Mover & Shaker Finalist: Gerald J. Demirjian

In the business-to-business world, being a leading supplier is about more than just selling a good product. It’s about solving problems and creating opportunities for your clients.

That’s true in all economic conditions, but it becomes especially evident during a recession, when companies are in particular need of both solutions and opportunity.

Gerald Demirjian knows this well. In fact, one might say his success has been built on it. As the sales and marketing leader for marine battery charger and galvanic isolation system producer ProMariner, he has spent the past 10 years building and maintaining strategic business partnerships with boat builders, marine distributors and retailers. As a result, the award-winning manufacturer now has a presence in nearly every corner of the boating universe and in 2011 is outperforming the industry with strong sales results.

ProMariner has been named a preferred supplier to Brunswick Boat Group and the three major boatbuilder buying groups, ABA, IBBI and UMMA. In addition, the company supplies numerous wholesale distributors and most major marine retailers, including Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s, Gander Mountain, Overton’s, Mills Fleet Farm and West Marine.

By putting these partnerships in place prior to the downturn, Demirjian positioned ProMariner and its clients to react proactively to the tough business climate.

“… we were visibly seen as part of the solution in solving mutual inventory, cash flow and profitability challenges while collectively working to maximize sales revenue at the time seen throughout the industry as being the most challenging,” Demirjian explains.

Another key part of this executive’s strategy for success is product development. In a stagnant market, Demirjian invested in efforts to increase product excitement, partnership value and market share. In fact, the company introduced seven new product lines between 2008 and 2010, is releasing three new product lines in 2011 and has already begun designing a full docket of new products for 2012. This was achieved while cutting overhead by 35 percent.

The investment has paid off not only in the company’s receipt of the 2010 IBEX Innovation Award, the 2011 Pittman Award for Product Innovation and the 2011 NMDA Supplier of the Year Award, but also in its sales results.

“It was this strategy that yielded growth in our aftermarket sales channels of distribution and retail, and the process of sales recovery in our OEM sales channels after the downturn in our industry,” says Demirjian.

As the boat builders have adjusted and recovered, ProMariner has experienced matching growth, plus some additional growth from the sales of new products like Zero Volt Battery Isolators and Combination Charger / Inverters to those customers. Meanwhile, sales have increased in the company’s aftermarket business through both wholesale distribution and retail.

Before the downturn, ProMariner had a record of increasing company sales to three times its number in the prior 10 years. Demirjian admits that the recession interrupted this growth, but as 2011 winds down – a year which has proven disappointing for most of the industry — thanks to the leadership of Demirjian and his team (and don’t forget our clients, reminds Demirjian), ProMariner is already back on track.

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