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September Issue Feature: The Support Team - AAMP Global

Editor's Note: This month we kick off a new series called The Support Team to take a closer look at how manufacturers are handling support functions across the board whether it’s customer support, tech support, rep support—it all needs to come together to keep wheels turning. Read on for our first installment featuring AAMP.

9-13-2017, Mobile Electronics -- Taking care of folks, whether it’s dealers or consumers, requires some hand holding, a touch of tough love, and a sense of humor. Just take a look at AAMP’s support page on their website which reads: “WE'RE HERE FOR YOU. Drop us a line, give us a call, or send your carrier pigeon if that's how you roll.”

AAMP has taken an aggressive but innovative approach to support with its Team Phantom initiative. In the middle of its two-year rollout, the program sets a new standard in retail support in the 12-volt industry. The core of Team Phantom revolves around in-field experts who provide solution consultations and leading edge customer service, sales support, and product training for AAMP’s network of retail partners.

“We are the first line of defense for AAMP to the dealer and we’re also the marketing voice at consumer-based shows,” said Mike Eckley, Team Phantom sales manager and Mobile Electronics Sales Rep of the Year. “We are a multi-hat function—we’re technical support, sales support, and marketing support. We go in and help dealers merchandise their stores. We solidify sales business with our inside salesperson. We essentially are the eyes and ears of AAMP that are constantly moving out on the street.”

The Phantom team is now in six regions with the larger rollout to encompass a team of 40 for the full-blown Phantom Nation. Outfitted in high-impact, experiential AAMP-branded showcase vehicles, 2014 to 2017 Chevy 1500s, these special vehicles allow AAMP’s partners to fully immerse themselves in AAMP Power Brands solutions and preview new products pre-launch.

“Right now we are right in the middle of the full launch so we are still about a year-and-a-half out,” Eckley said, who handles the Florida region. “In the Northwestern territory—the Seattle market—there is Mike Hall. In the Dallas, Texas area we have Kevin Allen. Rick Ross is in the Bible Belt region—Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, and some of Mississippi. Jason Denton is in the northern to mid-eastern area covering Pennsylvania, part of New York, and New Jersey. Our latest member is Steve Rogers who handles the Chicago/Dakota market.”

Team Phantom doesn’t replace the standard procedures already in place. For instance, there is still the 800-number (hit option 2) and it puts someone through to technical support. For marketing questions, dealers can send an e-mail request through a generator on the website.

“Those things haven’t gone away just because we now have Phantoms,” Eckley said. “We just have a faster response time in that aspect, but we are still regionally based and the team is still in its infancy.”

Step Inside And Be Surprised

When CEO David Klatt, Jr. took the helm of AAMP over two years, he brought with him some ideas to jumpstart the sales programs. While at Black & Decker and DeWalt Tools, Klatt was part of the senior sales leadership involved with “swarm teams” that would go out to store openings, regional events, and construction sites to host demos to build awareness for the brands and the products.

“When Klatt became the CEO of AAMP, it was easy for him to implement this swarm idea because he already knew the success it would have,” said Eckley. “He knew we needed guys on the street; we needed guys out there that would bleed AAMP.”

Next it was a matter of getting the trucks and loading them with all of the products and dealer support materials. Inside is everything from Phoenix Gold speakers and amplifiers to Stinger wiring and accessories to Stinger batteries to Stinger RoadKill products, along with PAC automotive integration pieces, and EchoMaster safety products.

“We’ve got product outfitted in the vehicles so someone can walk in, see what is new, check it out, try it, and then we can go to the back and install it,” said Eckley. “That is what the Phantom team does. We take every aspect of the business from AAMP and put it in the hands of the retailer when we are right there. It is much like being a rep, but we are a concentrated rep. We are only focused on AAMP-branded products.”

The success to date isn’t just due to loading up the trucks with the right product. It’s also about Team Phantom’s long-tenured and knowledgeable sales staff. “We have all been in the industry a very long time and we all have strengths that make us better than any one person on the team,” Eckley said. “Each of us has 15 to 20 years of experience in this industry. We’re not a marketing team being managed by an outside firm. We are car audio enthusiasts who had shops, were reps, worked for other manufacturers—so the team is put together from that aspect.”

Read the rest of the story HERE.

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