We’re going to bid November adieu by wrapping up our look at 21st-century sales strategies with a mixed-bag look at the wildcard variables that have enabled dealers to gain a leg up on the competition in their respective markets. In some cases, adding a unique product can prove to be the differentiator that provides your sales force with an added tool for success.
Prosource has spent much of 2018 focusing on growing its technologies division, which has entailed investing in monthly search engine marketing, notes Brad Cates, president and CEO of the Cincinnati-based dealership. Each month, Prosource has consistently realized results above the national average, and it has dominated paid searches in Cincinnati and Dayton for its managed IT solution.
“Our digital ad campaigns have increased our website lead generation, and we expect that to continue to grow as we make website improvements to increase our conversions,” he added.
Stargel Office Solutions of Houston has expanded its offerings in recent months to include Xerox production equipment, and the dealer has added a production specialist to its sales team. T.J. DeBello, vice president of sales and marketing, further notes that the company has invested in a marketing team to help drive content to social media and increase brand awareness in its market space.
Production print has also been a key differentiator for Commonwealth Digital Office Solutions of Sterling, VA. One enticement it has for customers is that if one of their production machines goes down for more than four hours, Commonwealth will print jobs on its in-house gear for free.
Clutch Customer Care
According to Mike Sarelson, president and owner, one client with seven machines that were running at capacity had a quick turn request for 32,000-count color run, and Commonwealth was happy to oblige. Another client was moving his business over the weekend but still needed to push 10 jobs out the door. Despite being closed, Sarelson opened the doors to his facility so that the client could complete the work.
Given the high price tags of the production print equipment, Sarelson wants to be a fallback for his valued clients. “If you want to be in the business, you have to be there for the customer,” he said, adding that Commonwealth has more than 100 production machines in the field.
Seizing an Opportunity
Nashville, TN-based Novatech believes it stands alone in the pursuit of success with 3D printing. While many firms have avoided this space or speculated with low-end machines and were soon disenchanted by the seeming lack of repeatable applications, Novatech CEO Darren Metz has pushed his chips in the middle. In fact, nearly 10 percent of the dealer’s revenues are derived from 3D technology.
“People have dental implants to align their teeth that were created by a 3D printer from us,” Metz said. “There are a number of transformative printing technologies that we’re exploiting, and our peer group either doesn’t understand or want to be bothered with 3D. We’re creating a whole new category of print while most of our competitors are worried about declining page volumes.
“We’re executing on the fundamentals of managed print, managed IT, wide-format and production print,” he noted. “Adding 3D and the expansion of what it means to print has been a driver of growth. We do about $100 million in revenue and we’re tracking about $10 million in 3D machines. We recently sold an HP printer for $325,000, and service/supplies will be about $15,000 a month. A lot of dealers gave it a shot but tried to apply the copier sales model to it. It’s a different ballgame. There are aspects of the service and supply piece that are in common, but the sales motion is completely different.”
Relationships with local businesses can kindle more opportunities, and in the Philadelphia market—where sports fans are as rabid as they are frustrated—aligning with professional sports franchises can be an excellent method to increase your visibility. KDI Office Technology of Aston, PA, is the official technology sponsor for the Phillies, Flyers, Union, Soul, Wells Fargo Center and 97.5 The Fanatic sports talk radio. KDI is also the exclusive office technology provider of Dover International Speedway and is its Restart Zone sponsor.
“No other office technology company in the Philadelphia marketplace enjoys such a controlling share of partnerships in sports marketing,” Don Schatzman, president of sales, pointed out.
The 2017 acquisition of ImageNet enables the dealer to offer complete document scanning services, and KDI has grown this division from four to 16 employees. The dealer recently expanded with a sixth office, located in Iselin, NJ, which covers the northern and central regions of the state. To bolster the office, KDI hired 15 new sales reps and managers.
“This allows us to better serve customers in this important geographic area, which gives us a leg up as well,” Schatzman added.