the hotel bar. The next day started with breakfast and followed the same format with four sessions for the sales track and more for the technical track going on until lunch when the event officially finished.
Canon brought out the big guns with other notable senior Canon executives in attendance, including Hiro Imamura, who is credited with the decision to do the road show, Nancy Langdale and others. Canon and partners like NT-ware had a lot of people at this event, ensuring dealers spent a lot of time with Canon personnel.
The whole concept of these road shows is pretty savvy. Most of the dealers in that room were dual line and have alternative brands to sell. There are several issues with the larger dealer conferences. While they’re great for creating an impression and making a splash with the owners and senior management, the message doesn’t always trickle down to the feet on the street.
Road shows like this do just that. They expose the sales force to Canon’s messaging. They get to shake hands, have cocktails and even play some UNO with some of the most senior people at Canon USA and they get to spend a day or so learning about how great the Canon solution is for the customer. When those reps get back to their offices, do you think that kind of experience might in some way, at some level impact which products they sell? I bet it does.
It was a very quick visit to Atlanta and I greatly appreciate Canon inviting me. They did a very nice job and strengthened relationships with not just the C level people at their dealers, but with the people out there selling it.