By the time you read this blog the final SBB Road Show for 2018 should be well under way. It’s being held at the Renaissance Hotel in Asheville, North Carolina, in conjunction with the BTA Fall Colors event. For those that know me, I live a long way from there. I live on the Canadian side of Lake Erie. I had a 12 hour commute because I decided to drive down.
The pace of change in the office equipment channel is happening faster than ever before. Users are printing fewer pages and customers are looking to digitize and automate as many of their workflows as possible. Some people call this Digital Transformation (DT), and truth be told, what that means is about as clear as the word “solutions,” or mud.
To say that B2B solution sales is an unpredictable profession is a gross understatement. Deals are constantly stalled or derailed by a seemingly endless variety of reasons.
We are living in a technology world and I am a technology…. Boy…. (sorry Madonna, but when the words fit wear them).
One thing I have absolutely loved about being in the Office Equipment Channel for the last 15 years or so is just how innovative the people in this channel can be. When I started out in this channel, MPS (Managed Print Services) was just being born. Today, around 30% of every page printed is under an MPS contract. When our channel wants to change the way people do business nothing can get in our way.
As we move through our sales careers there is usually a strong correlation between the complexity of a sales cycle and our earnings. We might start out as an inside sales representative responding to requests. We may then progress to outside sales with a limited subset of products to sell. If we’re good, we’ll probably end up as a National accounts manager selling more bundled solution offerings. The ugly truth, however, is that like all ascensions, not everybody will make the cut and most people will burn out before they really start enjoying the fruits of a senior sales role.
I’ve worked with a ton of dealers over the years helping them with their managed print programs. One of the cornerstones of any good managed print program is a good remote monitoring and management platform. Compared to other expenses in the business, remote monitoring is extremely inexpensive yet many dealers insist on only monitoring and paying for the devices they are managing. As soon as the assessment is over, they “clean” out the unmanaged devices and only continue to pay to monitor the devices under contract. Here are 5 reasons that decision could be costing you a lot of business:
If you are a small to medium sized business you may be looking for ways to grow by developing a more effective marketing program. You also know that the world is changing and what might have been effective even 5 years ago might not do the trick today. That’s why we’ve written this blog! To help you shorten your cycles and to more effectively build a marketing strategy that won’t break the bank.
|John MacInnes, Print Audit||Sean Halliday, NeoStream / PlacePoint|
Have you ever noticed how some of the greatest discoveries in history were made while trying to do something else? Percy Spencer was experimenting with microwaves for radar arrays when he switched gears and came up with the microwave oven. Wilson Greatbatch came up with the Pacemaker by accidentally choosing the wrong resistor. And a dog invented Velcro when his owner, George de Mestral, noticed burs sticking to his fur. Sometimes what you think your doing doesn’t quite show where you’re going to go.
Unless your business still thinks the Yellow Pages are a great sales and marketing resource, you have likely begun efforts to beef up your marketing efforts with useful and original content. You know that being seen as an authority on subjects is a thing now, no matter what you sell. You also know that Google ranks your website on the amount of original and useful content you are generating. You are aware that your customers are more self-serve than ever and have likely made much of their purchase decision before they ever talk to you. Yeah, I said it: “Self Serve.” Inbound marketing is critical when customers do so much of their research online.