Before Re-Sauce Part 9 – Peerless & Global
By Gordon Dutch
Having by now secured the UK CE and Pro-AV business, re-branded as Peerless-AV, with a shiny new multi-lingual website, updated all our packaging etc. We now had everything all in place to launch a sales assault on Europe and the EMEA.
We decided to focus our energies on Germany and France to start with, as we felt they had the most potential from the data we had bought. We heavily invested in high quality translation for marketing collateral and website.
As Export was a new division for BBG/Peerless, I again hit the road personally, this time in Germany. Having established some initial contacts out there in some good quality distributors, it was clear that we were going to need some ‘boots on the ground’. In my opinion, you can’t underestimate the importance of quality local sales representatives, they are invaluable, but not cheap to run.
Not only do you often need to set up local payroll and cover off local employment legislation, but you also need to help support these ‘lone rangers’ out there fighting for sales. By that I don’t just mean sending out some local language literature and the odd ‘quality’ branded pen or USB, I mean with time, effort and appreciation. So on top of flying backwards and forwards to Chicago every other month at one stage, I then found myself travelling extensively all over Europe and especially in Germany. This gave me a much better idea of the challenges that our remote workers faced and ultimately lead to some major changes in the way we helped support those people.
Anyone who knows the Pro-AV market will know that the relevance of CES & IFA is almost non-existent to that sector. So the likes of ISE, DSE, Infocomm and many other major Pro shows got added to the increasing list of Peerless-AV shows and conferences we attended. This was not only very time consuming for everyone being away for weeks at a time, but expensive to invest in a booth, flights, hotels, entertaining and everything that goes with a major show. Add that to all the local shows in UK, Germany and then all over Europe, and you end up with a show almost every week somewhere in the world, especially when you have the size and applications that the Peerless-AV ranges have.
It was around this time, we started to really step up the communication between the US HQ and Europe. In the US, Peerless had an amazing and massive list of OEM and sales partners who, just like Peerless, were starting to think globally. To that end we needed to ensure that our Biz Dev teams were engaged, otherwise we would not be able to deliver global contracts and cover.
Having spent a lot of time in the US by now, I worked closely with Nick Belcore, Peerless VP of US sales at that time (Now Exec VP Global sales & Marketing) and Brian McClimans (MD of US Sales). Nick is an amazing individual and we built up a fantastic personal and working relationship. As indeed I did with many of our US team, including John Potts, Global President of Peerless-AV.
Brian was also an excellent font of knowledge and fun to be with. Brian and his team seemed to know everyone and everything about their own US market and as Brian had also done some export work for Peerless pre-BBG, he was invaluable to this project.
After this we opened an office and warehouse in Dubai to cater to the Middle East and other local offices and warehouses across Europe. It was a lot of hard work from an awful lot of people and to all those involved I am truly grateful. This was a massive team effort and there are so many people to thank for this, some who I have already mentioned, but specifically the wonderful Melinda von Horvath (who was so cruelly taken from us way too early in 2020) did an excellent job in taking forward all that hard work and potential from the export sales teams.
I have to also say that there were a few other superstars, and these included my PA Sarah Cox, who basically arranged everything in my life for over 20 years. The fabulous Cha Cha, who is just the most dedicated salesperson ever and was quiet rightly recognised and rewarded for that in 2020, with the AV News Salesperson of the Year Award. The awesome Beky Cann, best PR in the Industry other than yours truly 😊 Paul Dawes and all the marketing team at BBG/Peerless, including Jim Edwards who was personally responsible for so many things before he moved on to Kensington, including drawing up the new Peerless-AV logo. The wonderful Emily Fox, now part of “Team Re-Sauce”. Other people like Craig Slough, who started with us as a junior IT assistant and is now Director of Operations for all EMEA. Adam Fleming and all the MIS team at Peerless-AV, the backroom, finance and of course all those sales superstars working remotely all over the EMEA and the wider Peerless teams in US and globally. Many of these people now report into my brother Keith who was also a major contributor to our success. Keith is now MD for EMEA and charged with taking Peerless-AV onto the next level in Europe.
Whilst I am no longer involved at Peerless-AV on any level, I am confident that the work we all put in over the past 12 years not only paid off at the time, but will continue to do in the future. Indeed, one of my proudest personal business moments was hearing that within just 11 short years since launch, Peerless-AV were awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise for International Trade 2020. Only around 7000 UK businesses have been awarded this since 1965 and it normally involves a trip to Buckingham Palace, which unfortunately is currently curtailed by COVID.
As previously stated, without the right people and a great team, it doesn’t matter how good your product offering is. People make businesses and I would like to feel that in my time at BBG & Peerless-AV, everyone felt appreciated, supported and enjoyed their personal journeys. If they did, or mostly did, then I would like to feel I/we did a pretty decent job 😊 And finally, last but certainly not least… Thank you to my wife Toni and my family, who have always fully supported me over the past 30 years, despite all the time away working.
So this takes us to the end of my own personal blogs and indeed back to the start of our business blogs, the start of our Re-Sauce journey. It has been an absolutely pleasure working with Ian and Lee, we have known each other such a long time that we all know each others strength’s and weaknesses. Stuart Coe has been a phenomenal addition to our team and is a top all round bloke as well. This is the 3rd business I have personally started in the last 3 major recessions and it is already strongly establishing itself as a leader in business and sales consultancy.
I hope you have enjoyed these blogs and if you need any help with your business sales strategy, marketing, Press PR or even team development and executive search, then I hope now at least now you know we are very well qualified to assist. Just ping us at firstname.lastname@example.org
The final picture shown here is of a London bus we hired in 2010 to transport around 70-100 UK customers and staff all over Chicago and to see the main Peerless-AV manufacturing plant.
Here’s what our Industry Colleagues say about us...
Peerless-AV would like to pay tribute to the incredible work Gordon and his team have done since 2009. It’s sales and brand awareness since we launched Peerless-AV EMEA in 2009 has been massive. Gordon’s strategic leadership and incredible work ethic, along with the dynamic leadership of a best-in-class team, which he assembled, has led Peerless-AV to the forefront of the AV businesses.
Global President & CEO of Peerless-AV