PROPELLING: BEST PRACTICES FOR DISTRIBUTORS WITH AUDREY PANN OF MICRODRONES
MEET AUDREY PANN
Audrey Pann is the Microdrones sales manager for the southern and western parts of Europe. She started with Microdrones in February of 2017, bringing a wealth of experience from her career in sales and marketing. Prior to Microdrones, Audrey was a sales executive and associate for R&Drone where she oversaw marketing strategy, international development and business management. Now in her role as Microdrones sales manager, she reviews some of the best practices for distributors selling Microdrones products, discusses the benefits of specific models, outlines some of the newest products and showcases a unique case usage where Microdrones assisted a French University with a research project.
“Our relationship with our distributors has evolved since I started with Microdrones. As the technology advances, the Distributors become more aware of their customer’s needs and the applications that must be fulfilled. Therefore, it’s more important than ever to build a strong partnership with our distributors.”
BUILDING PARTNERSHIPS WITH DISTRIBUTORS
As the sales Manager for the southern and western areas of Europe, Audrey helps manage the distribution network throughout the region. The main goal is to educate, train and assist the distributor in helping customers use their systems successfully. Additionally, she makes sure that the distributors can help their customers find the right system from Microdrones to fulfill their needs.
Audrey notes that successful distributors of Microdrones are well versed in the different features, qualities, pricing, and applications that each integrated solution provides. This has been achieved by developing great partnerships with the distributors.
“Our relationship with our distributors has evolved since I started with Microdrones,” explains Audrey. “As the technology advances, the Distributors become more aware of their customer’s needs and the applications that must be fulfilled. Therefore, it’s more important than ever to build a strong partnership with our distributors.”
The most successful relationships and partnerships are forged through great communication with the sales team. This includes onsite visits, tele-conferencing, sales meetings, customer development forums, and training. Cultivating the relationship is the best way to help the distributor acquire all the tools they need to be successful.
Finding the right partners are also key. The best candidates are distributors with an excellent reputation in the geospatial industry who have a passion for winning. “We’re looking for individuals who want to grow the market, remain loyal, and help develop comprehensive support,” says Audrey. “Their philosophy shouldn’t be just about selling equipment and making money. We want the customer to always come first and be treated with honesty and respect. When someone purchases equipment from us they become part of our extended family as lifelong business partners. So, at the end of the day, finding a great distributor isn’t about making a great business transaction. It’s about establishing a true business partnership that will last long into the future.”
Providing relevant training for the dealers is just as important as marketing and advertising. With the right guidance and support, the distributors should feel as though they are part of the Microdrones team. “We have exactly the same goal,” says Audrey. “To provide the best product for the right application for our customers. In that manner, the distributor acts like an extension of Microdrones. This is the result of efficient training.”
The first step in the training process is provided by Audrey and her team. They take the time to understand the priorities of the distributors. This means learning about the market, target, the complete range of product, and especially focus on the data that comes from our solutions. This is often referred to as the needs analysis phase. Before the various Microdrone UAV solutions are discussed, they learn about the challenges, needs and goals. “We address their needs before talking about drones,” explains Audrey. “We want to know what is the problem they are trying to solve? Collecting data can be easy. But collecting high quality, accurate data that creates a customized solution is what sets Microdrones apart from the competition.”
The second step is technical training. This includes software and technical demonstrations as well as flight instruction. In addition, the training needs to be up to date on all provincial flight regulations and industry standards for the job at hand.
NEW INTEGRATED SOLUTIONS
Recently Microdrones expanded the depth of their integrated solutions product line with the launch of three new systems: mdLiDAR3000, mdMapper1000PPK and mdMapper1000+. When new products are launched, Audrey will work closely with her dealers to review the unique benefits of each system and how they can help customers work smarter. For example, the mdLiDAR3000 is the most recent entry into the mdLiDAR series from mdSolutions and it offers the complete package of a high-end RIEGL miniVUX-1UAV LiDAR and a Sony RX1RII all integrated into one system. However, not every organization may need the most advanced mdLiDAR3000, which is why Microdrones continues to offer the smaller laser-based solution in the mdLiDAR1000.
In addition to a new LiDAR system, Microdrones is adding two new systems to their mdMapper offering, ranging from the mdMapper1000DG to the entry level, aerial mapping package in the mdMapper200. Each mdMapper system is specifically designed and outfitted to deliver custom aerial surveying, mapping, and precision agriculture, tailored to the needs of the customer.
The top-line entry, mdMapper1000DG, uses direct georeferencing and customers are able to save time by using fewer or no ground control points for less sidelap and more productivity. Not all customers may need the power of direct georeferencing just yet, but they still need highly accurate and precise data collection. That’s where the mdMapper1000PPK comes in and provides high accuracy with just 1-3 ground control points. It’s ideal for a survey crew looking to save time and complete projects more easily. Furthermore, down the road, if their business is ready to expand to DG, the mdMapper1000PPK is easily and affordably upgradeable via the DG READY firmware update.
“You want to start with professional drones but have limited investments- that’s ok,” says Audrey. “We have entry level solutions for you. We have a better and easier solution. Best of all, you can keep the same platform and Microdrones gives you the possibility to upgrade the system without having to purchase another complex system since we provide affordable firmware upgrades.”
Most of the time Microdrones systems are used for photogrammetry, field measurements, analyzing crops, surveying and construction projects. However, Audrey recalls a special usage special case in France, where a University tracked mole activity. The project was titled “DDRAUN,” a French acronym for “Données, Drone, Risque, Agriculture, Numérique” which means High-Resolution Spatial Data for Agricultural Systems: Measuring and Managing Natural Hazards. The project began its research in the fields of Auvergne, France, where, over the past ten years, an explosive population of moles have been damaging local crops.
The mdLiDAR1000 provided the technology to gather data to track the mole population and quantify their impact by creating a high resolution cartography of the molehills on the ground and measure indices of the Chlorophyllian activity and height of the grass.
Audrey explains “This was a very unique use of the mdLiDAR1000 and shows that Microdrones was able to collect the data necessary and provide a customized solution like no other.
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