As part of our annual Elite Dealers issue, ENX Magazine queries respondents regarding the toughest challenges facing their operations. We squirreled away these answers from our 132 honorees to roll out to readers throughout the month of December. So, take a break from your holiday shopping and office parties to garner a look at what your fellow office technology dealers are enduring as they prepare to take on the New Year.
For Nashville, TN-based RJ Young, one of the greatest challenges is the process of making the transition to a solutions-led organization. As recruiting talented people is a competitive game, the move to more of a solutions slant can exacerbate the process.
“We have specialists in each market to help lead the evolution and long-term, we will employ a training program to assist all sales teams in structured learning of the integrated solutions model,” the dealership wrote.
Likewise, for Benchmark Business Solutions of Lubbock, TX, merging new technologies with its existing print business can provide a dilemma. “Most large copier dealers are moving forward with new products such as managed IT services, IT hardware and the like,” Benchmark reported. “How these new technologies merge with our existing businesses, and how successful these new products can be, are our biggest challenges. With the proper mindset and core set of company values, Benchmark is poised to succeed.”
Retaining Sales Reps
One of the more common issues reported is finding and maintaining employees, particularly on the sales account executive side, where turnover seems to be most prevalent than with service technicians, admins and other staff. This is the case for Integrated Office Technology (IOTEC) of Santa Fe Springs, CA.
“Most of the sales reps find the technology part exciting, but the cold calling and canvassing are overwhelming and discouraging,” IOTEC wrote. “We are constantly changing up our strategy when it comes to hiring. We attend numerous job fairs, offer more incentives, provide better training and are constantly creating new marketing materials to help support the sales reps to feel comfortable with the products and solutions that IOTEC has to offer.”
For XMC Inc. of Memphis, TN, perhaps the greatest quandary is the commoditization of the hardware side of its business. The perception, combined with increasing margin pressure, will continue to confront the industry going forward.
“XMC is identifying and investing in new revenue streams to help continue to project value to our customers,” the dealer wrote. “These specifically include app creation and deployment, managed IT services, and audio/visual projects. These services continue to help differentiate XMC from other like hardware vendors.”
Challenge Meets Opportunity
In more of an opportunity as opposed to a challenge, Phoenix-based FlexPrint is finding that many clients within its national customer base value the dealer’s managed service platform, and this has opened the doors to international expansion with those same accounts. Vetting and procuring foreign partners to help deliver that same level of managed services can be quite an undertaking.
“We’re slowly expanding the management of assets to areas outside of the United States,” according to FlexPrint. “We are currently meeting this challenge through third-party resources, but vetting out those that meet our stringent customer requirements is in its infancy. So far, things have been going well, but we are working on strengthening those relationships, vetting out the top-tier MPS providers in international regions so that we can provide further support to the customer. Business laws, requirements and processes are quite different from region to region internationally, and weeding through the requirements has (produced) a learning curve.”