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Sonance Expands Staff, Decentralizes Decision-Making

Sonance is raising its level of field support and pushing decision making to the regional level to respond more quickly to dealer needs, sales and marketing VP Hal Hufford told TWICE.

By Dec. 1, the company will put four regional general managers in place, each based in his own region and each given full profit and loss accountability for the Sonance and Architectural Audio brands.

“We’ll move decision making closer to the customer because each market is different,” he continued.

Each region will also get its own product specialist, doubling the number in the field, Hufford said. The specialists will be based in their own regions and be in place by February to help the company double the number of customer training sessions offered in 2004, the company said.

Back in San Clemente, Sonance will expand its customer support staff so that each region has its own customer-service representative, accelerating response times to dealer requests for products needed for jobs in progress.

“We’ve invested in the back end of the business, and now it’s time to invest in the front end,” Hufford said. “Customers are asking for more field support.”

With that demand in mind, four regional GMs will replace two regional managers, and they’ll be given “full accountability in the field for customer channels,” Hufford said. Their responsibility will include sales, product distribution, customer support, oversight of manufacturer reps and P&Ls. The GMs’ goal is to “be clear with the distribution strategy of each brand,” thus “getting the right products into the right channels,” he continued.

The dealer network for Sonance-brand products, for example, mainly targets more expensive custom homes, but the more modestly priced Architectural Audio series is targeted indirectly to builders of more modestly priced tract homes. Sonance’s traditional dealers will sell Architectural Audio to the builders, but so will nontraditional installers, such as security installers and electricians.

The addition of regional product specialists will enable Sonance to more than double the number of training sessions offered in the field, Hufford said. The company also expects to double the number of training events held at its national offices to 15 or 20 per year, he added.