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CONTENTS Volume 26 • No. 6


2020 Vision Manufacturers share a clear view of the year ahead

P R I N C I PA L I S S U E S ‘Smarketing’ GreatAmerica hosts event Oct. 28-29


Compiled by Brent Hoskins Office Technology Magazine

by Elizabeth Marvel Office Technology Magazine

What will be the greatest opportunities in the new year according to 11 industry MFP and printer manufacturers?


Capture the Magic BTA West hosts event in Coronado, California

The company hosted “Smarketing: Preparing For Your Digital Transformation,” Oct. 28-29 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

ConvergX 2019 Ricoh hosts national dealer meeting in Las Vegas


by Brent Hoskins Office Technology Magazine

by Elizabeth Marvel Office Technology Magazine

Ricoh USA Inc. took its recent dealer meeting in a new direction, reflective of the need for strategic thinking and planning.

BTA West hosted its Capture the Magic event Nov. 4-5 at the Loews Coronado Bay Resort in Coronado, California.


Business Inkjet VIP Tour Epson hosts dealers & media in Japan by Brent Hoskins Office Technology Magazine

SELLING SOLUTIONS Beware of Ghosts Do not wait for ‘hoped for’ results


by Gil Cargill Cargill Consulting Group Inc.

Epson recently hosted 20 dealers and seven members of the office technology industry media in Japan to meet with senior executives.


Employee Handbooks It is time to review & update this important resource

“Sales ghosts” are the salespeople you have hired who you have realized will never produce the results you desire.

Your Focus Is it on your competitors or your customers?


by Troy Harrison Troy Harrison & Associates

by Robert C. Goldberg BTA General Counsel

Each year around this time I like to communicate a gentle reminder that it is time to review your employee handbook.


Cellphones & Data Usage How are dealers handling these necessities? Compiled by Brent Hoskins Office Technology Magazine

We used to use pay phones. Now just about everyone is carrying a cellphone. How are dealers handling cellphones in their businesses?

I find that too many companies inordinately focus on their competition rather than their customers.

D E PA R T M E N T S Business Technology Association


• BTA Education Calendar • BTA Highlights


Executive Director’s Page


BTA President’s Message


Advertiser Index

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Vendors Offer Many ‘Nuggets of Wisdom’


started working at the Business Technology Association (BTA) in 1986. When I arrived, the tradition of publishing an annual Industry Forecast feature in the association’s magazine had already been established. What year did the tradition begin? As I take a quick glance in the file cabinets outside of my office — the home of our magazine archives — I see the feature in our January 1981 issue, but not in any 1980 issue. So, it appears, 1981 must be the year. The tradition will continue as long as I work here. Like you, I find the insight and guidance the contributions provide to be valuable. We get a glimpse into what to expect in the year ahead, based on what the contributors reveal as their areas of focus. Allow me to thank the 11 industry leaders submitting forecasts for 2020. We greatly appreciate your participation, commitment to the dealer channel and support of BTA. By the way, all 11 vendors are BTA members. (Note: You will see the “Industry Forecast” title again for 2021. We couldn’t resist the one-time opportunity to label this feature “2020 Vision” this time around.) Naturally, the vendors’ submissions reflect the times in which we live. In turn, they reflect a range of opportunities, trends and counsel. For me, I noticed in particular a few references to the changing workforce and the associated reliance on social media, the rise of mobility, the possible challenges in recruiting millennials, etc. Among the interesting comments on these topics: Brother: “The knowledge worker today is mobile, equipped with a smartphone and other intelligent devices, communicates on multiple social platforms, uses cloud technologies and apps to allow for the accessing

of data at any time or anywhere, and requires maximum agility.” Kyocera: “How do you recruit a 20-something into this industry? Our experience has shown that the younger generation is not interested in ‘selling copiers.’ So, do you position your business as a ‘copier dealership,’ or as an innovative technology company that has the hardware and software to help solve a customer’s business-critical needs?” Sharp: “Millennials are now the largest group in the workforce and they are having a dramatic impact on the office environment, with trends toward remote workers, shared workspaces, mobility and the desire toward greater autonomy.” Xerox: “Are you active on social media? Are you connecting via LinkedIn? If you are not, younger customers may pass you by. Case in point: 75% of the workforce will consist of internet-native millennials by 2025.” I encourage you to take the time to read through the submissions, which begin on page 10. The content that stands out to you will likely be different than for other readers. However, I am confident that all readers will appreciate the many “nuggets of wisdom” that will help guide them in 2020. Certainly, I wish you great success in the new year. By the way, as I thumbed through that January 1981 issue, among the forecast contributors (not limited to imaging companies at the time), I see a few company names I have not thought about for a number of years: APECO, Adler-Royal, Olivetti, Sanyo, Victor and Wang. If you recognize those names, then you are like me. You have had the privilege of seeing this industry evolve through many years, with technologies continually changing, but lucrative opportunities for office technology dealers never ceasing. n — Brent Hoskins

Executive Director/BTA Editor/Office Technology Brent Hoskins (816) 303-4040 Associate Editor Elizabeth Marvel (816) 303-4060 Contributing Writers Gil Cargill, Cargill Consulting Group Inc. Bob Goldberg, General Counsel Business Technology Association Troy Harrison, Troy Harrison & Associates

Business Technology Association 12411 Wornall Road Kansas City, MO 64145 (816) 941-3100 Member Services: (800) 505-2821 BTA Legal Hotline: (800) 869-6688 Valerie Briseno Marketing Director Brian Smith Membership Sales Representative Photo Credits: Bigstockphoto. Cover created by Bruce Quade, Brand X Studio. ©2019 by the Business Technology Association. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced by any means without the written permission of the publisher. Every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of published material. However, the publisher assumes no liability for errors in articles nor are opinions expressed necessarily those of the publisher.

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2020 ProFinance 3.0 Dates Announced


f you have been interested in attending the Business Technology Association’s (BTA’s) ProFinance 3.0 workshop, the association recently announced dates and locations for the upcoming year. I know dealers are always looking to improve the financial performance of their dealerships, and I can guarantee that attendance at ProFinance 3.0 is a great investment of time and money. As one of BTA’s longest running and most popular educational offerings, it will help you and your team achieve double-digit operating income with more than 30 key benchmarks. Over the last 18 years, the principles taught in ProFinance, led by instructors John Hey and Todd Johnson of Strategic Business Associates, have improved the performance of hundreds of dealerships. During ProFinance, Hey and Johnson will share their knowledge from more than 25 years of building some of the largest dealerships in North America, as well as their experience advising many of the most successful companies in the industry. The pair regularly update the workshop’s content and industry model for maximum success based on changes in the industry. The hands-on training will provide practical ideas that can be put into action immediately, and it will give you and your company the competitive edge that is vital in today’s marketplace. You will learn proven sales and service plans, effective management bonus programs and critical organizational strategies. Not convinced you need to attend ProFinance yet? Perhaps these comments from some recent attendees will help you decide: n “Excellent program. I learned a lot and will apply many of the principles learned during the workshop. I’m excited to go back,

see where we are versus the benchmarks and put plans into place to get us moving toward benchmarks we are missing. This was a great planning tool!” — Patricia Roulston, TEAM Solutions Group, Van Nuys, California n “The ProFinance workshop covered high-level strategies that will have a positive impact on all aspects of the business. In one-and-a-half days, they [John and Todd] provided information that would take most others five days. It was extremely focused and valuable.” — Chris Dolney, James Imaging Systems Inc., Brookfield, Wisconsin n “I would first like to say that your [John and Todd’s] knowledge and experience far exceed most presenters I have seen. Both of you know the business extremely well and I don’t feel like one minute of my time was wasted.” — Tom White, Ethos Technologies/ Blue Ridge Copier, Salem, Virginia n “I found using the model as a tool to understand areas where the company is not functioning correctly to be extremely helpful. The model in general sheds some light on areas that we may be overlooking. The leadership segment will definitely be useful. As I am personally new to management, I picked up tips that I can use to set the right tone with my coworkers.” — Miranda Toll, Digital Office Systems Inc., Wichita, Kansas Ready to register? ProFinance 3.0 workshops are scheduled for the following dates and locations (all BTA member dealerships): n March 18-19: Hendrix Business Systems, Matthews, North Carolina (a Charlotte suburb) n June 17-18: SumnerOne, Lenexa, Kansas (a Kansas City, Missouri, suburb) n Oct. 21-22: Advanced Imaging Systems (AIS), North Las Vegas, Nevada For more information or to register for one of 2020’s ProFinance 3.0 workshops, visit n — Bob Evans

2019-2020 Board of Directors President Bob Evans Function4 Sugar Land, Texas President-Elect Tim Renegar Kelly Office Solutions Winston-Salem, North Carolina Vice President David Polimeni RITE Technology Sarasota, Florida Immediate Past President John Eckstrom Carolina Business Equipment Inc. Columbia, South Carolina BTA East Don Risser DCS Technologies Corp. Franklin, Ohio Aaron Rubin Docutrend Imaging Solutions New York City, New York BTA Mid-America DJ Hastings Hogland Office Equipment Lubbock, Texas Mike Nerland Elite Business Systems Sioux Falls, South Dakota BTA Southeast Michael Hicks Electronic Business Machines Inc. Lexington, Kentucky Adam Gregory Advanced Business Solutions LLC St. Augustine, Florida BTA West Dan Bombard Yuma Office Equipment Yuma, Arizona Mike McCurdy Integrated Technologies Inc. Twin Falls, Idaho Ex-Officio/General Counsel Robert C. Goldberg Schoenberg Finkel Newman & Rosenberg LLC Chicago, Illinois

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2020 Vision Manufacturers share a clear view of the year ahead Compiled by: Brent Hoskins, Office Technology Magazine


hat will be the greatest opportunities in the new year? To find the answers, Office Technology magazine asked 11 MFP and printer manufac­ turers to share their expectations for 2020. Perhaps the insight shared in this year’s industry forecast will help you better position your dealership for success. Each of the contributors was asked to address the following questions in essay form: What do you believe will be the greatest market and prod­uct opportunities for dealers in 2020? What are the best sales and marketing strategies for dealerships in pursuing these opportunities? What will be the most significant challenges dealers will face in 2020 and how can they best address them? What notable changes in demand/needs/expectations do you an­ticipate from end users in 2020? What do you see as the char­acteristics of the office technology dealership that is best po­sitioned for success in 2020? Following are their responses. Brother International Corp. Dan Waldinger, Senior Director, Marketing, B2B As we begin a new decade in the office technology industry, we can be certain that hardware, software and service technologies will provide a foundational element to help businesses of all sizes grow. By offering these solutions to SMBs and large businesses, BTA Channel dealers are well positioned to share in the growth of their customers. Dealers, along with their OEM providers (hopefully their favorite “Brother”), must partner for success. We believe that, together, if we continue to partner, business will be great. Let’s fill in the blanks. Five things we must do together are: (1) Facilitate a digital transformation journey for clients — We have seen a shift from single-function printers to all-in-one devices. As companies continue to organize their data, they have realized that much of this information

is paper-based and not always easily accessible. Software, coupled with multifunctional hardware, can help build new workflows to delegate, review, approve and keep tasks on track. Specifically, the scanning features on these devices can become an integral part of moving manual paper-based processes to electronic workflows. This can add new efficiencies to an organization and allow for the extraction of intelligence from legacy hard-copy documents. Together we can help boost productivity. (2) Help customers collaborate more effectively — The knowledge worker today is mobile, equipped with a smartphone and other intelligent devices, communicates on multiple social platforms, uses cloud technologies and apps to allow for the accessing of data at any time or anywhere, and requires maximum agility. We must continue to deeply understand how information is shared in businesses today. Capabilities such as scan-to-email, application-based printing and scanning, and integration with critical back-end systems must all be a part of our everyday talk track. This will ensure that we are helping clients solve the challenges of their days. (3) Drive unnecessary costs out of the business — The desire to be profitable is at the heart of every private sector establishment. As consultants, it is our duty to assess printing and document management environments and present multiple opportunities for improvement. If we do not do this for clients, others will. The A3 to A4 transition and the reality that print volumes have gone down begs us to rightsize a customer’s fleet of devices. This may mean a different mix and quantity of units deployed along with a revised service contract. We must help clients look under every rock for savings — even if this means selling a different set of services to maintain our revenue per account. Customers will appreciate our transparency. This approach is also a great way to add net-new accounts. (4) Protect data and aid in compliance journeys — Encryption of data (while at rest or in transit), network

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authentication, the locking down of that their offices and workforces are As more organizations documents, integration with SIEM tools properly equipped to help limit access and a more educated workforce are all to data. IT managers share a common look to prioritize cloud elements of keeping businesses secure. task of helping put security features in investments in 2020, Network printers and scanning devices place surrounding sensitive business dealers have a unique are potential points of failure; therefore, information, customer data and emopportunity to help a robust security capability must be part ployee information. While an obvious them navigate this of any deployed solution. Whether it is a focus is on securing individual computcustomer’s own IT policy or an industry ing devices and corporate networks, key technology ... security regulation/requirement like MFPs are often an overlooked endpoint. HIPPA, SOX, PCI or FERPA, we must Many traditional MFPs have progressed continue to work with and stress the importance of staying to now offer scan-and-send capabilities, network integradiligent against malicious hacking attempts or other nefari- tion and cloud-based functions. Because of this, dealers ous individuals. Let’s help our clients lock all the doors in should look to partner with OEMs that not only provide tech their houses. solutions with built-in security features at the design level, (5) Deliver additional value to existing and new cus- but provide solutions and partnerships that can play into a tomers — Businesses of all sizes want to effectively com- larger security strategy. When it comes to security, Canon municate their unique value to internal and external cus- continues to make it a priority. For instance, this year, we tomers. This can take the form of the documents they share introduced McAfee Embedded Control and SIEM integrawith clients or the technology they make available for their tion capabilities for the third-generation imageRUNNER workforces. Through customization and professional servic- ADVANCE 3rd edition MFPs. These advancements allow enes, dealers can create value beyond the box. Yes, satisfying terprises to include these printers in their endpoint protecthe overt requirements of the customer is critical, but help- tion and security monitoring initiatives. ing them realize additional ways to drive satisfaction scores Evolving With the Cloud — More and more companies will move you from a supplier to a trusted advisor. And this are shifting workloads to the cloud to achieve a wealth of can — and should be — an additional source of revenue. benefits: easy collaboration, space savings, general workIn summary, if we continue to do these five things togeth- flow efficiencies, scalability and, often, the most compelling er, 2020 business will be great. At Brother, our daily focus is reason, infrastructure cost savings. But like any technolto be a trusted “At Your Side” partner for our BTA dealers. ogy, the cloud is constantly being optimized, for instance, We are excited about this journey together and know that through AI innovations and evolving models such as hybrid the fantastic relationship we establish with all the profes- or multicloud ecosystems. As more organizations look to sionals in this channel is vital to our mutual success. Happy prioritize cloud investments in 2020, dealers have a unique New Year. opportunity to help them navigate this key technology and show how it can be easily integrated into existing workflows Canon U.S.A. Inc. and solutions — from MFPs to email and beyond. In addiHiro Imamura, Senior Vice President tion to driving workflow efficiency, the cloud can bring an & General Manager, Business added layer of security features to today’s interconnected Imaging Communications Group office. Canon offers optional solutions that can help streamThe start of a new decade is a great line and protect document workflows in the cloud — from opportunity to reflect on learnings uniFLOW, Canon’s flagship print management solution, and create a forward-thinking strat- to cloud content and email management solutions such as egy for success. With digital transfor- Box, mxHero and Therefore. mation in full swing, now is the time Humanizing Tech for End Users — With the rate of for the dealer community to change the way it embraces technological change in the workplace, companies require technology and use it to unlock new growth opportunities. complete, end-to-end solutions. Customers need their Partnering closely with OEMs, dealers can pivot their sales office technology to seamlessly integrate with backend strategies to tap into the latest trends and remain on top of document management systems with minimal interruptheir games. tion and training. Professional services will likely become Securing Deals by Helping to Secure the Office — With increasingly more important for device integration with technology advancing at a rapid pace, it is possible for busi- various business applications and non-disruptive implenesses to lose sight of changing security needs and seeing mentations. 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© 2019 KONICA MINOLTA BUSINESS SOLUTIONS U.S.A., INC. All rights reserved.


INNOVATORS People with imagination. People who move the world forward. People like you. As technology continues to change the world we live and work in, Konica Minolta is transforming IT by simplifying it. Our category-defining range of IT solutions and managed services will remove obstacles to productivity; and make it easier to plan, manage and grow your IT environment. You’ll be able to work smarter, from any device or location.

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Konica Minolta has been developing solutions that help people do their job better for almost 150 years. We are putting people in control of their technology to streamline processes and collaboration, helping to make work more intuitive. It’s IT on your terms. And innovation that delivers value. Discover the Workplace of the Future™ at

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as Gen Z officially enters the workforce with expectations for easy integrations and smooth transitions to new technology. Through the changing landscape, Canon will continue to prioritize the growth of its channel partners by equipping them with the right resources, and quality solutions and services to help them in 2020 and beyond.

are looking for data-driven, connected solutions and personalized experiences. They are influencing a corporate shift where a seamless integration of technology is expected in personal and enterprise settings. We call this trend OneLife. This change is taking place across industries, with new standards for a mobile and connected workforce. Partners that can assist their customers through this transformation will find new revenue streams to offset challenges such as declining device placements, page volumes and click pricing. We are also witnessing a desire for business applications to function like personal ones. For example, HP just announced its new HP Workpath app platform. With HP Workpath, partners can connect their customers’ printers and MFPs directly to their business applications in the same way mobile phone apps connect people to information and processes. These apps transform workflows by giving users a similar in-application experience to what they have at a PC on the MFP, reducing the steps needed to complete a task. For dealers, the benefits of the software-as-a-service model are true incremental revenue and margin growth through selling the services per app, per device, creating an opportunity for a recurring monthly revenue stream. Expectations on the IT and security fronts are also increasing. IT managers now expect devices to be intelligent enough to solve problems automatically or place the call themselves for an on-site fix. HP’s Smart Device Service is extending these same remote monitoring, diagnosis and repair capabilities to our printers and MFPs, with 15% to 20% service cost savings to the bottom line. To manage security across customers’ PC and printer fleets, tools like HP Security Manager give IT managers peace of mind that breaches are continuously monitored for and prevented. HP’s partners that are growing the fastest are delivering a personalized, managed IT offering to their customers. Dealers who harness the power of data analytics to proactively address customer needs and add value to the customer experience will find continued growth and success in 2020 and beyond.

Customers are increasingly looking for bundled supplies, managed print services (MPS) and security solutions from a single source ...

HP Inc. Scott Lannum, Vice President & General Manager, Americas Commercial Channel Sales In the 2019 Industry Forecast, my colleague Grad Rosenbaum, who leads HP’s Print Services & Solutions in North America, emphasized the growing role of everything as a service (XaaS) to streamline consumption of new products and services. The past year has proved this prediction true, with XaaS portfolios flooding the industry. The catch? Deploying XaaS for print relevancy that delivers an end-to-end content experience and provides real benefits to the dealer and customer. To drive future growth in 2020, the greatest market opportunity for dealers is to evolve their solutions and services offerings — in addition to their specialized technology — to create seamless experiences for customers whether they are in the office, at home or on the go. Customers are increasingly looking for bundled supplies, managed print services (MPS) and security solutions from a single source to better execute business priorities. To grow their businesses, dealers need to offer services and solutions that lower overall costs, drive more margins, and create additional business opportunities with existing and new customers — ultimately driving greater share of wallet. There are also more benefits for dealers, primarily through data analytics, to increase efficiencies and improve service for customers tailored to their specific needs. Although XaaS has many powerful applications, dealers face pressure to create organic growth. This is the challenge we hear about the most from our partners. Dealers need to make the conscious shift from knowing devices to knowing customers, and delivering personalized and value-added solutions that directly address a customer’s needs. The key to unlocking this personalization is in the vast amounts of data collected by MPS. Tracking how, when and where services and solutions are used can lead to new insights about customer use beyond device functionality. Partners that don’t transform simply won’t remain competitive, especially with millennial and Gen Z buyers who

Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A. Inc. Kay Fernandez, Senior Vice President, Marketing As our industry changes and evolves, business transformation is key to managing growth and increasing profitability. Dealers of every size will continue to be impacted by massive

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transformation over the next several years and wide format. There is a great op... New product and this transformation will be driven by portunity for dealers to expand into technology. Some organizations will emthe production printing revenue stream opportunities continue brace the change and others will decide and into higher-volume output. Findto move this market it is an opportune time for a merger or ing opportunities is not problematic for forward. Dealers who acquisition. Regardless of which strategy dealers, for example, in in-plants where are not yet participating you are considering, at the end of the day, user manuals and promotional materiin production print have digital transformation will require a difals are created internally. Additionally, ferent approach to the market to ensure commercial printers continue to look a ... growth opportunity ... you are not left behind. for ways to differentiate and build new The integration of All Covered serrevenue streams that could easily be vices 10 years ago expanded our business into the world of produced with specialty and embellished print output. managed IT, allowing us to serve business clients with a difIn 2020, Konica Minolta will open its flagship Customferent portfolio of offerings. At that time, no one was looking er Engagement Center (CEC) in Ramsey, New Jersey, with at this business domain for the expansion of the traditional more than 15,000 square feet of space dedicated to showoffice technology business. We pioneered this strategy and casing our production and industrial printing devices. The have continued to expand our capabilities into adjacent full suite of complementary production management somarkets that add value for our customers as they navigate lutions — including digital workflow, lean manufacturing the workplace of the future. and business development services — will further reveal It is now all about the connected workplace. As the work- a best-in-class digital print production environment. In force transforms, remote work increases and the technology the highly competitive graphic communications industry, that newer generations have had in their consumer lives is profitability hinges on operations that are efficient, accudriving the expectation for their business lives. Manufactur- rate and seamless. At Konica Minolta’s CEC, dealers and ers and dealers must help clients with solutions for efficiently their customers will be able to see equipment in action and managing business process optimization and supporting engage in discussions with our experts about the market, digital workplace transformation. Dealers must continue to products and the resources needed to help them build or build the operational, sales and technical competency within grow their businesses. their organizations to capitalize on this evolution. As an inThe bottom line is that technology continues to have a dustry, we are moving up the continuum from delivering de- huge impact on the workplace and across all segments of vice-centric transactions to assessment-based managed ser- the market. For dealers who embrace change and take acvices, to designing business process automation, to ultimately tion, the future is limitless. fulfilling the vision of the digitally connected workplace. Helping organizations become digital workplaces requires KYOCERA Document Solutions an ecosystem of partners with complementary solutions and America Inc. technology. Collaboration needs to happen at the macro level Peter Morisco, Vice President, between organizations to fuel innovative business solutions. Channel Sales No one provider can do it all and the workplace of the future What will it take for a dealer to be is about engaging in strategic technology partnerships to successful in 2020? The answer is not deliver results. Konica Minolta recently announced a partthat simple. Our business is evolving nership with Dropbox and will continue to add more strateright in front of us. There are a lot of gic innovation partners in the near future. Our vision of the opportunities today, and if dealers workplace is built to empower dealers by delivering the latest stay within the “imaging” world, they will probably do fine technologies to enable their continued success. by sticking with the basics and doing what they do best — Within the commercial print and industrial print spaces, selling MFPs, printers and managed print services (MPS). new product opportunities continue to move this market However, dealers have an opportunity to exceed expectaforward. Dealers who are not yet participating in production tions by stepping out of the traditional “imaging” world by print have a tremendous growth opportunity to capture. The redefining their approaches. convergence of this market was seen at PRINTING United in One approach is the way dealers prospect — it is very difOctober. Konica Minolta showcased a number of new prod- ferent than what it was a few years ago. The days of the salesucts in strategic growth categories, including high-volume person going out and cold calling is still relevant, however, print production, digital packing and labeling, embellishment that can no longer be the only touch point. Today, research 16 | ­w w w. o f f ic et ec hno lo g y m a g.c om | De c e m b e r 2 0 1 9

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is conducted well before a salesperson from the sale, to the schedule of the degets on the phone or walks through a polivery, to the install and to the followDigital and social media tential customer’s door. A much greater up service — then follow up each cycle need to be taken into percentage of decision makers already with a survey. Close the loop on being consideration as part of have their minds made up well before excellent, and learn directly from your a dealership’s marketing a salesperson is ever brought into the customers what you are doing well and efforts. You can promote decision-making process as a result of what areas require improvement. Do that research, therefore leading to low not settle for average. Provide value to your dealership through success rates from cold calling. Why your customers. This is critical today social media ... is this you may ask? It is pretty simple. and will be more critical in the years Information is all around us; it is everyto come. where. And it is easily accessible through a number of different outlets, especially through digital and social media. Lexmark International Inc. Digital and social media need to be taken into considerSammy Kinlaw, Vice President, ation as a part of a dealership’s marketing efforts. You can Worldwide Channel & OEM Sales promote your dealership through social media and use it Lexmark has dramatically widas a digital prospecting tool to help garner business. For inened its hardware and services ofstance, dealerships could utilize Facebook to target potential ferings in 2019 and we have doubled customers within a specific geographic location. Without our addressable market. That means digital prospecting, a dealer could be faced with challenges there is more to sell and new end usdown the road. Dealers will need to review their future straters to call upon for Lexmark goods egies and adapt to the ever-changing marketplace. and services. However, the market dictates that smart end Prospecting for new business is not the only challenge users are not buying hardware alone based on a commodity a dealer will face; recruiting can be difficult. How do you price. They are looking for more. One of the most significant recruit a 20-something into this industry? Our experience market opportunities that dealers can bring to their dealerhas shown that the younger generation is not interested ships in 2020 is the incorporation of services and solutions, in “selling copiers.” So, do you position your business as a along with competitive pricing to deliver more value to their “copier dealership,” or as an innovative technology com- customers. Partners need to build service solutions and pany that has the hardware and software to help solve a grow their industry expertise to differentiate themselves. It customer’s business-critical needs? Do you see where I am is a theme that has been increasing in 2019 and will congoing with this? tinue to earn even more momentum in 2020. In order to attract talent, your dealership needs to recruit Dealers will face significant challenges in 2020. One of bright, gifted people by positioning your company not only the key challenges is that partners need to adapt and evolve as a technology company, but also as an industry leader. with the print environment. More established partners will Does it have the right corporate culture? Does your office recognize that there are a significant amount of new partlook a certain way and provide special amenities? Or, is your ners in their historically empty swim lanes. The barriers to dealership a less progressive, more traditional company, managed print services (MPS) are coming down and the which seems to be resulting in higher levels of attrition? You market is flat to declining. And, although there are millions should ask yourself: “Is my dealership a place where I would of devices up for grabs, partners with solutions and services want to work?” that separate themselves will be more enviable. Once you attract talented people, what is the next chalWe believe that an industry approach will carry more lenge? Retaining them. Take a look at what your dealer- weight in 2020. Partners and customers expect great prodship offers and make sure it is competitive. Offer training, ucts, competitive pricing and ease of doing business. That is a competitive salary and a clear career path, among other table stakes. What will separate Lexmark from the competiprograms. Position your workplace as an environment of tion are our vertically aligned industry solutions, as well as fun, competition and camaraderie, and a place capable em- our suite of offerings that enable partners to offer MPS to ployees will never want to leave. small-to-medium and mid-market customers. Finally, dealers need to be open when they are looking End users are also asking for secure environments. End to grow their businesses. Try a different approach. Think users who were previously satisfied with on-premise print of Amazon. Focus on selling and providing your customers servers are now looking to the cloud for more security and an exceptional experience throughout the entire process — less complication. Offers like cloud print management 18 | ­w w w. o f f ic et ec hno lo g y m a g.c om | De c e m b e r 2 0 1 9

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(CPM) through the channel should be pockets of high-value print opportuniembraced by both partners and end usties for dealers to attack. While digital displays ers alike. CPM allows secure captureAn example of a penetrable, highand traditional pointand-release print, housed in the cloud, value printing vertical is retail. OKI has of-sale signage play without the complexity of an on-premtaken a leadership position in this mara key role, OKI focuses ise print server. Genius for both. ket by focusing on the technology shifts, on the ability to instantly As the market consolidates and new customer engagement strategies and partners enter the contracted page footprint requirements of retailers. As produce high-quality space, it is more important than ever the market accelerates from traditional in-store signage ... that office technology dealers continue brick and mortar to e-commerce, retailto expand capabilities and efficiencies. ers are investing in solutions to enable We are helping our partners with these initiatives through immediate competitive/trend response, better engagement our Lexmark Industry Advantage program (LIA). LIA ex- with shoppers and to deliver unique in-store experiences. tends Lexmark’s expertise with industry knowledge and While digital displays and traditional point-of-sale sigputs that power in the hands of our partners. We are lead- nage play a key role, OKI focuses on the ability to instantly ers in multiple vertical solutions. These solutions can help produce high-quality in-store signage, such as shelf talkour partners break into new industries. Secondly, our new ers, pricing labels, POS signage and window clings, as well cloud offerings allow partners to better manage print envi- as personalization solutions, such as customized product ronments and fleets via the cloud. This new product offer- labels and packaging solutions. And, we deliver these caing helps our partners save time and the cost of travel while pabilities in the form of compact, high-definition color improving the customer experience. It empowers partners printers that produce rich, high-coverage customer-facing to maintain the print infrastructures of their small and me- signage. OKI dealers are well-positioned to support not dium-sized customers from one integrated tool. only hardware placements, but also deliver the demanding consumables management and on-site service that retailOKI Data Americas ers require. Mark Hansinger, General Manager We also look to trends in the evolving workplace as key & Senior Vice President, Office drivers to secure machines in field (MIF), capture page volBusiness Unit umes and deliver value-added solutions. Take, for example, BTA dealers have always shown OKI’s own workplace transformation. We’ve joined a growan entrepreneurial, innovative spirit ing list of companies that are transforming the “where,” that has enabled them to drive their “when” and “how” employees work. Gone are the days of businesses forward during both cubicle farms, closed-door offices and physical separation strong and challenging economic of departments. Our open-office concept enables cross-deconditions. Over time, dealers have invested in and diversi- partment alignment, improved communication and faster fied their businesses to deliver a broad portfolio of solutions customer response times. As more companies modernize to their customer bases, whether that be managed print ser- their work environments, the opportunity for dealers to devices, commercial/production printing, color management, liver a structured and secure distributed document workIT infrastructure or security solutions. In 2020, we expect flow environment will become more critical. dealers to continue to strengthen their capabilities in these Using our experience as a guide, OKI is positioning dealareas and take full advantage of emerging trends that will ers to succeed by delivering a lineup of compact, highfuel a sustainable growth position. performance A4 printers and MFPs that offer IT-friendly As the overall dealer business portfolio has evolved, deployment and management, enterprise-level security, print has remained the key revenue and margin driver in simplified user engagement and cost-control capabilities. most dealerships. While print consumption in general of- Combined with seamless device monitoring, consumables fice applications has shown a flat to declining trend, the fulfillment and customized product configurations, OKI sodealer’s ability to deliver a trusted, local approach to fleet lutions and our BTA partners are well-positioned to support optimization, proactive maintenance and responsive ser- a distributed deployment strategy. vice will continue to help offset declining page volume and We’re excited about the potential that 2020 brings to the margin pressure. Although companies have been consis- dealer channel and believe that those who continue to emtent in their efforts to reduce paper consumption and in- brace change, innovate and invest will remain well-posicrease digital/automated processes, there remain several tioned for growth in the coming year. 20 | ­w w w. o f f ic et ec hno lo g y m a g.c om | De c e m b e r 2 0 1 9

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market. The days of waiting for a hardRicoh USA Inc. ware cycle to end in order to bring the Businesses today are not Jim Coriddi, latest and greatest technologies into Vice President, looking to dealers just for the workplace are over. This innovaDealer Division technology ... They want tion protects hardware investments Change is not guidance. They want an while showcasing the long-term value stopping any time informed perspective on of working with Ricoh dealer partners. soon. Our core This dovetails perfectly with an where their businesses business is changapproach Ricoh and its Ricoh Family ing. The need to are headed ... Group dealer partners have long pureffectively empower digital workplaces sued: treating a sale as the beginning is key to future success. Because of these of a relationship, not the end of one. To succeed in 2020 reasons, it is now more important than ever for dealers to and beyond, dealers will need to understand and anticiconfidently guide and assist their customers through and pate their customers’ needs better than the competition. beyond their own digital transformations. Today’s customers need partners (dealers) who can deliv- With the support of Ricoh’s marketing strength, dealers er more than print. They need partners who understand how will be ready and able to manage any aspect of the busipeople, processes and technologies shape back-end process- ness that they touch with customers. Ricoh is supportes and front-end success. In short, they need knowledgeable ing dealers with a new level of understanding. That kind dealers in their corners who can help them protect informa- of preparedness can only come from lots of close work tion, manage technologies and connect the endpoints — the with the people and businesses you serve. By talking intechnology, data, applications and people — that form the depth and at length with customers, dealers cultivate an understanding of each customer’s unique needs — and backbones of their businesses. To this end, Ricoh has made working closely with dealers contribute to their own broader understanding of market a central focus for mutual success. Together, we are collabo- segments, evolving trends and the shape of the competitive landscape. rating for customer value. Businesses today are not looking to dealers just for techIt is key for manufacturers to support dealers with curnology — or even just for technology and professional serrent, optimized products. Optimizing current technology is vices. They want guidance. They want an informed perspeckey for dealers to have the ability to invest in their futures. tive on where their businesses are headed, how they could Ricoh is working to integrate products, solutions and serdo better and how the dealer can help. That is the greatest vices to offer dealers a portfolio they have never had before. challenge dealers will face in 2020. A rehearsed talk track Working closely with our dealers, we are clearly underwill not cut it. To succeed, they must put in the work. And standing how and what they need to grow. Ricoh will first they are doing so — in droves. help them optimize their businesses, then help them grow More and more, we are seeing dealers embrace growth their businesses with new offerings, and then Ricoh will strategies for today’s customer demands and tomorrow’s help them plan for their futures with products, processes market requirements — growth strategies that may have and, most importantly, our collective people. seemed unthinkably foreign as recently as five years ago. At a time when the subscription economy has grown From working with vendor partners to develop service ofmore than 300% in the past seven years, customers are deferings, to bringing production print capabilities — democmanding more workflow, less infrastructure and consumpratized by strides in cost efficiency and ease of use — to tion-based solutions. Dealers are going to want to have the broader audiences, ways of doing business are evolving. offerings, infrastructure and relationships necessary to It is an exciting time to be an adaptable, innovative dealer connect customers with the consistent, positive results this willing to bring the dedication, pasexciting space can deliver. Ricoh is offering dealers the platsion and know-how to the table that form, robust workflow and the “How?” for them to jump into it takes to succeed. Are you ready? this business. For example, at the beginning of 2019, we unveiled Sharp Imaging and Ricoh’s Always Current Technology, available on our IM SeInformation Company ries MFPs, which grants end users immediate access to new, of America (SIICA) productivity-enhancing technologies as they are rolled out. John Sheehan, Senior Vice President, A customer can pull down a new workflow solution from the Channel Sales cloud and start using it in the office the same day it hits the 22 | ­w w w. o f f ic et ec hno lo g y m a g.c om | De c e m b e r 2 0 1 9

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NBS / BTA | December 2019

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When I look back at the past two for office technology providers to lock Dealers who aim to years, I am amazed at the tremendous people into a single ecosystem and success that Sharp has experienced. then add their own hardware. This be successful should The BTA Channel has been a very big makes it a challenge for IT managtry to leverage their part of that story. Since Foxconn beers who are trying to marry the new understanding of network came a majority shareholder, we have hardware with their current systems. connectivity to suggest achieved 12 straight quarters of profDealers who aim to be successful ways customers can itability and the past two years have should try to leverage their underbeen among the best that we have exstanding of network connectivity to operate more seamlessly. perienced over two decades. This has suggest ways customers can operate been the case even while the overall more seamlessly. market declined in 2018, and I am happy to report that we The internet of things (IoT) is another network-enabled are currently operating at 116% year-over-year revenue conversation that is top of mind, but no one is going to say growth for FY 2019. that they want to buy IoT from dealers. They are going to Despite this success, the industry is facing some diffi- want smarter offices, smarter meetings, etc. In 2020, dealcult obstacles: units and pages are declining, and equip- ers will face competition from IT vendors for that same ment prices continue to slope on a downward trend. One business, and those who have not built strong relationway that other manufacturers in the industry have react- ships and an aptitude to help with more than just copies ed to this trend is to attempt to purchase additional mar- will not survive. However, the good news is that dealers ket share. However, this has only contributed to pushing who are already in good standing with their customers pricing down to the point where it has hurt the industry. can now leverage those relationships and provide them Additionally, cultural shifts in the workforce are foster- with even more value by partnering with a manufacturer ing significant changes in the way businesses work with that offers connected/IoT solutions that can provide the information. Millennials are now the largest group in the “smart home” benefits and experience they seek within workforce and they are having a dramatic impact on the their work environments. office environment, with trends toward remote workers, shared workspaces, mobility and the desire toward greatToshiba America Business er autonomy. Solutions Inc. With the recent launch of the Sharp Synappx applicaBill Melo, Chief Marketing Executive tions and the upcoming launch of the Windows collaboraBefore providing my thoughts on tion display from Sharp, we are working to address some of 2020, I first want to thank the Toshithe collaboration and smart office needs of the future. Howba team and all of our dealers for ever, in order to succeed, dealers will also need to change all their hard work and accomplishtheir approaches to business by getting away from focusing ments in 2019. Our very successful on hardware pricing and moving toward selling the value of year is directly attributable to their the services they provide. collective effort. In fact, customers want their work technology to be as As the document imaging and printing industry enters convenient as their personal technology. For instance, a new decade, OEMs and dealers continue to create and voice-controlled systems in the home are becoming more implement strategies to offset the decline in office prints. prevalent. When watching a Netflix show or movie on a de- While OEMs and some dealers have developed lines of busivice, you can now just pick it up on another device. The abil- ness outside their traditional offerings, the results of these ity to make all of your technology work seamlessly is now efforts have been mixed. expected in the workplace and the ability to work with the Why are so many OEMs and dealers struggling to sell difcloud is key. ferent products and services? In most instances, it relates Because of the efforts by large technology players such to existing employee skills and the degree to which the cusas Microsoft, end users now have greater access to cloud tomer perceives the dealer as a provider of MFPs and printtechnology and are expecting robust integration with all of ers instead of an office technology provider. their devices. This is a great opportunity for dealers to leHow will dealers expand in the new decade? We beverage their status as trusted document imaging technol- lieve there is still considerable opportunity for growth ogy providers and move toward becoming their custom- in document output and management within the office. ers’ overall trusted technology providers. It is tempting The reality is most dealers have yet to fully leverage the 26 | ­w w w. o f f ic et ec hno lo g y m a g.c om | De c e m b e r 2 0 1 9

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opportunities available within managed Xerox Corp. Therefore, the most print or solutions as they relate to docuMike Pietrunti, ment management, capture, workflow Senior Vice significant challenge for and security. President, dealers is recruiting new Before expanding into entirely new Multi-Brand talent with the skills to lines of business, I first suggest dealers Dealer Channel execute the services-led focus on: Dealers can approach necessary to n Evaluating their current MPS promake their marks grams. A good gauge is whether they are in 2020 by pogrow in the new decade. currently managing more printers (on a sitioning themselves to leverage new cost-per-copy basis) than multifunction technologies that will enable the conprinters (MFPs). If not, there is a lot of room to grow here. tinued expansion of both their equipment and recurring n Making a concerted effort to increase A4 MFP sales. revenue streams. This includes honing their skills in selling If A4 hardware sales are below 20% of your total printing app suites and software solutions to increase their “stickihardware revenue, you are underweighted in this category ness” and expanding their share of wallet within their curand there is likely incremental opportunity. rent customer bases. n Partnering with established document and print manIn addition, it is important for dealers to invest in agement software vendors while assuring revenue from and expand their efforts in developing net-new revenue these services equals at least 10% of your total revenue. streams. This includes leveraging higher-margin print n Hiring dedicated solution sales and implementation opportunities using embellishments like metallics, fluoemployees. The services business is a knowledge business rescents and white/clear; and expanding into the true and it is difficult to excel without knowledgeable people. production market where they can begin to capture sigEven those dealers who focus on document-related nificantly higher page volumes and margins through spegrowth opportunities such as managed print and the docu- cialized media applications. ment solutions listed above still have the challenge of transDealers also need to maintain a clear focus and make forming their business models and developing or recruiting the necessary investments to drive a “30% to 50% net-new new skills. logo” placement strategy to offset the natural churn in their A services-centric company differs from a product sales equipment bases. This can be done by differentiating offerand maintenance company in many important ways. The ings and support with app-based solutions that transform value that a services company provides, its revenue streams, multifunction printers to deliver meaningful improvements customer care model, and the technical and analytical skills for customers’ workflows. required to succeed are substantially different than dealers As we look at 2020, some of the more significant chalare accustomed to. lenges dealers will face include: Therefore, the most significant challenge for dealers is Staff Retention — In today’s hyper-competitive employrecruiting new talent with the skills to execute the services- ment environment, how dealers are positioned to attract and led approach necessary to grow in the new decade. maintain highly talented and well-trained employees is of utIt is likely that as decreasing page output continues, us- most importance. At Xerox, our dealer partners are capitalizers will continue to consolidate devices. And, as organiza- ing on the benefits of knowledge-sharing tools such as Smart tions continue to emphasize security, OEMs and dealers Centre and Showpad, and live, remote online demos to keep providing hardware and solutions with innovative ele- staff members engaged and enable new techniques for endments in this vital area will flourish. Dealerships provid- user presentations. Plus, these sales support tools are well ing hardware and solutions with cloud-based applications aligned and easily assimilated by today’s millennial workforce. to support an ever-increasing mobile workforce should Complacency & Resistance to Change — Dealers need also experience success. to be flexible and intuitive on the dynamics of the marketToshiba looks forward to continuing to provide our deal- place. Customer retention is huge — your base is under coner channel with award-winning hardware and innovative stant attack. What is your unique differentiator? How do solutions as we move into the new year. We will addition- you add value? ally continue supporting our channel with Toshiba’s longMargin Pressure — Dealers are facing a highly competistanding tradition of backing our products and services tive marketplace and margin pressure continues to be a conwith elite-level training to best benefit our channel in the cern. Consider adding value with revenue-producing apps so new year. customers can transform their workflows. 28 | ­w w w. o f f ic et ec hno lo g y m a g.c om | De c e m b e r 2 0 1 9

Cover Story Dec 19.indd 9

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To achieve success in 2020, key priLack of External Image — What is orities for partners should include: your company’s digital footprint? Are Dealers have tremendous n Customer base retention you active on social media? Are you opportunities to prosper n Net-new business expansion through connecting via LinkedIn? If you are not, in 2020 by staying production, managed print services younger customers may pass you by. vigilant to changing and apps Case in point: 75% of the workforce will market trends and n Longer-term growth or exit strategies consist of internet-native millennials n Partnering with the right manuby 2025. making smart, facturer to achieve business goals As we embark on our course for a transformative decisions. Dealers have tremendous opportunisuccessful 2020, Xerox will be addressties to prosper in 2020 by staying vigiing numerous changes and growing delant to changing market trends and making smart, transmands from partners, including: formative decisions. Aligning with the right manufacturer n More device integration to streamline workflows n More security safeguards (a demonstrable ability to that can provide the products, technologies and business tools can also position their teams for suckeep information safe) n More demands for customization and apps that pro- cess. Xerox stands ready to help. n Brent Hoskins, executive director vide unique workarounds of the Business Technology Association, n Higher-level requests about performance and the abilis editor of Office Technology magazine. ity to meet service-level agreements He can be reached at n More requests for mobile connectivity to facilitate reor (816) 303-4040. mote workers

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www.offi cetechnol | De c e mb e r 2019 | 29

Cover Story Dec 19.indd 10

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Capture the Magic BTA West hosts event in Coronado, California by: Elizabeth Marvel, Office Technology Magazine


TA West hosted its Capture the Magic event Nov. 4-5 at the Loews Coronado Bay Resort in Coronado, California. The event featured a keynote address, “Resilience in Action: How to Break Through Obstacles, Stay the Course & Finish Strong,” led by speaker, media personality and author Joel Boggess, as well as a featured session, “Leading Leaders: Inspiring, Empowering & Motivating Teams,” led by retired U.S. Air Force Col. Mickey Addison. The schedule also included five additional educational sessions, time to network with peers and exhibitors, a welcoming reception and a dinner cruise. The additional sessions: “Proactive Prospecting: Converting Interruptions to More Conversations, Opportunities & Revenue,” Tibor Shanto, Renbor Sales Solutions Inc.; “Design & Document Your Compensation Plan to Get the Biggest Bang for Your Buck,” Luis Gonzalez, SalesScoreKeeper; “The A4 Revolution,” Ray Stasieczko, TEASRA, The Innovation Channel; “The Performance Process — Five Keys to Turning Around Your Sales Team,” Troy Harrison, Troy Harrison & Associates; and “The Future of Imaging is ‘Device as a Service’,” Wes McArtor, NEXERA, A BEI Services Company. The exhibiting sponsors: ACDI, AgentDealer, Brother (breaks sponsor), Cargill Consulting Group, CWI, Compass, Continuum, Crexendo, DLL, ECI, Epson, FORZA, FP, GreatAmerica, Green Project, Imaging Solutions Direct, Keypoint Intelligence, Kyocera, Laserfiche, LEAF, Lexmark, Miramar Copies, Muratec, NEXERA, Ninestar, OKI, Panasonic (cruise sponsor), PCS VoIP, RingByName, SalesChain, Sentry File, Star2Star Communications, Static Control, Supplies Network, TAG (breakfast sponsor) TIAA Bank, TonerCycle/InkCycle, Toshiba, Troy, Unitone, WatchGuard, Wells Fargo, Xerox and Zultys. BTA’s next event, Spring Break, will be held March 13-14, 2020, in Orlando, Florida. See the ad on pages two and three or visit www. for information. n Elizabeth Marvel is associate editor of Office Technology magazine. She can be reached at or (816) 303-4060.

Clockwise from top: The Capture the Magic event featured a keynote address, a featured session, five additional educational sessions, plenty of networking time with peers and exhibitors, and a dinner cruise aboard the Adventure Hornblower; 2019-20 BTA West President Dan Bombard serves as the event’s emcee; Craig Fitzpatrick (left) of ECI Software Solutions visits with Mark O’Brien and Valerie Nguyen of Copier Specialists, Irvine, California, during a break; Addison presents his featured session; and Boggess presents his keynote address.

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The additional educational session presenters were (clockwise from top left): Shanto; Gonzalez; Stasieczko; Harrison; and McArtor.

Above photo (left to right): Sandra and Peter Nauditt of Royal Business Systems Inc., Spokane, Washington, visit with Michael Amiri of Continuum during a break between sessions. Left top photo: Kevin Marshall (left) of Copy Link Inc., Chula Vista, California, visits with Shannon Kirby of Signa Digital Solutions, San Diego, California. Left bottom photo (left to right): DJ and Lauren Countess of Inklogic Inc., Newport Beach, California, visit with Jad Attal of Keypoint Intelligence during a break between sessions.

n his educational session, “The Performance Process: Five Keys to Turning Around Your Sales Team,” sales trainer and consultant Troy Harrison addressed areas dealers should focus on in order to improve the quantity and quality of sales rep activity. They are: (1) recognize problems related to the condition of your sales team and be honest with yourself about them; (2) create a culture of engagement for your salespeople; (3) have great sales management, focused on coaching and development; (4) have the right processes, measuring only those things that are important for you to know; and (5) evolve constantly. Among the five, he said: “The absolute most important thing you can do is to create a culture of engagement with your salespeople.” In a culture of engagement “salespeople do the job because they like to do the job,” Harrison explained. “They don’t do the job because they are walking in each morning and you’re hitting them with an electric cattle prod. They do the job because that’s what they do; they enjoy being salespeople.” Unfortunately, Harrison said, Society of Human Resources Management surveys consistently reveal that across all industries only 30% of salespeople report being engaged in their jobs. “Think about that,” he said. “Of the nationwide salesforce, only three out of 10 people say that they are actively engaged in their jobs; that they enjoy their jobs and do their jobs because they want to.” The surveys also reveal that 50% of salespeople are disengaged; “they are just going through the motions,” Harrison said. “These are the people who define mediocrity. They know exactly where that line is between ‘fired’ and ‘not fired,’ and they keep one foot on each side. Disengaged salespeople are not bad people. They’re not trying to hurt you. They’re just not trying to help you.” The remaining 20% of salespeople are “actively disengaged,” Harrison said. “They are trying to hurt you. If they can give your customer information to a competitor, they do it. If they can create bad feelings inside, becoming an ‘internal cancer,’ they do it.” In order to develop engaged salespeople who are “actively interested and motivated to help customers and your company succeed,” there are several necessities, Harrison said. “They have got to love their jobs,” he said, noting that they have to “love selling” — not just making the sale, but also prospecting, appointments, offering proposals, asking questions, handling objections and building relationships. “They have to love all of those activities.” Likewise, Harrison said, engaged salespeople should be passionate about what the products and services offered by the company “can do for their customers.” In addition, he said, they need to “respect” and “believe in” their employer. How does a dealership, then, develop engaged salespeople? Harrison suggested attendees consider the effort they put into engaging customers. “Do you do that with your salespeople?” he asked, advising dealers to sit down with employees regularly to understand how they feel about their jobs. “How do their jobs fit into their life goals? Do you know how their work for you fosters what they want out of life?” Dealers should consider what makes their engaged salespeople “tick” and “then find out what doesn’t make the other people ‘tick’ the same way,” Harrison said. “Then, figure out what you can do to solve the problem ... and that key motivator [for each salesperson]. That could be what you use to keep your salespeople engaged, to keep them excited about their jobs.” n — Brent Hoskins www.offi cetechnol | De c e mb e r 2019 | 31

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Business Inkjet VIP Tour Epson hosts dealers & media in Japan by: Brent Hoskins, Office Technology Magazine


t is clear that Epson is committed to making significant strides in the workplace with micro-piezo inkjet printing. In fact, as a demonstration of that commitment, the company recently hosted 20 dealers and seven members of the office technology industry media in Japan to meet with senior executives and tour the Seiko Epson Corp. factory in Hirooka, one of four Epson factories in Japan. The representatives of the dealer community and industry media were accompanied on the Oct. 29 to Nov. 2 trip by several representatives of Epson America Inc., including: Mark Mathews, vice president of North America commercial sales & marketing; Joe Contreras, commercial marketing executive, office solutions; and Patty O’Brian, director of commercial sales. The trip was referred to as the Business Inkjet VIP Tour. While certain aspects of the discussion during the meeting were under non-disclosure, the primary areas of emphasis of the meeting can be shared. These include: the company’s pursuit of the general office; the benefits of micro-piezo inkjet over thermal inkjet and laser; and the support programs now in place for dealers in the U.S. market. Koichi Kubota, representative director, senior managing executive officer and chief operating officer of the Printing Solutions Operations Division, was the first to address the U.S. guests at the Hirooka facility. He began by sharing information about the history of the company, founded in 1942 as a manufacturer of watches. Today, he said, Epson is a $10-billion company worldwide with nearly 70% of its business comprised of micro-piezo inkjet printers; 17 million of them are produced annually. To date, the company has “sold mainly to consumers and SOHO,” he said. “Now our target is the general office.” Kubota emphasized how Epson has made strides with micro-piezo technology since it was first introduced in 1993. “It was 10 micros; it is now 1 micro,” he said, touting the PrecisionCore Micro TFP Print Chip and describing the thickness of the thin-film piezoelectric actuators on Epson inkjet printheads. “It [now] bends better, providing higher resolution.”

Clockwise from top: The Business Inkjet VIP Tour attendees pose for a group photo upon arrival at the Seiko Epson Corp. factory in Hirooka, Japan; (left to right) Mark Mathews address attendees, following presentations by Naoyuki Saeki, executive officer and general administration manager, Sales & Marketing Division, and Koichi Kubota; traveling via a chartered bus, attendees enjoy a bento box lunch during a stop between Tokyo and Hirooka; Minoru Usui, president and CEO of Seiko Epson Corp., addresses attendees at one of the group dinners; and (left to right) Joe Reeves, Smile Business Products, Sacramento, California, asks a question in a session at the Hirooka facility as John Eckstrom and Michael O’Keefe, R.S. Knapp, Lyndhurst, New Jersey, look on.

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What is micro-piezo printing technolabsolute technology leader,” said John ogy? Contreras provided a description Eckstrom, president of Carolina Business “We’re not going to buy during a post-trip telephone briefing on Equipment Inc., Columbia, South Caroany branches in the Epson’s new brand campaign, “Goodbye lina. “From an office inkjet perspective, near future, probably Laser. Hello Future.” they have clearly broken away from the ever. We are a dealer“We produce silicon wafer print chips,” pack; I think the future belongs to them.” focused channel ... So, he said. “If you were to look at them With the continued development of through a microscope, the micro-piezo is Epson’s inkjet technology, the company you won’t be running a thin crystal film that vibrates when volthas positioned itself “well as a market into us on the streets.” age is applied to it. As the crystal deflects, leader in an arena that, until now, has it acts like a pump to push the ink through shied away from ink,” Eckstrom said. the nozzle. It’s doing that hundreds of times a millisecond.” “With the quality in ink now approaching what once was Throughout the presentations in Japan, there was sig- dominated by the toner world and the cost now becoming nificant emphasis on the fact that Epson’s advanced micro- a value add versus a convenience premium, Epson has posipiezo inkjet technology, PrecisionCore, does not require tioned itself well for the near to midrange future.” heat, unlike thermal inkjet and laser. It was noted that the One of the key benefits of the VIP Tour was the opporlack of heat provides three key benefits: higher-speed print- tunity to gain a better understanding of inkjet technology, ing, lower power consumption and fewer replacement parts. said Kevin Marshall, president of Copy Link Inc., Chula VisEveryone understands that “heat in electronic systems is ta, California. “After seeing the manufacturing processes not good,” Mathews said in his presentation. “There’s a rea- and the quality control standards, I believe Epson is buildson we put coolant in cars, right? There’s a reason we put ing quality products and has the potential to become a mafans on electrical equipment; to get the heat out. So, we are jor player in our industry,” he said. “I believe that Epson will fundamentally different.” gain popularity in the market as it continues to advance and In his presentation, Mathews took the opportunity to introduce inkjet technology. One of the benefits of inkjet is highlight Epson’s dealer sales, marketing and service initia- the reduced environmental impact. This is very important tives. “We’ve made a huge investment in the U.S. infrastruc- to many companies and consumers.” ture,” he said, referring to the U.S. sales organization that Monte Sloan, director of sales for JD Young Co., Tulsa, supports the dealer channel. “A year ago, we had about six Oklahoma, said Epson’s commitment is “very evident” in people. At the beginning of this calendar year, we began ag- the technology and advancements related to the future of gressive recruitment of staff; there are now 33 people.” the industry. “The greatest value that Epson brings is that Mathews cited a range of ways Epson is able to support its it is ‘forward thinking,’” he said. “It doesn’t have a base of dealers, such as: assistance with RFPs; printed marketing toner products in the field that it has to protect, and it has materials; sales rep training; and vertical marketing pro- the technology that allows ink to be affordable and reliable.” grams. He also expressed Epson’s commitment to the dealer Sloan expects a rise in the use of business inkjet in the channel. “We own no branches,” he said. “We’re not going to workplace. “I believe all of the major manufacturers are buy any branches in the near future, probably ever. We are testing and developing business inkjet, so this area will cona dealer-focused channel ... So, you won’t be running into us tinue to grow and the technology will continue to get beton the streets.” ter,” he said. “Most manufacturers already have high-qualiAs he welcomed attendees to Japan during the arrival-day ty wide-format devices that are ink based, so the industry is dinner, Mathews said the primary goal of the VIP Tour was already accepting of the technology.” to raise awareness of Epson, with the hope that attendees Epson is diligently working to add authorized dealers. would tell others of what they had learned about the com- “The target is to have 200 dealers signed by the end of this pany and its products. “I think we definitely accomplished fiscal, March 2020,” Contreras said in his post-trip briefing. that,” Contreras said in his post-trip briefing. “It reinforced “We’re making good headway in that regard. Currently, we that Epson is here to stay, that we’re a formidable player and have just under 180 dealers. So, we’re tracking well in terms serious about this, that we’ve put a lot of investment behind of the number of dealers that we’re signing up. We’re making this part of the business and that we’re going to continue to great progress and that’s a direct reflection of the sales team drive it in the market.” that we’ve put in place and the effort to go out and recruit.” n It appears that dealers hosted by Epson in Japan were Brent Hoskins, executive director of the Business Technology impressed by what they saw and heard. One of the most imAssociation, is editor of Office Technology magazine. pactful benefits of the trip was “to learn that Epson is an He can be reached at or (816) 303-4040. www.offi cetechnol | De c e mb e r 2019 | 33

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Employee Handbooks It is time to review & update this important resource by: Robert C. Goldberg, general counsel for the Business Technology Association


ach year around this time I like to communicate a gentle reminder that it is time to review your employee handbook or policy and procedure manual. Labor and employment laws continue to undergo significant changes at an astonishing rate. As a result, it is important to periodically review and revise your handbook in order to ensure that your policies, practices and procedures comply with applicable laws, and other current obligations and requirements. Once you finally agree that the time has come to update your dealership’s handbook, how do you approach it? Think of your employee handbook as a “best practices” guide that sets forth key expectations for employees, as well as any notices or policies that are required by law. Thus, as an initial matter, it is important to realize that there is no one-sizefits-all approach. Policies that may be imperative for some dealerships are unimportant to others. Generally speaking, employee handbooks should include the policies on the following key topics: equal employment opportunity and non-discrimination/harassment/retaliation; at-will employment; leaves of absence; reasonable accommodations for pregnancy or disability; drugs in the workplace/ drug testing; weapons/violence in the workplace; wages and hours; and discipline. Your dealership may also need policies that speak to safety rules; use of electronic devices; confidentiality; use of social media; dress and appearance standards; and arbitration of employment disputes if you require employees to sign a separate arbitration agreement. It is also important to ensure that your handbook is specifically tailored to the jurisdiction where you do business. State and local governments have enacted laws that impose requirements on dealerships over and above what federal law requires. Most notably, state and local laws have enacted protections for additional groups of individuals (e.g., members of the LGBTQ community) and have imposed additional paid leave obligations on dealerships. Dealerships with multistate operations should be especially careful when reviewing their policies, as something that is a non-issue in one state may land a dealership in hot water in another. For example, California prohibits use-it-or-lose-it vacation policies, while Mississippi does not. If you fail to comply with each state’s requirements, you may unwittingly subject

your dealership to significant penalties. Once you have updated your handbook, you must also distribute the revised version to your workforce and have employees sign an acknowledgement of receipt (or demonstrate an electronic receipt). Then you should ensure that the signed acknowledgement is promptly placed in the employee’s personnel file (or stored electronically in an organized fashion). All too often, dealerships only learn that the signature on a key document — such as the handbook acknowledgement — is missing after trouble arises. Next, review new policies with your managers and staff. And, finally, train management on the application of the policies and uniform enforcement. The end of the year is a great time to establish new, ongoing habits for your organization. If nothing else, setting aside an hour or so during this time of year to review your employee handbook (even if you decide updates are unnecessary) is a best practice. It will ensure adequate communication with your dealership’s workforce, compliance with ever-changing employment laws, and solid evidence that you provide regular training to your management team. But, most importantly, it will reduce your dealership’s risk of a legal claim. n Robert C. Goldberg is general counsel for the Business Technology Association. He can be reached at

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BTA Building My Business Webinar: “What Laws Will I Violate in 2020?” Complying with ever-changing and developing federal, state, municipal and court-issued laws and regulations can be overwhelming. Led by BTA General Counsel Bob Goldberg, this webinar will focus on raising awareness and understanding the key issues and how to address them. Visit to register.

January 20-22 BTA Sales Management Workshop Orlando, Florida The BTA Sales Management Workshop is a career development “must-have” for sales management at all levels. Taught by Kim Ward of Learning Outsource Group (LOG), the workshop focuses entirely on the “how-to” skills that will help each attendee reach his (or her) full potential as a great sales leader and coach, as well as best practices to build and sustain elite, high-performance sales teams. Visit to register. 23-24 BTA Managed IT Services Workshop Coral Gables, Florida Are your managed IT services sales or profitability numbers not meeting expectations? Are you having trouble scaling to the next level? Are you looking for tools that deliver results? No matter where you are in your MSP maturity, the one-and-a-half-day BTA Managed IT Services Workshop will benefit your business and your team. Visit to register.


13-14 Spring Break - Hosted by BTA Southeast Orlando, Florida The Spring Break event, hosted by BTA Southeast, will feature: a keynote address by Judson Laipply, a motivational speaker and dancer who created the “Evolution of Dance” viral video; six additional educational sessions led by industry leaders; time to network with peers and exhibiting sponsors, including during a reception and breaks; and a ticket to spend an afternoon/evening at the Disney theme park of your choice: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios or Animal Kingdom. BTA member dealers receive 2-for-1 registration. Visit to register. 18-19 ProFinance 3.0 Matthews, North Carolina (a Charlotte suburb) Over the last 17 years, the principles of ProFinance have dramatically improved the performance of hundreds of dealerships. Taught by John Hey and Todd Johnson of Strategic Business Associates, ProFinance 3.0 incorporates recent industry changes into the industry model, including benchmarks for MPS. Visit to register. For more information, visit or call (800) 843-5059.

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BTA HIGHLIGHTS BTA would like to welcome the following new members to the association:

Dealer Members BMP Print Solutions, Greensboro, NC BOSS Business Systems Inc., Stockton, CA Copycare Document Solutions, Escondido, CA Current Office Solutions Inc., Bryan, OH MBA Technologies, Hollywood, FL The Office Works, Plainville, CT Vendor Members Y Soft, Grapevine, TX

For full contact information of these new members, visit

BTA Scholarship Foundation Each year, the Business Technology Association (BTA) awards one $3,000, one $2,000, and a number of $1,000 and $1,500 scholarships to qualifying children of full-time employees of dealerships that are current BTA retail dealer members. Since the 1984-85 school year, BTA has awarded 1,470 scholarships to deserving students, totaling $1.664 million. The BTA Scholarship Foundation is supported by continuing contributions from individual dealers, as well as manufacturers and distributors. To contribute to the BTA Scholarship Foundation, visit www.bta. org/Scholarships. To download a scholarship application, visit The scholarship application deadline is May 1, 2020. Visit for more information. For information on BTA member benefits, visit

For the benefit of its dealer members, each month BTA features two of its vendor members in this space. Privately founded in 2000, Y Soft creates intelligent enterprise office solutions that build smart businesses and empower employees to be more productive and creative. Its flagship product, Y Soft SafeQ, is a software platform with three main product areas: print management, document capture and 3D print management. Headquartered in the Czech Republic, the company employs more than 300 people around the world. Its R&D centers are located in Brno, Prague and Ostrava, Czech Republic, but the company operates globally in 17 countries. With a 98% customer partner satisfaction rate, Y Soft has more than 20,000 customers in 120 countries.

The International Imaging Technology Council (Int’l ITC) seeks to unify remanufacturers, distributors, manufacturers and dealers/resellers as members of one organization with common business objectives. The Int’l ITC fosters the growth of its members by representing their interests in legislative and legal matters; advancing product improvement through industry testing standards and other product-enhancement programs; educating its members; and enhancing the image of imaging supplies and related services. A full list of BTA vendor members can be found online at

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Cellphones & Data Usage How are dealers handling these necessities? Compiled by: Brent Hoskins, Office Technology Magazine


ollowing is another of the questions submitted by a dealer member as part of BTA’s Dealers Helping Dealers resource, and several of the answers received. These answers and many others can be found in the members-only section of the BTA website. Visit HelpingDealers. You will need your username and password to access this member resource. Back in the day, we used pay phones. Now just about everyone is carrying a cellphone; most of us are probably using smartphones. Surely many dealers chose to provide cellphones, as not all technicians had them. I still carry two phones — work and personal. For those techs using smartphones, data allowances can be a factor if also using the phone to download manuals, parts catalogs and firmware. My question is: How are other dealers handling this today? I see three options: (1) provide cellphones; (2) pay a monthly stipend to compensate the technicians who must provide their own; or (3) rely on the technician to entirely provide (and pay for) the cellphone. For those dealers who are paying a stipend, a follow-up question would be: How much are you paying? “Our technicians are provided with cellphones. In fact, all of Leppert Business Systems’ employees who are mobile are provided with cellphones. The advantage is we stay current and share the data plan so costs stay down. If a BTA member company employee were to have his (or her) own cellphone, then the company could provide a monthly allowance, but the limitation would be the data plan the individual has in place. So, having a company-provided phone is good for all in my opinion. What a company could do is provide the cellphone and charge back a small fee for data for personal use.” Adrian Smele, business solutions analyst Leppert Business Systems, Burlington, Ontario, Canada “We offer our field techs two options: (1) the company provides a smartphone; or (2) a tech uses his (or her) own smartphone and the company reimburses $50 per month. Most of

our techs choose option two. As a side note: Techs are not allowed to give their phone numbers out to customers.” Tony Steadman, vice president & CFO Stan’s - LPS Midwest, Woodstock, Illinois “We have always felt that it is our responsibility to provide our employees with the technology they need to do their jobs (phones, laptops, tablets, etc). Plus, the data and information they are accessing is our property, so we have administrative rights on their devices that allow us to remotely wipe, lock and/or locate the devices at any time. If you rely on them to provide their own, they would have to agree to give your company access to those devices and the accounts on it.” Ryan Jones, executive vice president & co-owner Advanced Business Systems Inc., Watertown, New York “We provide the phones, along with other ‘tools’ as a benefit of working for us. We also set guidelines for any additional fees associated with one going over his (or her) allotted data use on these devices.” Ken Staubitz, vice president of service and aftermarket support Modern Office Methods, Cincinnati, Ohio “We provide company-paid cellphones for our technicians. This enables us to utilize mobile device technology with our ERP for call feedback time and accuracy. This also supports our streamlined automated call process.” Tom Saliceti, vice president of service & logistics DOCUmation, San Antonio, Texas “We are getting company phones through a company plan. We do this with both service techs as well as sales reps. Not only does it allow us to have full access, but it allows us to keep those numbers in case there is turnover and clients won’t call a number that is no longer associated with us.” Tom White, president & general manager Blue Ridge Copier/Ethos Technologies, Salem, Virginia “Yes, we provide cellphones for our techs. As you are aware, for most, if not all carriers, talk and text are unlimited. When it comes to data, the techs draw from a pool. For the most part, they are allowed a certain amount of data per month. www.offi cetechnol | De c e mb e r 2019 | 37

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Normally, we never exceed the contracted amount of pooled data. Should we exceed the contracted pool, the cost is passed on to the techs with the highest usage. We have techs who regularly exceed what they should use but they are not penalized if, collectively, the pool is not exceeded.” Gladstone Wilkins, service manager HGi Technologies, Miami, Florida

“We view the cellphone as a critical tool to a technician’s success, therefore we are unwilling to be subject to low-budget carriers or faulty phones.”

“We handle our technician cellphones by paying a monthly stipend to compensate the technician, who must provide his (or her) own phone.” Barbara Schmidt, accountant McPherson Business Solutions, McPherson, Kansas “All of our cellphones are through Verizon. We pay $20 per line. Our people are supplied with whatever phones are offered for free, but they can pay the difference and get whatever phones they want. They, in turn, pay us $10 per month, which includes 5GB of data. Anything over that they pay us through payroll deduction. We have a total of 160 phones and, obviously, the more phones you have, the better the rate is. The contracts are three years, and at the end of that they can get free replacements of their basic models or, like before, pay the difference and get nicer ones.” Joe Green, vice president of service Applied Imaging, Grand Rapids, Michigan “We provide cellphones for the technicians. Most of them still carry personal phones in addition to their company-provided cellphones, but all business is conducted on the company phones.” Brantly Fowler, sales manager Zeno Office Solutions Inc., Midland, Texas “We pay a $25-per-pay-period stipend for technicians. We provide phones to salespeople. The reason for that is that technicians tend to ‘disappear’ so we don’t want to lose the hardware. Plus, we find that they are not really interested in the customer information they may have gathered, whereas salespeople are more likely to use the customer information gathered on their cellphones at their next jobs.” Jennifer Stevens, president Southern Business Machines Inc., Evansville, Illinois “We provide the techs with phones. We view the cellphone as a critical tool to a technician’s success, therefore we are unwilling to be subject to low-budget carriers or faulty phones. So, for this reason, we provide the phones and allow personal use so that they can eliminate the cost for a personal phone.

We try to position it as a benefit.” David Polimeni, president & CEO RITE Technology, Sarasota, Florida “We are providing cellphones and we are using Remote Tech from ECI. Our bill is about $220 per month for everyone, which is about five phones.” Ron Rivers, owner Magnolia Business Systems Columbus, Mississippi

“We provide cellphones and sturdy cases on a group plan. If a tech wants to use his (or her) own phone (and not carry a second company phone), that is on him and we do not reimburse — and he has to let us install security on it.” Jeremy Lee, CFO Edge Business Systems LLC, Roswell, Georgia “Woodhull covers 100% of the cost of the phone, as well as the phone plan for the technicians, as they cannot execute their jobs without cellphones. We have a corporate account with a national cellphone provider where we pool all of the phone and data time together. Additionally, because we have a pooled cell plan, we can negotiate items such as free long distance and such.” Susie Woodhull, president & owner Woodhull LLC, Springboro, Ohio “We pay for the technicians’ phones. They are dispatched and close out their calls on them, so it is just one more business tool we provide them, similar to laptops. We have a large geographic area to cover (Washington, Oregon and northern Idaho), so we let them choose either T-Mobile or Verizon, whichever is better in their region.” John Hines, CFO Copiers Northwest Inc., Seattle, Washington “We give a flat monthly expense and they can use that money toward a cellphone, car or anything they would like. We do not issue company cellphones.” Van Seretis, managing partner Premium Digital Office Solutions, Parsippany, New Jersey Do you have a question for your fellow dealers? If so, email it to with the subject line: “Dealers Helping Dealers.” BTA will then share your question with the full dealer membership with a request for guidance from your fellow dealers. n Brent Hoskins, executive director of the Business Technology Association, is editor of Office Technology magazine. He can be reached at or (816) 303-4040.

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‘Smarketing’ GreatAmerica hosts event Oct. 28-29 by: Elizabeth Marvel, Office Technology Magazine


elping dealerships prepare for the future by suggesting that companies align their sales and marketing teams, GreatAmerica Financial Services hosted its “Smarketing: Preparing For Your Digital Transformation” event Oct. 28-29 at the company’s headquarters in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. As part of the GreatAmerica University educational series, the event showed attendees how to bridge the gap between sales and marketing to better compete, enable sales success and capture the digital buyer opportunity. The event consisted of a keynote address, “The Digital Consumer,” by Zach Basner of IMPACT; a dealer panel with Dave Clark and Keven Ellison of Advanced Imaging Systems (AIS), North Las Vegas, Nevada; and seven additional educational sessions: “Building an Effective Marketing Strategy,” with Dominic Pontrelli, Pontrelli Marketing; “Building Trust Through Content,” a Q&A session with Ellison; “The Selling Seven Video Workshop — Types of Sales & Marketing Videos You Need to Create Today,” with Basner; “How Your CRM is the Great Sales & Marketing Alignment Enabler,” with Ed Barfield, AgentDealer; “Using Smarketing to Attract Top Talent,” with Sally Brause, GreatAmerica/PathShare HR Services; “LinkedIn to Win,” with Rick Lambert, Selltowin; and “Pulling it All Together: Building Your Engine for Growth,” with Darrell Amy, Convergo. During “The Selling Seven Video Workshop,” Basner showed attendees a new way to market their companies using video, highlighting the seven types of videos he thinks “allows customers to know us before we even know them.” He also shared a surprising statistic: By 2022, 82% of all consumer internet traffic will be video. If this is the case, dealers will want to take a closer look at creating some of these videos for their companies: (1) The 80% Video — According to Basner, the 80% Video is the first one you should create for revenue generation. It should answer 80% of the questions your customers typically ask during a first meeting. Once this video is ready, you can send it to your prospects to watch before their first meetings. He suggests you address pricing in some way (even if it may be vague or general), introduce several employees, use subjectmatter experts to answer questions appropriate to their positions, and give short, to-the-point answers. (2) Bio Videos — These videos should highlight your employees, giving buyers information about what they really need to know about your people. These can also be used in your employees’ LinkedIn profiles, email signatures, etc. (3) The Cost Video — Basner suggests companies tackle

Basner leads “The Selling Seven Video Workshop.” the cost question in at least one video. He recommends showing what factors into the cost of a product or service; explaining what the sales process will look like; and giving away some kind of tool or resource before asking the customer for anything (e.g., a PDF guide of questions to ask your managed service provider, etc.). (4) Landing Page Videos — These videos are placed on landing pages on your website where you ask potential customers to fill out a contact form. You want to use these videos to reassure customers that you will not spam them with calls and emails once they submit their forms. Instead, tell them they will get just one email and one follow-up phone call. (5) Product/Service Page Videos — These are explanatory videos placed on your product and/or service pages. They should answer the following six questions: What is the product or service? How much does it cost? Why does the customer need it? When does the customer need to buy it? Who is it a good fit for? And how does the customer buy it? (6) The Claims You Make Video — This video addresses the claims you make in your business, for example: “We have the best people” or “We’re different because (fill in the blank).” Use this video to show your customers why you make these claims. (7) Customer/Hero’s Journey Videos — These videos feature your satisfied customers. They should show the problem(s) your customers needed to have solved, what research they did to solve the problem(s), how they found your company as a solution provider, and how your company helped solve their problem(s). Be sure to include what makes their stories unique. n Elizabeth Marvel is associate editor of Office Technology magazine. She can be reached at or (816) 303-4060.

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ConvergX 2019 Ricoh hosts national dealer meeting in Las Vegas by: Brent Hoskins, Office Technology Magazine


n response to the changing nature of the office technology industry and feedback from its dealers, Ricoh USA Inc. took its recent national dealer meeting in a new direction. The general sessions, breakout sessions, and product and services showcase venue — the Dealer Experience Center (DXC) — were all reflective of the need for the strategic thinking and planning that has become Jim Coriddi crucial in today’s marketplace. The meeting, held Nov. 18-20 in Las Vegas, Nevada, drew approximately 650 attendees, including dealership personnel and third-party exhibiting partners. “This is going to be a very different ConvergX; different because it’s all about strategy,” said Jim Coriddi, vice president of Ricoh USA’s Dealer Division, noting that only dealership principals and key executives were invited. “We’re standing in front of a very large window of opportunity ... Together, we need to make some strategic decisions and commit to strategic actions to take advantage.” The focus on strategy was especially apparent in the breakouts, which included such sessions as: “Preparing for Success in the Subscription Economy,” “Leveraging Ricoh Resources to Grow Your Business” and “Sales & Service Workforce Transformation.” One of the sessions, “NexGen Succession Planning and Development,” was for dealership principals only. The DXC featured “business growth neighborhoods” tied to the content of the breakout sessions, “where we’re going to discuss what needs to be done and how we need to do it,” Coriddi said in the opening general session. “We packaged the takeaways from each breakout into actionable [post-ConvergX] programs; we’re expecting you to enroll in the specific program that makes sense for your dealership and/or schedule follow-up meetings with our field team.” In his presentation, Coriddi emphasized that Ricoh is “absolutely committed” to the dealer channel, displaying a chart showing the ratio of Ricoh products placed by dealers versus its direct organization. “Not too long ago, the ratio [of products placed through dealers] was a little over 30%,” he said. “Well, it has grown consistently ... In FY 2019, dealers now account for 48% of Ricoh unit sales. If you look at just the IM Series B2C products, for dealers [the number is] over 50%.” Coriddi said Ricoh has responded to the changing ratio of

dealer placements by strengthening its commitment to dealers. “In 2017, we changed our go-to-market strategy; we established dealers as our primary channel for growing the critical SMB segments,” he said. “We also increased our investments; we expanded the support and resources available to you in the area of solutions and services.” In the opening general session on the second day, Coriddi referenced the increased investments in Ricoh personnel that have been made. “People are as important a component to our overall portfolio as any other element,” he said. “It’s our plan to continue to invest in expanding the skill set and the resources that are going to be required by our people in order to execute the strategies and the programs that we’re going to discuss this week.” For example, Coriddi continued, Ricoh has transitioned its “solution support specialists” roles into “technology solutions consultants” to help dealers become more cloud-focused and address other transformative technologies. In addition, Ricoh has enhanced the staff in the area of production print, he said. “Those are the kinds of things you’re going to continue to see,” he said. “So, when we say we’re going to make some investments, that’s what we’re talking about.” Coriddi also took the opportunity to address concerns resulting from the departure of Ricoh employees in the Dealer Division who recently took “volunteer separation packages,” some of them nearing retirement. “Any of the turnover you’ve seen in the Dealer Division — those roles [employees] are all being replaced,” he said. “It was not about cutting [staff] ... I just wanted to qualify that.” In addition, Coriddi shared information about the company’s growth numbers this fiscal year as compared to the previous fiscal year. “What do the RFG [Ricoh Family Group] results look like on the dealer side?” he asked. “They look good; they actually look very good. In FY 2019, our overall revenue growth is right at 5% growth. Your wholesale equipment purchases — the ones categorized with SMB — are up a crazy 10%.” Looking at unit placements, while monochrome A3 and A4 MFP placements are down about 5%, “so far this year in 2019” A3 color is up 12%, attributed to Ricoh’s new IM Series, Coriddi said. Meanwhile, he said, the “combined performance” on the C7200 and C9200 production series is up 21%. n Brent Hoskins, executive director of the Business Technology Association, is editor of Office Technology magazine. He can be reached at or (816) 303-4040.

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Beware of Ghosts Do not wait for ‘hoped for’ results by: Gil Cargill, Cargill Consulting Group Inc.


nfortunately, ghosts are real. I am not speaking of the supernatural kind but, rather, “sales ghosts,” who are the salespeople who you have hired, paid salaries and expenses to, and worked with for months and months, only to realize that you hired the wrong individuals and that they will never produce the results you desire. The Wall Street Journal has indicated that these ghosts cost as much as $600,000 per incident. Yes, you read that correctly. Every salesperson you hire who does not break even and produce a profit for you will eventually become a ghost and his (or her) involvement in your business will set you back financially. Now, that is not just out-of-pocket salary and expense dollars. Rather (and this is the big and dangerous part of hiring ghosts), it is the cost that the salesperson inflicts on your business as a result of poor performance out in the territory. Any salesperson who has followed a ghost into a territory will confirm that these poorly performing salespeople frequently do a lot of long-term damage to the attitude, morale and appreciation of customers in the territory. As a rookie at IBM, I followed one of these ghosts and many of the customers’ attitudes in regard to IBM had been “poisoned” by his behavior. Those who were not poisoned had a bad perception of IBM and its product line. They frequently said things like: “There’s no need for you to stop by and talk to me. You see, I know everything I need to know about IBM equipment.” The ghost had visited these customers, shared incorrect and/or inaccurate information with them and, tragically, failed to build any value. As a result, the workload for yours truly was higher than it needed to be. The same is happening in your dealerships as we speak. I am willing to bet that more than one reader of this article has a future ghost on his payroll right now. So, if you think that you have encountered the cost of ghosts and/or you have a potential future ghost on your payroll right now, read on through the conclusion of this article, as I will help you avoid repeating this mistake. And, if you have a ghost on your payroll right now, I am going to show you how you can move quickly to minimize the cost and damage that the ghost can and/or may be doing to your business. Let’s start at the beginning. You see, far too many dealers hire people because of gut feelings. I have literally heard a lot of dealers say that they want to hire a person who has a “fire in his belly.” (That fire may be indigestion and can be extinguished with any one of a number of antacids.) Using gut feelings to hire people based on personal likes and dislikes is a

significant contributor to the creation and manifestation of these ghosts. Do not hire people just because you like them. You must learn to hire people based on the attributes that cannot be trained. For instance, a person may be the most likable human being on the planet but, if he does not have the mental agility, DNA and personality profile of a “hunter,” then all of the likability in the world will do nothing but turn that individual into a visitor or an ambassador who will not produce revenue and will cost you a significant amount of dollars. Ghosts not only impact the P&L of a dealership, but they also impact the morale of the dealership principals, as well as the rest of the sales team members. The other salespeople see the ghost getting away with violations that are contrary to the management team’s wishes, but the team is tolerating the ghost because it operates with many ghosts based on the mistaken belief that next quarter will be better. Ghosts have mastered the ability to sell management team members on how great next month or next quarter will be. Once their anxiety regarding the near-term future has been resolved, albeit with a fabrication, their anxiety is reduced and they stop holding the ghost accountable. The second step to reducing the impact of ghosts is to hold all of your team members immediately accountable for the quantity and quality of activity, which you know leads with predictability to profitable revenue generation. The lack of www.offi cetechnol | De c e mb e r 2019 | 43

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then communicating those hopes to you accountability facilitates long-term tenas sound business decisions and logic? You ure on the part of these ghosts. The longer Once you recognize will find that, when you eliminate the hopiyou keep a ghost, the more he costs you; it a potential ghost, um from your forecasting, your sales will is just that simple. cut your losses as go up and the frequency and magnitude of If you do not understand what your team soon as possible. ghosts impacting your P&L — not to menmembers are doing, how they are doing it Go through his tion your peace of mind — will go down. n and with whom, then you are, in all probaAfter concluding a sales and bility, losing money — but you just cannot forecast. Is it reality management career at IBM, Gil Cargill tell where or when. or “hopium”? launched his own consulting practice in Do not wait for that six-month or one1978. He has spent the past 42 years as a year anniversary to take a look at the proconsultant, speaker and trainer, helping thousands of duction of the ghost before you decide to act. Without excepbusinesses achieve dramatic and permanent improvements in tion, activity produces some level of results. Correct activity sales productivity. Cargill has taught salespeople across diverse in the correct quantity and quality will produce spectacular industries the importance of developing sales results. If you are not holding your team accountable for the processes, the advantages of implementing quantity and quality of activity, you are losing out. Again, it is new technology and the benefits of just that simple. tracking sales performance. The last bit of advice I have regarding dealing with ghosts is: He can be reached at (310) 447-4102 Once you recognize a potential ghost, cut your losses as soon or as possible. Go through his forecast. Is it reality or “hopium”? Visit In other words, is he hoping that good things will happen and

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Your Focus Is it on your competitors or your customers? by: Troy Harrison, Troy Harrison & Associates


recently had an interesting conversation where I was talking to a prospective client. Toward the end of the conversation, he said: “You should know that I’m talking to one of your competitors, too. Would you like to know who it is?” I replied: “You’re welcome to tell me if you’d like, but it won’t change my behavior. My offerings are dependent on my clients, not my competitors.” He was surprised by this and I understand why. In sales, we are constantly having our competitors being used as leverage against us by customers who want to gain better pricing, terms, etc., and a potential service provider who will not play that game is anathema to many people. But, why did I say that? Therein lies a window into my philosophy, as well as some hard questions you might want to ask yourself. I find that too many companies inordinately focus on their competition rather than their customers. This manifests itself in any number of ways and following are some of the most common. Pricing: When a sales manager demands to know “who we’re up against” before issuing pricing, you have a problem. I have seen that in a number of my clients and I always ask the same question: “Why?” Dithering over pricing based on your competition is one of the dumbest — and least customer-friendly — things you can do. You know what your costs are. You know what your acceptable profit margin is. You also know — or should know — what the common market pricing for your services is. So why not offer a deal you are comfortable with? If your pricing is dependent on having fewer competitors for the business, are you not incenting your customers to bring in multiple vendors? Hiring: There are certain industries where the “competitor hire” is way too common. Instead of having the courage to hire people from outside their industries and growing their own talent, company managers decide they should hire salespeople from their competitors. The problem with this approach is obvious — they seldom, if ever, get their competitors’ top people. Usually they get the people their competitors are glad to get rid of, which makes the competitors stronger and the hiring companies weaker. Competitor hires, in my experience, have about a 90% fail rate. Marketing: One aspect of social media marketing that has become prevalent is what I call “reactive marketing.” This happens when a sales manager, marketing director or even a company president spends significant time monitoring the social media posts of direct competitors. On the face of it, this is not

a bad thing; the problem comes in when the person makes the bulk of his (or her) postings reactive, rather than proactive. For instance, Company X posts that it has some sort of a special on machine Y. Competitor Z then posts a different special on machine A to try to “combat” Company X’s marketing. The problem with this is that Competitor Z is letting Company X set its agenda. This can also happen during a sales call when all of the salesperson’s positioning is designed to go up against a competitor’s features, benefits, specs, etc. Proposal Presentation Strategy: I was recently presenting a training program when a salesperson said: “I always like to be the last person to present my proposal; that way they have everyone else’s numbers when I go in.” Seriously, what difference does that make? From a strategic perspective, I actually prefer to be first, for a couple of reasons: (1) The first person to propose is the first person to have the chance to close — and I have seen (and sold) many deals where the second person in never had a shot because the first person got the business. (2) If you are trying to communicate to your customer that you will have a sense of urgency in servicing his business, why not demonstrate that by exhibiting that same sense of urgency in proposing the business? Your Offering: I see many companies and sales teams that want to alter key pieces of the offering, such as product specs, service frequencies, contract terms and more, based on who their competitors are for a given deal. This makes no sense. Value and solutions are driven not by your competitor, but by your customer’s needs. Focus your offering on solving your www.offi cetechnol | De c e mb e r 2019 | 45

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The key is to not let your competitors — customers’ needs and your competitors even your toughest competitors — set your will become irrelevant. The key is to not let your agenda for you; if you do, you are in trouble The problem with all of these approachcompetitors — even your — and your customers will know it. es — and other competition-dependent toughest competitors Here is the best strategy for dealing sales tactics — is that you are allowing your — set your agenda for with your competition: Act as the best competitors to set the agenda and the rules you; if you do, you are possible version of you. Focus on your cusof the game. One of my favorite sayings is: tomers and their needs. And act as if your “You can’t beat your competitors if you’re in trouble — and your competitors do not exist; you will be surtrying to be your competitors.” When you customers will know it. prised how often this becomes a self-fulare as reactive to your competitors as in filling prophecy. n the examples above, you are simply trying Troy Harrison is the author of “Sell Like You Mean It!” to be a less-effective version of your competition. And, worse, and “The Pocket Sales Manager,” and is a speaker, your customers will sense it. consultant and sales navigator. He helps Now, are there times when competitive selling is importcompanies build more profitable ant? Sure. For instance, if the customers of one of your comand productive sales forces. petitors suddenly start informing you of service problems that To schedule a free 45-minute Sales Strategy your competitor is having (with resultant dissatisfaction), you Review, call (913) 645-3603 or might want to put together an attack on that competitor — as email long as it does not distract your salespeople from building proVisit ductive funnels. Sales blitzes can be a great short-term tactic.


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