Why the Smartest Electronics Distributors Belong to ERA

What does ERA do for you and your company?

Ask any member of the Electronics Representatives Association (ERA) why his or her company belongs, and the responses will vary as much as the individual companies do. Just as ERA’s roster of professional field sales (rep) firms, manufacturing enterprises and distributors deals with many types of products and customers across all sectors of the electronics industry, the reasons for investing in ERA membership are many and far-ranging. Thank you for taking the time to read just some of the reasons that can yield an outstanding ROI for YOUR business.

Networking and Connectivity

The ERA REP LOCATOR – The most widely used online, searchable source for finding rep candidates is the ERA Locator.

Unlimited Use of LINES AVAILABLE SERVICE – These targeted e-mail blasts are free to manufacturer members. All current Lines Available are also listed on the ERA website.

Education

Continuing education is a primary focus of ERA. Some of the most valuable learning occurs on an informal, rep-to-rep basis among members, but organized activities and easily accessible resources, like the following, are also critical.

NATIONAL ERA CONFERENCE and Other Events for reps and manufacturers offer how-to and informational programs, workshops and networking focused on sales management, marketing and sales/industry trends.

ERA WATER COOLER – An Open Forum During Times of Uncertainty – ERA’s weekly teleconference series provides an open forum to both ERA members and non-members. Participants can join in on the conversation and contribute to different topics by sharing challenges that ALL of us face today.

ERA PODCAST – ERA’s monthly podcast series, ERA Talks, features informative and educational interviews with industry leaders in a quick conversational format.

TELEFORUM LIBRARY for rep and manufacturer personnel focus on sales strategies and relationship-building topics. They are conducted by ERA sales consultant and professional coach Nicki Weiss. One or more veteran reps or manufacturers also co-facilitates each session. Teleforums are conducted every other month (alternating with Webinars), and all registrants receive the audio files for future reference. Since January 2009, ERA has offered 30+ teleforums covering a broad range of topics for both reps and manufacturers in the ERA Teleforum Library, and as an ERA Member you can now access the audio files of these programs.

ERA WEBINAR LIBRARY – interactive seminars that are also offered every other month. They cover a broad range of subjects targeted to rep firm and manufacturer personnel. The member cost per connection is $65, and a single connection can be used by multiple attendees in one location. Audio and PowerPoint files from all ERA Webinars to date are available for purchase at just $20 per program.

CPMR and CSP PROGRAMS are the standards of rep professionalism. ERA members receive tuition discounts on both courses from the Manufacturers’ Representatives Educational Research Foundation (MRERF), which was founded by ERA in 1985 and now includes 30+ associations as sponsors.

The CPMR (Certified Professional Manufacturers’ Representatives) program, for rep firm owners/president/successors, runs one week a year for three years (every January at University of Texas at Austin).

The CSP (Certified Professional Salesperson) program, for rep firm salespeople, is a multi-day class conducted in various cities several times each year.

CHAPTER PROGRAMMING and Activities are members’ local connection to their fellow reps in the same territory. The rep-specific educational and informational programming and events include: how-to seminars; presentations by leading manufacturers and customers; local trade show sponsorship; industry social events; scholarship programs; rep-to-rep exchanges; and outstanding networking opportunities.

THE REPRESENTOR Magazine is a quarterly periodical of 36-48 pages produced for reps and manufacturers. It is sent to all member reps and 3,000 manufacturers at no charge. The content covers: field sales processes; rep firm and sales management; marketing; rep-principal relationships; legal, tax, public relations, sales and technology advice columns; industry news; plus ERA chapter and marketing group news.

The ERA PUBLICATIONS LIBRARY provides many other resources which are downloadable from the ERA Web site, including: a multi-year archive of The Representor magazine; resources describing why and how manufacturers benefit by selling through reps; reprints of industry publication articles; and a cost-of-sales spreadsheet (for manufacturers to compare rep versus direct costs).

Networking

SOCIAL MEDIA – ERA’s LinkedIn Group, Twitter and Facebook social media channels offer members the opportunity to strengthen connections with industry peers in an exclusive professional social media forum.

ERA MANAGEMENT & MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE offers distributors the ability to interact and learn with industry peers, manufacturers and reps.

CHAPTER PROGRAMS AND SPECIAL EVENTS provide distributors with the opportunity to participate in social outings and networking breakfasts/luncheons hosted regularly by a number of ERA chapters.

LOCAL MEETINGS offer distributors the opportunity to meet face to face, make new industry acquaintances and expand their professional network.

INDUSTRY UPDATES provide opportunities to learn more about what is going on in the local marketplace and stay on top of industry happenings.

Management

CONFIDENTIAL MATCHMAKING SERVICE allows members seeking new personnel, alliances and/or buy-sell-merge opportunities to advertise to fellow members via free targeted emails. For details, contact Stephanie Tierney at 815-931-9095 or stierney@era.org.

EXPERT ACCESS is a free service to members offering telephone consultations with ERA professional resources in these fields: Legal; Fiscal and Taxes; Insurance; Rep and Distributor Recruitment and Management; Starts-Ups; Strategic Planning; and Buy/Sell/Merge Opportunities.

MEMBER RATES offer a discount of 20 percent for classified advertising and a display ads package (four ads for the price of three when four consecutive insertions are ordered) in The Representor magazine. For details, contact Stephanie Tierney at 815-931-9095 or stierney@era.org.

Industry Advocacy

Among the many intangible benefits of membership are ERA’s many outreach and collaborative efforts, including as:

A member of the Small Business Legislative Council;
A member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce;
A co-sponsor of the annual Electronics Distribution Show;
A working partner with ECIA, MANA, NEMRA and other rep associations in various industries; and
The founder and supporting member of the Manufacturers’ Representatives Educational Research Foundation (MRERF), sponsor of the Certified Sales Professional (CSP), Certified Professional Manufacturers’ Representative (CPMR) and Manufacturers Best Practice (MBP) programs.

Purchasing

Recognized Resource suppliers provide ERA members with services and discounts tailored to meet the needs of reps, manufacturers and distributors.

They include:

  • UPS shipping services
  • Office Depot and Pennywise Office Products
  • Avis and Hertz Auto Rentals
  • Empowering Systems, RPMS, Eyond MRS Software and Perfection Data
  • Services to assist with rep and distributor recruitment, management and training, strategic planning, employee or prospective employee testing and evaluation, POS and other customized reporting, executive searches and recruitment, start-ups and more.

Want more information on membership? Contact kderkacz@era.org.

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