Avoiding Common Pitfalls Crucial to Selling ECM, Document Capture and Software Solutions

DocStar’s ECM Automation solution.

When it comes to the success of offering ECM, document capture and other software-based solutions, dealers often slip up during the vetting and delivery processes. Thorough communication with the customer is a good start toward skirting potential hazards but is by no means a panacea for all challenges.

We’ve asked our team of manufacturing experts to address the primary tripping points and common mistakes that hamper dealers in their quest to deliver ECM, document capture and software solutions. The panel consists of Wouter Koelewijn, senior vice president and managing director of Y Soft’s Scanning Division; James Shearer, director of sales for Laserfiche; Jeff Segarra, senior director of product marketing for the Nuance Document Imaging Division; and Tom Franceski, vice president and general manager of DocStar, an Epicor company.

Wouter Koelewijn,
Y Soft Scanning Division

Koelewijn: Not understanding that it is a consultative sale. Y Soft has been doing consultative sales with our partners for over 15 years. It is a long-term investment into being a trusted partner for dealers and for customers. If a dealer is only interested in selling boxes and consumables, then that is OK. We think the entire industry sees that it is not a long-term proposition, however. And, what we have learned over the last 15 years—and the reason we developed the GOE Framework—is that IT projects can have a high level of customer dissatisfaction, whether it be in over promising and under delivering, time and effort to deploy the solution and the expected ROI. With the steps in the Framework, all the project parameters are captured, agreed upon and revolve around meeting the customer’s requirements and expectations.

James Shearer, Laserfiche

Shearer: Some dealers focus too much on selling a document management system; they use too shallow of an approach. By selling a system to store electronic documents without going into what’s necessary to improve business processes and ultimately digitally transform an organization, dealers are missing out on a lot of opportunities and limit their relationship with the customer.

We always tell our dealers to be the person who solves the big problems. If a dealer solves a small problem—for example, eliminates an organization’s filing cabinets by taking a customer paperless—then the customer will only know the dealer as someone who solves small problems. It may take more time and work initially, but if a dealer hones in on a larger issue like automating contract management to make a company more efficient and make regulatory compliance easier, then that dealer will be called on, again and again, to help the organization solve its problems.

Another common pitfall that can be challenging to overcome is not involving both IT and high-level decision makers from the beginning of the sales process. If a dealer neglects to include departments besides IT from the start, it can be difficult to expand the system beyond the initial implementation.

Jeff Segarra, Nuance Document Imaging Division

Segarra: The biggest mistake a dealer can make is not asking questions to the customer. Ask the customer what their document process is like. Gain an understanding of their pain points. Dealers run into problems when they make assumptions about how to help customers before fully understanding what customers are up against.

Tom Franceski, DocStar

Franceski: While it is important to listen to the customers, they can sometimes have contradictory or conflicting desires and expectations for the proposed solution. One mistake dealers commit is in assuming a one size solution fits all. Some dealers try to incorporate every exception case that the customer encounters, resulting in a solution that is overly complex, hard to use and maintain. Other areas include trying to do too much too quickly, not socializing/communicating the organizational change that needs to occur, and garnering support for the solution from all parties.

Additionally, customers may be enamored with the technology, but they won’t always pay for it.  To this end, it’s vital to speak to the organization’s pain points and show demonstrable ROI.

Erik Cagle
About the Author
Erik Cagle is the editorial director of ENX Magazine. He is an author, writer and editor who spent 18 years covering the commercial printing industry.