Matrix to now sell through channel

After 30+ years of direct sales, access maker opens up
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Thursday, July 8, 2010

MIAMISBURG, Ohio—For 31 years, access control manufacturer Matrix Systems has been selling directly to the end user, “which made us oil and water with the dealer marketplace,” said Jim Russell, VP of sales at Matrix. Now, however, with a new product offering based on Mercury panels and HID protocol, the company is actively looking for dealers and thinks it has a combination of product and service offerings that will be very attractive for integrators looking to grow with access control.

“We’re being very honest,” said Russell. “We have these legacy customers, and we service them with our legacy product, and we’re not putting that out there for dealer distribution. But these new products are for dealer distribution.” The company will keep those legacy contacts—which included the likes of Miami International Airport, Texas A&M, and Kodak—but “now everything else is fair game.”

It’s even possible, he said, as dealer relations develop, that some of those legacy customers might be transitioned to dealer partners. “We’re transitioning from a method we’ve always used to a new method, and that transition won’t happen overnight,” Russell said. “Does that sound like a conflicting message? Yes. But this is how we’re doing it.”

So, why should dealers be interested in Matrix, considering the wide variety of access control manufacturers that are already serving the dealer community?

“We get a lot of grapevine information,” said James Young, Matrix president, “that dealers are frustrated with some of their vendors.” Matrix, he said, will focus on dealer support, offering design services, for example, and treating dealers with the same attention to detail the company has used in supporting its end user clients over the past 30 years. “We’ve done this longer than our competitors,” Young said, “and now we’re willing to do it for you. And give you all the service and support that an end user would need, and treat you just like a customer and grow the relationship that way.”

Young also said Matrix would likely be able to deliver customers that approach the company in search of a solution to an access control problem other companies just can’t fix. “We’ve got a new opportunity right now,” he said, “a very large municipal customer that found Matrix just by googling—which shows you how desperate they are. They’ve got three local VARs supporting them on their legacy system, and even though it’s one of the big names, they are absolutely so fed up with the lack of service and support and willingness to work with them, that they literally let their agreements expire and called us up.”

“The dealers are not being taken care of,” echoed Russell. “They’re starving for someone who has an interest in them, other than, ‘Meet these quotas and, by the way, we won’t train or support you.’ We’re going to provide added services, we’re putting people in your district and they’ll be lead producers for you. The regional sales managers will be an extension of you. We’re not going to flood the market with dealers. We’ll be careful with whom we choose and we just want to support the heck out of them.”

Matrix is currently near 100 employees, and has just built a new headquarters here that consolidates manufacturing and sales operations under one roof. Russell said the company began signing up dealers as of July 6, and is focusing initially on the Mid-Atlantic states, the greater Chicago area, and the pipeline from New Jersey up through Boston and New England.