IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

D&H Investing in Pro AV Growth for Itself and Its Partners

Speaking with ChannelPro at its 2019 West Coast Technology Show, the distributor says it’s aggressively building out an already expansive pro AV product catalog and staffing up to provide outsourced, end-to-end solutions and services. By Rich Freeman

Driving awareness among resellers of the massive opportunity in pro AV solutions is the first step in a long-term effort by distributor D&H to turn what’s currently a small source of revenue into a major new profit center for itself and its partners.

“My three- to five-year plan is pretty aggressive, and I think it’s attainable,” says Peter Hurley, the recently appointed director of D&H’s pro AV business unit. Hurley spoke with ChannelPro at the company’s 2019 West Coast Technology Show, which took place today in City of Industry, Calif.

Fueled by increased availability of IP-based solutions, global spending on pro AV solutions will climb at a 4.3 percent CAGR between 2018 and 2023 to $230 billion, according to trade association AVIXA. At present, however, that substantial and expanding pie is contributing little to D&H’s top line. “The percentage to our business is less than a half a percent,” Hurley says, adding that few D&H partners are making much money on pro AV at present either.

“It’s not even thought of by the majority of our resellers,” he says. “Typically, they have allowed that business to go to somebody else.”

To turn that around, D&H is investing heavily in building out its audio-visual product catalog, especially for digital signage, video walls, and huddle rooms. It’s also staffing up its pro AV business unit. Hurley has a team of dedicated sales reps, engineers, product managers, and marketers under his command, and is hiring more. Their top priority this year will be helping partners understand that even total newcomers to the market can begin collecting pro AV revenue—with D&H’s help—immediately.

“My main goal is to help a reseller understand that they can do this, like right now,” Hurley says. “There’s no need for them to say no.”

D&H will lean on three messages to attract resellers to pro AV generally and D&H specifically as a pro AV partner, beginning with the breadth of its product offerings in core segments like displays panels and projectors as well as complementary markets like mounts and media players.

“We have all the components,” Hurley says, noting that D&H’s pro AV line card includes over 400 vendors. “When I show up at a reseller, I’m enabling them to show up at an end user with a full solution.”

Close working relationships with leading vendors enable D&H to win extra margin for partners on pro AV deals as well, Hurley continues. “If we get those registered with the vendors, they offer discounted costs, because they know that we’re leading with their product,” he says. “That’s where the reseller makes more money.”

Offering customers an end-to-end solution should further boost profits, Hurley adds. “If you sell the whole solution, and the end user sees that, you typically can make a little bit more money, because you’re doing a lot more work for them besides saying ‘can you ship me five projectors or panels today?’”

Indeed, according to Hurley, D&H can take on all of the work entailed in designing, delivering, and managing a pro AV solution, from drafting a design and associated bill of materials, to ordering and implementing the component products, to developing and updating content in the case of digital signage projects.

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