Thursday, June 25, 2015

Part 4 of 4: Business Compensation Models Move from Selling Boxes to Building a Consulting Relationship

This series makes a case for MFP and other office product dealers to reevaluate how content management offerings can play into their business model and increase their overall profitability. The first step in this is identifying the differences in the technology landscape, as well as the usage of these devices in the modern work environment. These differences can be boiled down into:

1.    Ergonomics and mechanics of sharing a centralized machine (bottleneck issues)

2.    Technical limitations – compression, image issues, network traffic, and automated extraction

3.    Business compensation models don't allow for consultative sales, both in refining skill sets and in practice  

For our final consideration, there is the slower to change, but still imperative need that speaks to the business models of the copier/ office supply industry.

Salesmen are typically compensated based on boxes moved, as opposed to quality of sale, and being viewed as a partner in the organization. The initial work toward partnership with a customer necessarily takes a bit longer, but will result in a tighter marriage between you and your clients. This involves understanding that there are business reasons for the use of the MFP machines, and that you can drive a more effective and comprehensive sale by taking the time to understand the business requirements and propose a more complete, soup-to-nuts solution.

While focusing on speeds and feeds as a feature of the unit you are proposing, the customer will respond better to the benefits that the solution provides. Unfortunately, this will mean that, for sales managers, they need to understand that there may be a longer ramp up process to facilitate more effective partnerships. Base salaries and training on these types of consultative sales make it a hard proposition for anyone.

That said, I propose two options for these dealers: 1) Create a template that allows for rapid adoption of the sale of the box to address " as is" needs, and 2) Propose a timeline of roll out and rolling back the use of the MFP as a printer, and positioning it more as a scanner once they are ready to adopt that methodology. Then, have a team of experts with information handling experience to do a brief study as a part of that initial sale as the customer’s content management needs grow.

Consultants, like the ones at Deau Document Scanning Solutions are available to "white box" their services, and make functionality recommendations that are product agnostic. This mitigates their risk of moving forward, and positions you for a career long relationship with the customer, all because you took a little more time on the front end.

The ultimate goal of any customer based business should be providing products and services that successfully fill a customer’s needs.  As document management technology has evolved, MFP and other office product dealers now have the greatest opportunity to adapt their business compensation models to be perceived as consultants, rather than just sales reps, and build long-term relationships with their customers by filling their evolving needs beyond the individual sale. 

1 comment:

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