It’s incredible what you can learn from a conference, even one that doesn’t have a direct tie to the products or services you sell. That was the experience that Ben Parker, RSA’s director of sales, had when he attended this year’s Executive Connection Summit (ECS) in Scottsdale, Arizona.
If you are not familiar with ECS, it’s a conference rooted in the office technology and services industry that provides a platform for new ideas, innovation, and sharing of best practices while providing a glimpse into the industry’s future. However, despite the attendance of numerous print-centric OEMs such as Epson, Konica Minolta, Kyocera, RISO, Sharp, Toshiba, and RSA, there was virtually no emphasis on print or production print unless one counts Keypoint Intelligence’s presentation on label and packaging printing. Instead, the primary focus was on digital transformation with an emphasis on managed IT, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, data and analytics, and e-commerce.
Even though the emphasis was not on print, the conference still shined a spotlight on how print providers and a production print software company like RSA and its dealers can be successful.
“Overall, it was outstanding,” said Parker. “The presentations were professionally done. There were high-level people in attendance, including office technology dealers looking to understand the content and internalize the information presented. Meeting people and understanding how they manage their business, what they're looking for, and the changes they’re thinking about implementing to run their businesses better was useful for me.”
Not every presentation resonated with the entire audience, but Parker found it helpful to hear success stories about companies selling and/or leveraging new technologies and services. “For RSA, it gave us an open window to see how these organizations are looking at their businesses and how they want to expand. It also gave me a better understanding of what my team needs to do to facilitate and assist them as they figure out the most successful path to gain market share or penetrate deeper into customers’ accounts.”
Parker’s recommendation to his team, and by extension, RSA software dealers, is to work more closely with client organizations and become a part of their team. “Help them understand what we do from a printing perspective because every organization has printing expenses,” he said. “If you engage with RSA, you can minimize and manage those expenses because printing is an expense. And it can be an asset when used correctly. We can help customers manage that part of their business more effectively so that they can make more money. If a dealer tells a customer they can help them reduce their budget by 20% because of automation, that dealer will be successful. They're also building a better relationship with the C-level at that account, which could open up opportunities other than print.”
If a dealer tells a customer they can help them reduce their budget by 20% because of automation, that dealer will be successful. They're also building a better relationship with the C-level at that account, which could open up opportunities other than print.
What was clear to Parker while networking at ECS is that many dealers are unfamiliar with RSA’s offerings. “They don't understand the value of automating printing production,” he acknowledged. That was a hard lesson learned, but one that Parker wasn’t surprised to hear.
Parker’s epiphany while attending ECS was that RSA dealers should not forget what got them to the party. And that is print. “Print has taken somewhat of a hit, but how do we manage through that because it's a big part of every company,” acknowledged Parker. “The challenge for our dealers is educating the production people or the account managers on the value we bring to print.”
Parker believes hardware dealers not exploring opportunities like this in the production print space are missing an opportunity. “Selling a copier or a production device is very competitive,” he said. “They all do a great job putting marks on paper and it's XYZ click per sheet but you can’t be successful just selling clicks.”
But you can be successful by focusing on workflow and backend automation. “That brings value, which is hugely advantageous to these organizations,” observed Parker. “There’s lots of money and revenue for managing print differently. With COVID and reduced staff, we can help because print shops using our technology can operate their businesses with fewer people.”
He added, “I challenge our dealers to understand print and all the steps involved. That’s where the real value of the software is for the printers finishing those pieces. If you cut out some of those steps, there are savings. If you’re selling hardware and you visit a print shop and you're not talking about workflow automation and how to print smarter and manage that printer smarter, you're going to lose because you're just going to be putting marks on paper for less money. If you sell automation and understand the steps from the idea to placing the printed piece in the mail, you’re a consultant. Automation software causes stickiness in the account. From an RSA perspective, we're not trying to solve IT, we're just trying to solve one piece—print. There's a tremendous opportunity. If you're a print vendor, the next time they replace their fleet, you will be in the center of that conversation because your software manages all of it.”
If you’re selling hardware and you visit a print shop and you're not talking about workflow automation and how to print smarter and manage that printer smarter, you're going to lose because you're just going to be putting marks on paper for less money.
Events such as ECS, even when they take a broad and futuristic view of technology and services, are valuable because they offer attendees an idea of what’s next and what that means to their organizations and customers. The key is figuring out how to use this information or being inspired by the conference’s content. As Parker noted earlier, you can’t ignore what got you to the party, and you still need to make money while testing out new technologies or services. For him, that was the biggest lesson learned at this year’s ECS conference.
Learn More About the Value of Selling Production Print Software
Learn more about the value of selling production print workflow automation software to your customers and how your organization benefits from this knowledge.