We're back as an information portal about water supply, treatment, and distribution.
We're not going to try to be a classic list of links to articles, although we will be providing links to what we think is significant. We're going to exercise our own version of editorial license.
The industry has changed enormously, and frequently, within the past 40 years. Most of it has not been for the better, and has, for the most part, made it a very difficult industry, within which to survive. Producing a quality product, with enhancements over previous products, techniques, or engineering, ceased when engineering firms began to align themselves with manufacturers on an exclusive basis.
Previously, it could be assumed, although minimally, that engineering firms would review available products, and through a professional assessment of both quality, and price, the most effective product, or service would be chosen. That has, of course, with the very infrequent exceptions, disappeared.
Even before this loss of professional assessment, the process was remarkably unpleasant. The cost of sales was enormous, and the potential results of sales activity was very difficult to assess. You would put a sales person in the field, they would attempt to tap in to the information about upcoming projects, find the engineering firm chosen to perform the design, and then that sales person would try to get into the offices of that firm. They would, if lucky, then present their products and services. The wait for their decision was long, and typically without the option to attempt to maximize your ability to get to the top of the list, or best case, get chosen. You were, literally, in the "Ask Permission" business.
Those who have known me, throughout my career in the industry, know I refused to waste time, money, and business survivability, in the unproductive manner I described above. You will note here, within my articles, that I seldom refrain from voicing my distaste for engineering firms. It might be worse for the young people going into the field.
If I found that a project had a small engineering firm involved, I might change my mind, and invest in the sales time, and money to work with them. It is often that this small engineering firm is headed by a once young person that left a big firm to hang out their own shingle, and get back to actual innovative design.
So what does one do if within this industry now?
If you're the CEO, the Sales Manager, within the management of the firm, or a sales person of a firm in the industrial water treatment industry you have likely made a sales call on an engineering firm.
You've likely had extremely unpleasant, and often ridiculous experiences.
If your firm turned in other directions to get your name, product, or service out there, you may have done the exhibitors hall method. Sales people often enjoy these sessions, because it gets them out of the office, and if they are of the nature to enjoy a place like Las Vegas, where a high percentage of industry conferences, and conventions take place, they get to play.
If you have sales people express their enthusiasm for Las Vegas conventions, I suggest you consider firing them. If they like the city, and its activities, they are far too willing to waste your money, their time, as well as your's, and they should have a natural aversion to anything as useless to quality sales efforts. A four to five day session in sin city is precisely that.
After all that information, how can this site be useful to you?
If your Marketing Manager seeks opportunities to get an exhibitor's booth, during a conference, or convention in Las Vegas, you're already in trouble.
If they go there, and do something as pathetic as give away memory sticks, or SD Cards to people who fill out lead cards, you should fire that person.
Why? How about a real world example?
Often times, a Marketing Manager will assess your sales people's efforts on closing sales, after having hatched some marketing plan, from the leads he/she created during an industry conference, or convention.
Your sales people are often required to chase sales appointments, created by the leads derived from that plan. In this case, sales people were required to chase sales appointments, with engineering geeks, who ran over to your booth, after hearing that they had a one in ten chance to get a free memory stick, or a free SD Card. The sales leads cards are placed within a bowl, and after a designated period of time, one of the cards is pulled from the bowl, and that lucky geek gets n SD Card, or in years past, before SD cards became less expensive, a memory stick of some small memory size was the prize. Yes, David O, I am referring to you.
The people responding to the offer of the prize didn't have the authority to say yes to their own bathroom breaks. How many man hours, and dollars were wasted with that stunt? How many leads were pursued with people who filled out a lead card, for a one in ten chance for a free SD Card? How many new young sales people chased that stunt, before one of your older experienced sales people took a chance of losing their job, for speaking out? Pathetic isn't even pathetic enough of a description.
That is why this website, webportal, or even blog, depending on what description is the latest, and most acceptable name for us, will continue to criticize the big engineering firms. It is also why I am going to do a bit of sales work right now:
This site offers an inexpensive alternative. People who come to this site are, first, and foremost, here to read about water supply, and water treatment. They are not engineering firm employees hoping they can make it to their next caffeine break, nor are they the kind of lead that gets excited over a one in ten chance of winning an SD card, after filing out a lead card.
What is another good reason to avoid the shows, and the booths?
One of the most unfortunate aspects, but also can be one of the most amusing, has been the entry of new large corporation into the water treatment industry.
They all seem to have one thing in common. They think that, since all people need water, that they should be a part of the industry. They also assume that the water treatment industry would maintain large gross profit margins. They get involved in the industry; spend some typically large quantity of money, and then place young inexperienced sales, and marketing people, on their fronts lines.
It doesn't take long, but soon thereafter, they start having meetings about gross margins being too low, and assessing blame about why, and amusingly, about who. It's always the front line sales people loosed from their heads. Some, of course, deserve it, but not as often as the newly hatched Vice President for Membrane Technology, or some other wonderful title.
The original people who made all of the stupid assumptions begin to seek cover, and blame spreads quickly. Heads start to fall, promises begin to be made, and then forgotten.
Their original mistake was the assumption that water was a predominately consumer based industry. There are three facets to the industry, and they are quite distinct, and even antagonistic.
The three are municipal, industrial, and consumer. If you're going to be in this industry you had better understand that, and pick your preferred. There are few sales, and marketing methods that function in more than one.
The length of time between identifying a sales opportunity to close of order are radically different.
If you put a sales person into the industrial market place, and they give off even the slightest odor of the consumer side of the industry, they will never close the sale. Few, if any, include consumer water treatment products to be part of the real water treatment industry. There is simply far too much bullshit passed off as fact, within consumer products sales, and marketing.
During my nearly forty year career, within the industry, I knew I was in the wrong place if anyone in an executive position spoke a specific phrase. I knew they were ignorant to the industry if they said the words, within any sales, or marketing meeting: "Low hanging fruit". There are no "Low hanging fruit", within this industry. Nor should there be.
The days that existed some forty years ago, before the French conglomerates entered the industry, will likely never return.
So how do we help your business obtain leads, with minimal cost, AND, without being useless to chase? Take advantage of our $600/year solution. WaterSupply.Com is a premiere domain name, and is easy for clients to remember. We put you business name in front of ours, in place of the "www". We give you that name to direct clients to, as we also do from this site, our front page, and our client directory. You don't need a new web designer, because we provide a blind re-direct to your web site, or any page within your site you wish.
We will include consumer products companies, but if one of them is on this site, we offer two things. We checked them out, and we provide continuous referral updates, from all of them.
We're going to exercise some editorial license about what has happened, and what impact it has had on all of us.
We are also seeking writers, account managers and regional managers. If you have an article related to water supply, water quality or events that impact water supply, please use the email button below to contact us.
You may also use the email button below to send us general comment, or questions. Thanks, Dave Murray