In the Hot Seat: Tuning in to new market opportunities

In the Hot Seat: Tuning in to new market opportunities

Adam Georgiu is a channel veteran, having worked for a mobile phone reseller and major distributor before taking his current role with leading accessory vendor, Belkin. He talks to ARN about company growth, plans for 2006 and playing guitar in a 1980s cover band.

What brought you to Belkin?

Adam Georgiu (AG): I was working at Tech Pacific in its telco division as a regional sales manager. Our sales director, who was working with me on the Coles Myer account, went to Belkin early in 2002. She brought me across later that year to start up a channel. Coming from a distribution background was a major asset for me.

Prior to Tech Pacific, I spent a few years working for Telechoice, a mobile phone reseller.

Academically, I have a marketing degree with a focus on organisational structure and design. I have a real passion for the way things work in the corporate world.

How is your channel structured?

AG: When Belkin first came to Australia it purchased a company called Micro Digital, which was owned and run by our managing director, Michael Bell. Micro Digital had affiliations with the retail channel - Harvey Norman, Coles Myer, Dick Smith - so the focus at the outset was retail. That has changed in recent years.

When I came to the company, the major goal was to create relationships with our distributors outside of retail. So the decision was made to build the channel and get closer to Ingram Micro, Cellnet and Express Online. We also have sub-distribution with HiTech Distribution in South Australia and Universal Enterprise in Queensland.

In the beginning it was a case of: "How thin can you spread yourself?" We now have a team of five people, which gives us geographic spread. I have a channel business development manager in every region of Australia and we have just brought our OEM and supplementary business products under the channel as well.

Does your channel differ from the competition?

I guess one of the differentiators is that we hold stock for our direct channel, which means we can provide our distributors with local stock in Australian dollars. If Ingram Micro had an order come in tomorrow, we could get it to them in 48 hours. A lot of our competitors would order in US dollars and have to place forecasts for the stock.

Our warehouse is busting at the seams on the central coast of NSW and we're building a new facility further down the highway at Tuggerah. This will give us five times the capacity we currently have.

What's the greatest challenge in your role?

AG: To keep our ever-growing customer base informed. We have an email service called the Belkin Insider which lets customers see products and the latest promotions independent of distributors. For example, if a reseller wanted to sell iPod accessories, the Belkin Insider would show them the top products they could order.

What are your specific 2006 goals?

AG: Better communications with resellers. Our base is growing and we want to maintain an intensity of communication while driving value for them. Resellers also want to drive their perception in the market place and we have products that are manufactured by a good brand with high margins.

Are you looking for more resellers?

AG: Yes. One of our major challenges is to keep revaluating our market segmentation strategy. We look at what products we're bringing to market and assess the synergies with resellers. We'd like to re-evaluate our reseller partners to provide more support and value to those who are supporting us.

What changes have you seen at Belkin?

AG: When I joined, there were 45 staff but now we have more than 100. Our growth across the company as a whole is tracking at about 40-per cent and, while it is very hard to maintain that, we are going to try as much as we can. The channel business has grown tremendously, maintaining triple-figure growth for the past three years. We have some exciting product categories coming to market that will open up new markets for us.

What do you like best about your role?

AG: The people I work with. We have fantastic relationships with our partners and are forever building stronger relationships with our resellers. We are a privately owned company and the motto is that the best idea wins. All employees have the ability to add value to the company - it doesn't matter whether it comes from the MD or the guy driving the forklift. We all have a chance to contribute.

What would you be doing if you weren't in IT?

AG: When I was young I dreamed of being a footy star but from the age of 11 I was playing guitar in bands. I still am today. It's sort of like an alter ego and a release from this industry. So, yes, I'd be a touring rock musician. I'm currently in a 1980s cover band playing quite regularly in Melbourne. We play all the stuff you'd never admit to liking ... unless you were drunk!

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