Annual sales meeting goes high-tech
A dizzying array of products and technology was on display last week when Western Associates had its top 20 independent salespeople from around the country in Marion for an annual look at what’s new in the world of promotional marketing.
“It’s our national headquarters, so we’re going to bring them to our home office,” CEO Dave Crofoot said.
Meeting at Marion Community Center, vendors showed their latest products and demonstrated advances in e-marketing strategies using smartphones, tablets, and customized websites.
“It really helps us stay in contact with the customers,” Crofoot said. “The younger generation is more techno savvy.”
Many of those in the home office knew what vendors planned to reveal six months to a year before they arrived, Crofoot said.
“We know about a lot of this stuff way ahead of time because we’re one of the largest distributors in the United States,” he said. “We knew about a lot of this technology coming down the pike a year ago. Before the salesmen even know, we know what’s going to be introduced.”
Vendors and attendees appreciated the community center’s new telecommunications center, Crofoot said.
“Downstairs is really nice,” he said. “The room is a positive plus for the community and the county. These economic development people ought to tout this.”
Clothing distributor representative Dustin Babitzke said that the scope of Western Associates’ business and the atmosphere it creates among staff and salespeople made the annual meeting a favorite destination.
“What’s different about coming here is that this is such a family-oriented business,” he said. “I like going over to their shop and just seeing all the awards. All I do is clothing. They have so many cool things like portable speakers and cups and pens. It’s so fascinating. There’s so much stuff there.”
Diverse product lines create a steep learning curve for people attending the three-day event, Babitzke said.
“These guys do everything, so they have to kind of know everything, be upbeat about it, and figure it all out and understand it,” he said.