Football season is finally upon us, and whether you enjoy the NFL or parking on the couch each Saturday for a cornucopia of NCAA action (or both), there are several strategic elements of the sport that can be applied to the office dealer business. Let’s look at one in particular.
When a team is struggling in the first half, its chances of pulling out a win in the final two quarters are largely dictated by what adjustments it’s able to make during the intermission. That can be a tall order, especially if a team is deficient in more than one aspect of the game and the score is 28-0. That’s essentially a lost cause. And halftime intermissions are only 15 minutes, hardly enough time to produce a miracle game plan.
However, in a tight contest, the slightest of adjustments can make all the difference: changes in personnel for run blocking, switching from a zone defense to man-to-man coverage, blitzing more (or less)…the list is endless. While the adjustments may ultimately not produce the desired result, the argument here is that if a certain strategy has not worked for the first 30 minutes of the game, hoping that the team will simply execute upon the original game plan better is often (but not always) wishful thinking.
Anticipating the opposition’s strategic changes is no less important; the team on the other side of the field is banking on you taking a different approach. It’s a game of chess involving 350-pound pawns. And as office dealers map out their game plans moving forward, providing a different “look” within your product and service arsenal is essential to winning tough battles with competitors. So, while you’re focusing on blocking and tackling, we offer a selection of viewpoints from our State of the Industry panel on key wrinkles that can increase your winning percentage.
Whether it’s garnering net-new clients or going wider/deeper within existing accounts, Atlantic Tomorrow’s Office is emphasizing technologies that do not have the propensity to be vulnerable to supply chain issues—most notably, managed print, managed IT and document management, among others. President Larry Weiss notes products and services such as XM Fax and unified communications (UCaaS) also fall under this umbrella, and he’s also evaluating nontraditional offerings such as charging stations from ACDI.
Earlier this year, Atlantic Tomorrow’s Office implemented TBRs, which are account reviews conducted with C-level executives. These, in tandem with virtual tours—the brainchild of General Manager Adam Weiss, have increased success within existing accounts sevenfold.
“This is very big in how to sell large accounts; you have to be selling C level,” Larry Weiss noted. “We discuss everything that we, as a company, provide that a given customer does not currently have. We don’t have discussions about existing services or products that we offer.”
Dealers such as Nauticon Office Solutions of Gaithersburg, Maryland, are constantly seeking strategic advantages to enable their clients to accomplish their goals. John-Austin Shepard, vice president of sales, notes his company’s managed services team has done a yeoman’s job in moving upstream to larger clients.
The team is focusing on providing services to create customized workflows within the Microsoft Office suite to automate internal processes including HR onboarding and reporting, among other aspects. “One of our core values is process equals results, and we’re going to follow our sales process to yield continued success,” Shepard remarks.
The roadmap toward continued growth and greater success in procuring significant contracts often passes through IT services, and that’s the case for Donnellon McCarthy Enterprises of Cincinnati. Rich Brandenburg, senior vice president of sales, points out his dealership is constantly evaluating new products and partners in the IT space.
It goes without saying that the path to IT proficiency can be a long and costly one. Thus, it’s not surprising that many dealers—confronted with the option of building, partnering with third parties or acquiring—have settled on the third option to more quickly forge a point of differentiation.
“We acquired an IT company in San Diego, and they have been critical in helping spearhead our evolution in IT,” Brandenburg said.
As she looks toward the tools and services that can enable Repeat Business Systems (RBS) to widen its value proposition for prospects and clients in the future, company President Dawn Abbuhl sees a common denominator in security, whether it applies to copying/printing or IT. She notes that vulnerability scans with copiers have helped identify open browsers or ports that can provide a gateway for entry into customer networks.
RBS is developing a vulnerability assessment solution specific to printers and copiers, which Abbuhl believes can further enhance its relationship with clients. “It’s also a great way to develop new business,” she said. “If we can do these assessments and identify customer issues, we can provide support. That builds both relationships and credibility.”