As a B2B editor, I have always thought that publications served a critical role in make sure that good information made its way from the cutting and bleeding edge to a wide audience. And that is a very important responsibility that we take seriously at Mission Critical, and indeed throughout BNP Media.

Over my career I have made it a practice to try to meet readers wherever I could to find out what they thought they needed and wanted to know. I have always taken time to try to learn what most users are doing in the field as opposed as to the "best practices" being promulgated by professional organizers, think tanks, publications, and regulators. For example, I read the other day about the continued popularity of T12 fluorescent lamps, long after they have been deemed passe because of energy-efficiency and green issues. In fact, EPACT included a fairly rapid phasing out of these products. Clearly the lighting industry has more work to do.

Manufacturers in every industry play a central role in disseminating information about best practices when they talk about the use of their products. And very often, the people who staff the sales channel are the point people in this effort, so it becomes critical that these people have access to good information. That's why I was happy to accept

Mitsubishi's invitation to see how they go about putting information about its UPS products into the hands of its sales team at their two-day sales meeting in Charlotte, NC. 

My friends at home are jealous because events like this always include an element of fun. At this meeting, we were treated to good seats at an NFL football game, barbecue, and meeting the Carolina Panthers cheerleaders. Yet even during the game I met numerous distributors and others eager to talk about advances in the field, common customer problems, solutions to difficult problems, and needed solutions. 

The day after the game, Mitsubishi dealers filled a conference room to hear technical conversations about issues like thermal runaway in batteries, and then they grilled a speaker for more information about a data center that had been built using their products. Not only did they ask the speaker about the UPS application but also energy efficiency and cooling.

Later in the day, Mitsubishi rolled out its new UPS, the 9900B, and provided ample opportunity for hands on interaction. Again the rooms were filled with people who were eager to learn.

Of course, I am aware that not all vendors take the high road, but I have been lucky enough to attend several sales meetings over the years in various industries. I remain impressed by the conscientious approach that quality manufacturers take when trying to provide information to customers through its sales channels.

Keep reading Mission Critical, of course. But keep in mind that your best source quick, reliable information may well be the sales rep who is knocking on your door.