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FEBRUARY 2019 I PCB007 MAGAZINE 47 and the tariff situation has also made it much more complex. Some companies that are thriving, and oth- ers are struggling. The roles were reversed five years ago. The struggling companies had pre- viously found a way to be successful, but have lost their edge somehow. Maybe it was e-com- merce, which has shifted in its mechanics over the years. In that environment, what's your ad- vice for putting together a sales strategy? McNabb: Absolutely. By the way, that's true in recruiting as well. There has been a mas- sive commoditization of recruiting, and people who approach it from a commodities stand- point are suffering. Meanwhile, people who are truly search consultants and recruit in that way tend to bring radically more value through the consulting process itself, and are doing bet- ter than ever. In any world, the most exciting opportunities happen at the edge of change. The cutting edge is where great things happen; not so much on the bleeding edge. There will be opportunities for PCB companies. They need to pay attention to new technologies that are now using PCBS. My refrigerator now needs to interact with my smart house, for example. Johnson: One-hundred million Echo Dot devic- es have been sold. McNabb: Exactly. Things are changing in really fascinating ways. Technology is going to drive change; it makes some of those manufacturers winners and others losers, which will happen in several ways. It will open up new revenue streams and markets. There will be new prod- ucts that haven't used them before, which will change the demands. Now, we have new chal- lenges in terms of heat management and new approaches and technologies. Some will get that, move with the demands, and win, while others will miss it and lose. Johnson: I'm sitting here wondering about the costs and benefits of committing so many re- sources on my sales team to paying attention to emerging technologies. If I have a sales team, should I be taking a subset of my total time and directing it toward watching the market? McNabb: It should not be a subset; it should be every single member of your team. From this simple standpoint, if you're in sales, the best way to engage anyone is to talk about their fa- vorite person, and that's not you. If I'm calling on an engineer, they're not interested in talk- ing to me about hiring because that's not their passion, but they love discussing new technol- ogies and problems, solutions, and opportuni- ties happening in the marketplace. The best way for your company to stay on the cutting edge is also the best way for your salespeople to engage their customers. Johnson: Let me turn that on edge just a little bit. As a hypothetical fabricator, my business is based on an active customer list probably four digits long of different accounts who order regularly. And from that list, I have a $50-mil- lion a year business. Clearly, I shouldn't ignore those regular customers. McNabb: I understand, and I'm not telling you to ignore them. What I'm saying is you should engage them on a more advanced level. Johnson: So, I should talk to my existing cus- tomers about what they're doing next? McNabb: Yes. If I already know exactly what I want, then you can be replaced with a catalog, and the internet is the world's largest catalog. I'm perfectly happy to pay a premium to you if you save me from buying the wrong thing. That's the only time I'm willing to pay a pre- mium, and the only time I will be loyal to you. Giving me the best price does not create loy- alty, but helping me make the right decision is key. You want people to say, "I'm much smart- er when I talk to Nolan first." If you're only addressing their needs and specifications, then your solution is no better than their ability to articulate their needs and choose their specifications. That puts you in great danger, but the good news is needs never exist in a vacuum; they're always the result of

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