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Dealer and Partner Opportunities in Production Print During the Pandemic

  • Elisha Kasinskas
  • |
  • December 16, 2020

When the calendar page turns at the end of 2020, or whenever a business’s fiscal year ends, few will finish in the black. For some, finishing flat will be a win, for others, within 20% of last year might be considered a moral victory.

Workflow Solutions Offer Margins, a Competitive Edge, and Higher Contract Values

Ben Parker, director of sales, RSA

Dealers that sell production print hardware and software-related solutions have an edge in these challenging times. "Offering workflow software solutions drives higher margins, more success and higher dollar sales,” said Ben Parker, director of sales for RSA. "We've seen production workflow opportunities throughout the pandemic and are seeing promising signs from our production print hardware partners and dealers whose production print business has improved during the last quarter of 2020."

Production print may not be pandemic proof, but it presents dealers and partners with more opportunities than traditional office technology, a segment pummeled by COVID-19. Some dealers expect to see revenue declines as high as 40% in 2020, largely because of steep declines in office printing. 

During these challenging times, partners are still finding opportunities in K-12, higher ed, and hospitals. Although volumes are still down, many verticals still need to print and have needed workflow solutions to increase efficiency or fill in gaps caused by virtual or limited staff. Some are using the downtime to learn about new technology and software modules that can enhance their printing operations. Others are focusing on continuing education around the technology and the software. Have you encouraged your customers to take advantage of the free training available from RSA?

Total Solutions Create Opportunities

Depending on the location, more RSA partners are meeting with customers interested in improving their printing operations and ready to invest in new technology. These partners aren’t just talking to customers about hardware, the more successful are discussing the value add of workflow software and new add-ons to the technology. Indeed, there is no time like the present to discuss new capabilities, new modules, updates, and upgrades. This is leading to new placements, and in some instances, new customers.

The size of some of our recent deals has been significant—a positive sign for anyone selling production print. For example, we've seen large contracts for hospital systems and state and local government print shops.

Standing Apart from the Competition

Partners are telling us that it is more competitive than ever in this current climate. Instead of two or three companies bidding on a deal, there may be as many as six. You can stand out by discussing the value that a workflow solution brings to the deal.

“What we have to do as partners and as software providers is make sure that the value outweighs the low-cost solution,” said Parker. “I tell our partners, everybody's got good technology, it's what you provide on top of that technology to automate their processes so they can see value in the total solution. Those that don't want to sell a total solution are sometimes left out of the deal making.”

There is tremendous opportunity for automation and workflow solutions in the market—solutions that improve the printing process. Ask customers and prospects how they receive jobs at the print shop and for those whose processes are not automated, discuss how your product offerings can do that.

“Don't just say, ‘Here's a box, here's how fast it is,’” said Parker. “That's not going to get you long-term sticky business. Help them understand how you impact their business and how you save labor dollars by automating to reduce people's time on tasks so they can do things faster.”

Not Just Feeds and Speeds

Parker estimates that the top production print specialists for each partner he supports sell more software and solutions than anybody else in their organizations. These individuals understand the value and talk about more than feeds and speeds.

“It's about workflow and changing the way customers print,” said Parker. “If we can eliminate a step or the need for an email or phone call, that's money that companies are saving. More companies are realizing the value proposition from that discussion.”

Ask Right Questions, Uncover More Opportunities

The difference between specialists and reps who uncover opportunities and those that don’t is the ability to ask the right questions. For example, ask the customer to identify the three or four most important jobs and the workflow associated with those jobs.

“The people that do that have more knowledge about the account, sell more hardware and software, and are far ahead of the competition,” concluded Parker.

Increase Margins and Value to the Customer with Workflow Solutions

Remember, customer issues don't disappear in an economic downturn. Offering valued-added software solutions help you and your customer win and increase the margins and contract size. Learn more from your local RSA BDM, who already has 2021 fast start tools and incentives to drive business.

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About the Author

Elisha Kasinskas

Elisha Kasinskas is Rochester Software Associates' (RSA) award-winning Marketing Director. She is responsible for all marketing, public relations, social media and communications, and community building for the firm. Ms. Kasinskas joined RSA in 2010. She is a Marketing veteran with over 20 years of experience in sales, product management, and marketing in leading product and service business to business and business to consumer firms, including Pinnacle (Birds Eye) Foods, Global Crossing, Windstream Communications, HSBC, and a number of regional high tech firms. She holds a Rochester Institute of Technology MBA, and a BS in Marketing from Radford University. Ms. Kasinskas is a frequent moderator for industry speaking sessions. She was awarded the 2015 In-Plant Printing and Mailing Association (IPMA) Outstanding contributor award, is a 2015 OutputLinks Women of Distinction inductee, and has secured multiple awards from the American Marketing Association (AMA) for recent work at RSA.

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