2021 Elite Dealers: United Through a Common Vision

It’s difficult to turn on the television, pick up a newspaper or peruse the internet without being inundated with sound bites and talking points that illustrate the depth of division enveloping our nation.

National politics, social injustice, COVID-19 and vaccines, freedom and rights, class inequality—the list is endless.

While searching for a pithy quote that speaks to divisiveness, one gem that popped up seemed to be particularly poignant:

“America now is stumbling through the darkness of hatred and divisiveness. Our values, our principles and our determination to succeed as a free and democratic people will give us a torch to light the way. And we will survive and become the stronger—not only because of a patriotism that stands for love of country, but a patriotism that stands for love of people.”
This statement was delivered by Gerald Ford, 37th president of the United States, in September 1968. All things considered, it could’ve been uttered this year. That we have long aspired to do better is no great revelation. But 2021 served as a frustrating reminder that “our long national nightmare…” is—as Ford also famously opined, albeit under different circumstances—far from over.

But while the political and social arenas still grapple with partisan strife, the office technology dealer universe is as harmonious as ever. Even amid the most challenging and unique circumstances to visit our industry, the dealer community forged ahead, buffered by a culture that stresses team unity. Dealers assessed, planned and executed in a manner that would serve the needs of employees and clients. Knowing that their end-user clients were being equally tasked, the office dealer pivoted to offering new tools and resources to keep the wheels of commerce in motion.

Don’t take our word for it. The next 98 pages contain the tales of our cast of 120 Elite Dealers, one of the largest we’ve had the pleasure to offer. They relate their journeys through the most adverse of conditions, highlighting not only their accomplishments, but also the tactics they employed to deliver on the ideal value proposition. While quality sales, technical and customer service, and admin support are common denominators, these dealers also draw attention to the unique variables that cast them as champions in the eyes of their clients. Consider the following criteria that was nearly universal among all of our honorees.

Capturing new business. Nothing says success quite like net-new business, and our Elite Dealers didn’t shy away from the ridiculously arduous task of wresting accounts away from other vendors, whether it meant supplanting incumbent dealers, manufacturer directs or other resellers. Some of the most satisfying takedowns for Elite Dealers came at the expense of providers that had served customers for many years. Managed print and IT were the linchpins to many an agreement; ditto for software solutions. Whether the end game was saving money, reducing fleets or enhancing a client’s workflow, dealers crafted tailored solutions that were ultimately impossible to refuse.

Enhanced marketing strategies. Elite Dealers rolled up their sleeves to devise an approach to sales and marketing that was conducive to a decentralized client base. Website refreshes and a differentiated approach to original content—either in the form of blogs or video presentations—keyed an aggressive inbound marketing approach. Personalized videos and creative marketing campaigns fueled an outbound blueprint that kept clients and prospects engaged and working their way through the sales funnel.

Emphasizing corporate culture. Dealers spared no expense or effort in ensuring that their team members felt important, appreciated and wanted. Extensive training enhanced employee value to the organization and deepened their skill sets at a time when a nation of workers took a deep look in their professional mirrors and decided that change was necessary. An Elite Dealer offers a family atmosphere, and when employees feel they are at home, the less likely they are to go astray. We’d like to think Gerry Ford would agree that “love of employer” is equally important.

If these factors fall in line with your organization, please make it a point to nominate your company as an Elite Dealer in 2022. We invite you to take a few minutes to sit back and learn more about this year’s Elite Dealer class. Congratulations to all our honorees.

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.