Software sales and implementation can sometimes be challenging for resellers if they don’t have staff that is knowledgeable and experienced in that area. Many dealers and partners rely on Rochester Software Associates' (RSA's) Professional Services (PS) team for that expertise. RSA's PS team is an extension of the company's sales organization and is a helpful resource throughout the sales and implementation process.
Dealers and partners with their own professional services personnel sometimes turn to RSA to lighten the burden and let them focus on what they do best, selling. Professional Services can assist with uncovering opportunities, workflow analysis, demos, configurations and software implementations. This assistance helps to provide a complete solutions recommendation and accelerate the sales process.
Isn't That Convenient?
Convenience is key for dealers and partners who require assistance. According to Tim Nobes, manager of Professional Services for RSA, most support can be handled remotely via telephone calls or online meetings. If necessary, team members can physically assist on sales calls or onsite consultations. It’s not unusual for RSA PS team members to visit a partner or dealer to host a lunch and learn about new products or modules for the dealer's or partner's sales team.
"My team is involved from the very beginning of the opportunity, and we stay involved all the way through implementation and rollout," says Nobes.
One critical area where the PS team adds value is understanding workflow issues and challenges. Often this is done remotely, but sometimes a Professional Services team member will hit the road and visit a customer or prospect with the dealer or partner.
"Being onsite and walking through the print shop, talking to people and seeing how they're doing things is a huge benefit," notes Nobes who adds that this isn't always cost effective, which is why his team excels at handling many issues remotely.
A lot of what his team does is help with the discovery.
"There are probing questions we ask customers to describe how they're doing things today,” says Nobes. These questions can uncover opportunities to help our PS team create a more streamlined solution recommendation."
No Failure to Communicate
Nobes and his team rely on partners and dealers to get them in front of customers. His team can educate them about what to look for. One example is on the transactional side of the business where Professional Services can assist in transforming legacy data streams to postscript.
The key is talking to partners and dealers about how to identify opportunities. Nobes' team is proactive, monitoring sales and implementation activity. If they discover a dealer or partner needs help, they’ll reach out and start a dialog.
"We start by asking the right questions to figure out what is going on and where there may be opportunities," explains Nobes. "We can help them with existing opportunities and help them uncover new ones."
Those new opportunities may lead to the sale of additional modules of the same software a customer is using today or software the customer isn’t currently using.
Sharing the Knowledge
While one might think that over time partners and dealers may end up relying less on RSA's Professional Services team as they acquire some of that expertise themselves, that’s often not the case. Nobes contends it’s useful for partner and dealer personnel to hear the Professional Services rep’s talk track, which is often helpful for identifying new opportunities.
Nobes who has been with RSA for 12 years, sees the biggest change during his tenure as security. "We've always needed to understand the technology, but now you need to understand the security requirements with almost every customer," emphasizes Nobes. "It used to just be larger enterprises, insurance and healthcare, but now even higher ed and K-12 production print centers are super security conscious."
A customer or prospect's security requirements can pose a challenge for a dealer or partner that doesn’t have access to the resources RSA does to keep up to date on security issues and best practices. Nobes says it’s not unusual for PS to fill out multi-page IT questionnaires that validate the RSA solution being implemented onsite or in the cloud is secure.
“How secure is this?” is a frequently asked question Nobes and his team must be prepared to answer about RSA’s products whether they are being queried by an office equipment dealer, production print partner, customer, or prospect.
"We're in many Fortune 500 companies, state and federal government agencies, and nuclear power plants," says Nobes. "Security has become a key requirement. RSA is one of the only software companies in this space that are as secure as most companies need nowadays."
Nobes and his team align with dealers and partners in how they measure their success. The end goals are to generate revenue, increase the sales close rate and increase the number of opportunities.
It's no surprise: dealers and partners who take advantage of the knowledge of RSA's PS team tend to have much higher close rates and more successful software implementations than those who don't.