ReSource Group Canada

Setting the course

ReSource Group Canada is a stand-alone company, offering progressive sales and marketing services to the consumer electronics industry. Founder Claus Lenk, who started the enterprise in 1994, says that ReSource Group may be the only company that does what it does on a national basis. With a reputation is built on solid experience, business acumen and a flair for strategy, it is no wonder the company represents top tier brands like Energizer, Fuji and VIZIO.

Priding itself on the support and service offered to its Canadian retail partners, ReSource Canada has grown over the years, and currently employs 18 sales representatives across the country, with a total of 23 people in the company.

Developing a high-functioning structure

According to the company, “the success of ReSource Group Canada is driven by our Toronto-based management team… each product line has a dedicated sales manager who is responsible for sales, support and training.”

National sales team members work closely with key retailers across the country to ensure sales growth and profitability. There are some companies who have similar business models to that of ReSource, but as Lenk says, “most of these guys are just one or two working out of their homes on mostly tertiary product lines.”

“We’re the only company in this business with an infrastructure and a management structure, and proper showrooms and offices.”

When Lenk first started the company, it was the early 1990s and there was a recession. At the time, he says that many companies were going to a U.S. model in their sales activities—so Lenk took advantage of this push towards having an outside sales force, and developed relationships with Canadian manufacturers, forming his own company. “Initially,” he says, “I only did this on a provincial level in Ontario, but then I branched out on a national level,” and here the company is today.

“What sets us apart is over the years we’ve developed a reputation of service and integrity,” Lenk continues. “Our mission and vision statements—those are real to us. We don’t lose accounts. The manufacturers we represent have to accept that they have to match our service mission and vision. Manufacturers in the U.S. operate on a different DNA than the Canadian retail business. So we make sure we present to the U.S. manufacturer that the Canadian consumer is different, and the retail market is different, offering customized programs to the Canadian marketplace.”

Everything that ReSource Canada does is for the customer. However, this high-functioning strategy could not be achieved, according to Lenk and his son Jeremy, without the people who make up the company.

It’s all about the culture

The two explain that in the business they’ve taken on, it’s important for staff to share the vision, and have an innovative streak. “Everyone in this organization has an entrepreneurial spirit. One of the challenges in an organization like ours is that we’re small, so we need entrepreneurship and a great team atmosphere—we foster that with all our sales guys across Canada. We share best practices, among other things, to enhance that vision.”
The company holds national sales meetings, when every sales representative flies to meet each other in a selected location, so that the company can share news, report on success and challenges, and so that the management team can “engage with them,” says Lenk. “We want our people to learn and grow.”

Jeremy emphasizes his father’s point. “We’re in the consumer electronics industry which changes very rapidly.” Things change, in technology, as they do in business. So staying on top of things, from sales rep to sales rep, is critical.

“Last year was our fifteenth year in operations. When we started this business, every product we sell today didn’t even exist. There were no DVDs, no flat-panel TVs, no digital cameras. We had to look at how this business is going to change, and have a strategy until 2010. We had to imagine what the customers and the retail industry would look like,” Jeremy explains.

Setting the course…

The company now has three main goals, as they face the challenges of the ever-changing industry. ReSource plans to encourage growth, grow current and develop new business relationships, whether through new channels or new vendor partners. The company recently developed their vision for 2020 with the help of Western Management Consultants, who are experts in strategy consulting. In addition, they are staying true to their entrepreneurial roots, and are staying at the top of their game by formally implementing a corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy—a new must in Canadian industry. Jeremy says “It’s important to us, our customers, and our partners, to ensure corporate structure functions that we need, to make sure that we keep pace.”

Despite the changing face of the Canadian technology industry, with advancing electronics and the retail sector itself, ReSource Group Canada will surely be there for many years to come.