The role and life of the account representative, one might argue, has been simplified in the past 20 years. No longer is in incumbent upon a sales rep to do all of the heavy lifting in enticing existing clients and prospects to avail themselves of your dealership’s product and service portfolio. Websites have evolved from their initial role as online brochures to interactive, inbound marketing vehicles that, when done right, can grab and guide a prospect right to your front door.
This week’s look at 21st century sales, our November issue state of the industry focus, is less about the account reps themselves and more about the online infrastructure that dealers have created to maximize their sales and marketing efforts.
KDI Office Technology of Aston, PA, has transformed its website with a bevy of fresh content that provides a quality user experience. The dealer posts bi-monthly blogs that are pushed out through social media. Two new sections have been added, Community Partners and its monthly newsletter. The Partners segment underscores KDI’s commitment to giving back to the community and provides a window into its corporate culture, all of which fosters a sense of community. Previously, newsletters were emailed and inserted into monthly statements, and now there is a dedicated page to current and past editions.
The dealer also hired former Eagles quarterback Ron Jaworski to do voiceover promotions for KDI’s Free Office Technology Assessment (Jaworski’s businesses are also KDI clients). The dealer tied the voiceover into a landing page that was promoted through email and billboards around Philadelphia to direct people to its website.
In addition, KDI advertises with 97.5 The Fanatic, a Philadelphia-based talk radio show, and the dealer can track analytics to see the site spikes when KDI is mentioned. The dealer uses Google Ads and social media to increase site traffic, with email blasts, newsletters and billboards helping to drive the initiative.
“Our main goal when we share these is to drive the user back to the website and not just the article,” said Don Schatzman, president of sales for KDI. “We do incorporate SEO to improve our website traffic. We also use both internal and external links to help with SEO but to also to create a better experience for the user.”
Website search engine optimization becomes an ongoing journey for dealers rather than a destination. T.J. DeBello, vice president of sales and marketing for Stargel Office Solutions of Houston, pointed out that his company’s new website went live back in September. In addition to incorporating SEO into the new site, Stargel seeks to drive more inbound marketing, breaking from the traditional marketing campaigns of the past.
“It’s too early to tell as far as results, but we have also invested in hiring an in-house marketing director to drive our inbound marketing through our website,” he said. “We’re actively monitoring our analytics and SEO results while driving fresh, on-demand content for LinkedIn and other social media platforms.”
KOMAX Business Systems of South Charleston, WV, implements website refreshes on a regular basis and has employed a number of different marketing and advertising campaigns with the purpose of driving more visitors to its website. Hosted events are another key for KOMAX, which held a managed IT services seminar for 60 businesses at Appalachian Power Park, home of a minor league baseball affiliate.
According to President and Owner Bob Maxwell, it’s all about driving more business. “There has been a definite increase in the number of website visitors,” he said. “Now, we have to translate that into more sales.”
More Bang, Less Bounce
Cincinnati-based Prosource relies on a variety of analytics to gauge the overall health and performance of its website, according to President and CEO Brad Cates. The areas of most significance are traffic, traffic sources, bounce rates, top pages and conversion rates. Prosource began investing in SEO on a monthly basis in early 2017, and the dealership has witnessed significant online growth, with a 310 percent traffic increase and an 8 percent decrease in bounce rates.
For 2018, traffic growth is on track for a 21 percent increase, with bounce rates dropping another 5 percent. “We currently have plans to improve our website and apply the latest best practices, which will continue to increase our SEO,” Cates said.
It’s been a year of considerable change for Nashville, TN-based Novatech. The company had gone to market as NovaCopy for the past 20 years before embarking on a major rebranding initiative that entailed doing “open heart surgery” on its website, notes CEO Darren Metz.
The previous incarnation of its website cast Novatech as a copier dealer-plus, but the reboot denotes a technology company with a broad suite of products. Their 3D systems, Microsoft Office 365 and Konica Minolta copiers all receive equal billing on the site, which has a technology and service slant as opposed to a product focus. SEO is a big part of Novatech’s strategy, as is Google Ads.
Art of Rebranding
Rebranding is a popular tool for dealers to impact the impression customers and prospects have for a given provider. Centric Business Systems launched a comprehensive rebranding project in 2014 and invested more than a quarter million dollars into repositioning the firm as the leading document management and workflow technology solutions company in the Mid-Atlantic. The Owings Mills, MD-based dealer wanted to reinforce—in a new and exciting way—its solutions-based approach and the outstanding support offered to clients, according to Rick Bastinelli, company president.
Centric’s refresh entailed a new logo, website reboot, new collateral materials and advertising campaigns. “In order to raise brand awareness throughout our marketplace we’ve implemented both paid and organic search programs,” Bastinelli said. “To make the most of these assets, we’ve invested heavily in website optimization, landing pages and geo-fencing tactics.”