What does it take to get an office technology dealership’s production print sales reps to sell more software?
Recently, Luis Villa, production print VP at Atlantic Tomorrows Office in New York City and Josh Santos, director of production print at RJ Young in Nashville, TN, shared with me the strategies their teams use to boost production print software sales. Both organizations sell a broad range of software, including RSA’s WebCRD and QDirect.
First and foremost, they and their teams understand the mission-critical importance of software for driving production print applications and how some solutions can further automate their customer’s printing operations. But it takes more than that.
It Takes a Specialist
At Atlantic, a production print systems solutions analyst or production print systems engineer assists sales reps on the software side of the sale, often asking the million-dollar question: "How do you receive your jobs?" And what they discover is sometimes shocking!
“Some people are still using goldenrod paper [for job orders],” revealed Villa.
He observed that many business owners still don’t understand what software is available to automate their businesses and how much it can save in labor costs as well as how much more business they could generate by automating the ordering process and their workflow.
One of the best strategies for Atlantic’s reps to understand what’s going on in an in-plant is to speak with the operators. These individuals work closely with the equipment every day and can explain the process from the start of a job to its completion. That’s a perspective that Villa says a business owner might not have.
“There’s a lot of ‘that's what happens a lot,’ noted Villa about what operators share. That’s why he believes it’s important to have a specialist who understands digital front ends, e-commerce, and imposition who make a software recommendation based on what the operators are telling them.
“Anybody can sell you a box, but there's another piece, understanding how the work gets to the actual unit and out the door,” said Villa.
When talking about the software, Villa’s team focuses on the benefits of an open software platform and a solution that allow jobs to be digitally submitted 24/7. Another benefit his team touts is how the software eliminates a lot of different touches and expedites the job approval process.
Down in Nashville, RJ Young has production print specialists with extensive solutions and software knowledge who are involved in any kind of customer engagement, including the pre-sale walkthrough. The dealership also incentivizes its production print analyst team to look for software opportunities. This has helped boost software sales. While incentives are important, you can’t overlook the advantage of making this a team effort.
“We take a very consultative approach in our sales,” said Santos. “My analyst and production specialist work as a team. The production specialist answers questions about hardware while the analyst discusses the software and the business outcomes.”
Santos’s team still spends time educating customers like Villa and his team, however, Santos tells me that overall, production print customers are more knowledgeable about what they need than ever before. They may not be able to identify the specific software program to fix their problem, but they know when they have an issue.
“Everybody's asking, ‘How can I get this more automated, how can I simplify my workflow, and how can I save some money?’”
When customers ask these questions, RJ Young’s production print analyst can quickly segue into a discussion of workflow software such as WebCRD.
RJ Young prides itself on its process, which has three pillars, process, technology, and people. The process is the team consultative approach, ensuring that no opportunities are missed. The technology pillar centers around matching the customer with the appropriate hardware and software that makes that workflow as efficient and productive as possible. The people pillar is focused on managed services which RJ Young offers to in-plant customers who would prefer not to staff their own operation.
For RJ Young, in-plants represent the best opportunity for a workflow solution such as WebCRD. Those in-plants can be found in many of the usual places in the markets that the dealership serves, including higher education, K-12, hospitals, and even some manufacturing facilities.
“More customers are becoming more open to looking at workflow software,” said Santos. One of those customers, one of the major hospital systems in the country, enhanced its print operations with RSA software.
Ultimately, Santos told me that RJ Young wants to sell whatever makes the most sense for the customer. The criterion is applications. Santos’s specialists examine the workflow, the hardware, and the print jobs to determine which software solution is the best fit. He especially likes that WebCRD works with any hardware that RJ Young sells.
When I asked if it is easier to sell the software with the hardware, Santos told me he didn’t think it made a difference. That said, there has been an uptick in software sales to customers where RJ Young wasn’t their current hardware provider. Santos referenced a client in Alabama that originally purchased the software from RJ Young, and afterwards shifted to them for their hardware needs. Atlantic, on the other hand, prefers to package the two together.
Admittedly, these are two large dealerships with the resources to hire specialists who can talk intelligently about software. Still, the strategies they use can be emulated by smaller organizations, as well, and RSA is always there to support your efforts.
Get More Tips and Strategies for Selling Production Print Workflow Software
Want to sell more production print workflow software or offer it more effectively? Your local RSA BDM can provide expertise and resources (like our "questions to ask" collateral) to your sales team to develop strategies to sell more workflow software.