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CONTENTS Volume 13 No. 3
FEATURE ARTICLES 10
Security Solutions Protecting documents from unwanted eyes
COURTS & CAPITOLS Looking to the Future Do you have a succession plan for your dealership?
by Brent Hoskins, Office Technology Magazine
by Robert C. Goldberg, BTA General Counsel
Perhaps the primary catalyst leading to today’s emphasis on security within the office technology industry was the arrival of the data security kit, first introduced by Sharp in 2001. Today, helping customers avoid the risk of document and data security breaches at the MFP extends well beyond the security kit. A growing number of security solutions are now offered. Representatives of leading hardware and software companies and a highlyregarded dealership share their insight and advice for those who want to learn more about security solutions.
Small business owners need to ponder the consequences to their companies of illness, accident and, finally, death. Careful and timely development of a succession plan can create a smooth and profitable transition.
PRINCIPAL ISSUES Promoting Your Dealership You need to reach a large number of prospects
by Jim Kahrs, Prosperity Plus Management Consulting Inc.
Mentoring Sales Reps It is time to spend more time in the field
One key concept that was used by the most successful dealers during the 1980s is still proving fruitful for successful dealers today. They are promoting their dealerships on a broad scale — and increasing gross income.
by Jim Strauss, Motive8s Inc.
Among all the different approaches to people development, the one that stands out as the most successful is mentoring. Mentoring is not coaching. Coaching is when you work with a team. Mentoring is when you work with an individual. There is no doubt that the most successful people in the office technology industry were mentored by individuals who saw potential in them. It is time to begin mentoring your people in the field to build success.
New Name, New Direction Baltimore’s CENTRIC positioned for the future by Dustin Phillips
Changing a business name is not easy even though many firms throughout the United States are doing it without much resistance from the market. There are financial commitments and perceptions that have to be considered when you change a name. Then, there’s the time, energy and additional financial commitment required after the change to brand and create an identity for the new name. Here’s a look at how Baltimore’s Copy World faced these challenges, emerging as CENTRIC. 4 | www.of ficetechnologymag.com | September 2006
Close-up: Panasonic OEM revamps its overall training curriculum
by Steve Mullin, Panasonic Digital Document Company
In the past, Panasonic has not done enough to make reps think of Panasonic first. Since creating greater mindshare comes down to education, the OEM has totally revamped and enhanced its overall training curriculum.
DEPARTMENTS Business Technology Association
September-October Education Calendar BTA Membership Application
Executive Director’s Page
BTA President’s Message
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Download the 2006 BTA Service Report
6 | www.of ficetechnologymag.com | September 2006
cians? (A) 6 (B) 7 or (C) 8. (3) As noted above, the median annual service revenue per service employee is $128,471. What is the median annual service revenue for field technicians? (A) $150,000, (B) $201,000 or (C) $175,670. (4) What is the median car stock? (A) $1,500, (B) $3,000 or (C) $4,000. (5) In terms of the distribution of the technician’s time, one task accounts for 20 percent of that time. Which is it? (A) Repairing equipment/hardware, (B) Technical training or (C) Traveling. (6) In terms of the distribution of the service manager’s time, one task accounts for 20 percent of that time. Which is it? (A) Employee relations, (B) Planning or (C) Repairing equipment/hardware. (7) What percentage of respondents provide incentive plans for their technicians? (A) 72 percent, (B) 82 percent or (C) 92 percent. (8) What percentage of respondents provide incentive plans for their service managers? (A) 68 percent (B) 78 percent or (C) 88 percent. (9) The median call time is 63 minutes. What is the median drive time per call? (A) 20 minutes, (B) 25 minutes or (C) 30 minutes. (10) The median number of units in the field is 1,700. What is the median number of machines under contract? (A) 840 machines, (B) 1,125 machines or (C) 1,439 machines. The answers appear at the end of this column. How do your numbers compare to the numbers revealed in the survey results? Download your copy of the report today. And remember, it is free to BTA members. — Brent Hoskins Answers: (1) B; (2) C; (3) A; (4) C; (5) C; (6) A; (7) B; (8) A; (9) B; (10) C.
’m pleased to announce that the 2006 BTA Service Report is now available to BTA members for download on our Web site, www.bta.org. Just click on “Research” in the menu, and then “Benchmarking Reports.” I’m confident that you will find the results both interesting and helpful. The report provides service benchmarks in several categories including profitability, personnel and product. All benchmarks (median figures; mid-point between lowest and highest) are reported in five dealership revenue categories, ranging from less than $1 million to more than $10 million. There are also median figures for all respondents. For example, the report reveals that in the “less than $1 million revenue” category, the median annual service revenue per service employee is $55,417, while the median annual service revenue per service employee among all respondents is $128,471. To provide you a glimpse of a portion of the numbers revealed in the survey results, following are some of the findings — in the form of a short quiz. In each question, the numbers reflect the results from all respondents, not just one dealership revenue category. Can you score a perfect 10? (1) The report reveals the median annual revenue (again, for all respondents) is $3.5 million. What is the median annual service revenue (not including supplies) for all respondents: (A) $1,700,000 (B) $1,100,000 or (C) $900,000. (2) The median number of service employees (not including dispatchers) is nine. What is the median number of field techni-
Executive Director/BTA Editor/Office Technology Brent Hoskins email@example.com (816) 303-4040 Contributing Writers Robert C. Goldberg, General Counsel Business Technology Association Jim Kahrs, Prosperity Plus Management Consulting Inc. www.prosperityplus.com Steve Mullin, Panasonic Digital Document Company www.us.panasonic.com Dustin Phillips Jim Strauss, Motive8s Inc. www.motive8s.com
Business Technology Association 12411 Wornall Road Kansas City, MO 64145 (816) 941-3100 www.bta.org Member Services: (800) 505-2821 BTA Legal Hotline: (800) 869-6688 Valerie McLaughlin Membership Marketing Manager firstname.lastname@example.org Gary Hedberg Accounting Manager email@example.com Mary Hopkins Accounting Clerk firstname.lastname@example.org ©2006 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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BTA PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE ®
Join Us At The ‘Fall Colors Conference’
n my many years as a member of the Business Technology Association, I have attended numerous BTA meetings, conferences and trade shows. These events always provide two invaluable benefits — the opportunity to attend some great education sessions and the opportunity to network with my fellow dealers. If you have been a member of BTA for any length of time, you are well aware of the rewards one receives by attending such events. You may not be aware that the next BTA education and networking event is coming up. The BTA Southeast District will be hosting its annual “Fall Colors Conference” Oct. 20-21 at the Waynesville Country Club Inn in Waynesville, N.C. This event will offer everything you enjoy in a BTA conference. On Friday evening, Oct. 20, there will be a Welcoming Reception, allowing attendees to catch up with old friends and meet new ones. The conference continues on Saturday morning, Oct. 21, with its education sessions line-up, beginning with “A Successful, Proven Plan for Sales Success,” presented by Jim Kahrs, president of Prosperity Plus Management Consulting Inc. (PPMC). Jim’s session will address the challenges of building a successful sales team. The plan he will present will help you take control of your sales department and better position your dealership for growth. If you have not met Jim in the past, you will quickly find that his many years of experience in our industry lend a great amount of creditability to the guidance he will share. He has been recognized as a top sales pro8 | www.of ficetechnologymag.com | September 2006
ducer, sales manager and executive. Prior to forming PPMC, Jim served at Monroe Systems for Business, Savin Corp., Mita Copystar and Carr Business Systems. The morning’s second session, “Recruiting & Staffing,” will be presented by Jim Strauss, president of Motive8s Inc. He will present strategies that will help attendees to implement an ongoing, effective system of rewarding, training and retaining top performance salespeople. Jim is a veteran of the office technology industry as well. He began his long career as a down-the-street sales rep for one of the most successful independent dealerships in the Midwest, ultimately serving in major account sales and sales management. With more than 15 years in sales management, Jim has managed teams of five, 10 and even 50-plus sales reps. Later, Jim held a position as a general manager for a Fortune 500 firm, responsible for an operation of more than 250 employees, producing more than $45 million in annual sales. The education sessions line-up ends with “The Advantages of BTA Membership,” copresented by BTA Executive Director Brent Hoskins and National BTA Vice President Ronelle Ingram. Perhaps you are not taking advantage of all that BTA has to offer. Brent and Ronelle will walk us through the benefit line-up via the BTA Web site. The “Fall Colors Conference” will conclude Saturday evening with a dinner. I encourage you to consider joining us in Waynesville. For registration details, visit www.btasoutheast.com or call (800) 2348996. Did I mention that the beautiful Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountains will be right outside the door? — Dan Hayes
2006-2007 Board of Directors President Dan Hayes Purcell’s Business Products 222 E. 1st St. Campbellsville, KY 42718 email@example.com President-Elect Shannon Oliver Copier Source Inc. 215-G Industrial Ave. P.O. Box 36395 Greensboro, NC 27406-4542 firstname.lastname@example.org Vice President Ronelle Ingram Steven Enterprises Inc. 17952 Sky Park Circle Ste. E Irvine, CA 92614 email@example.com BTA East Thomas Chin Accolade Technologies LLC 604 Hampshire Road Mamaroneck, NY 10543 firstname.lastname@example.org BTA Mid-America Mike Blake Corporate Business Systems LLC 2018 S. Stoughton Road Madison, WI 53716 email@example.com BTA Southeast Bill James WJS Enterprises Inc. 3315 Ridgelake Drive P.O. Box 6620 Metairie, LA 70009 firstname.lastname@example.org BTA West Rock Janecek Burtronics Business Systems Inc. 216 S. Arrowhead Ave. P.O. Box 1170 San Bernardino, CA 92408 email@example.com Ex-Officio/General Counsel Robert C. Goldberg Schoenberg Fisher Newman & Rosenberg Ltd. 222 S. Riverside Plaza Ste. 2100 Chicago, IL 60606 firstname.lastname@example.org
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Security Solutions Protecting documents from unwanted eyes by: Brent Hoskins, Office Technology Magazine
ince Jannelli recalls a program he recently watched on Home and Garden Television. A security expert (a former burglar) was demonstrating how vulnerable a particular home was to burglary. Viewers were shown that it was easy for the expert to get into the home while the owners were away. “The expert then came back and said to the owners, ‘Ok, this is what you need to do to burglar-proof your home,’” says Jannelli, associate director of applications and partners for the Product Management Group of Sharp Document Solutions Company of America (www.sharp usa.com). “The security expert agreed to come back and try to break in again. The homeowners had implemented all of the security that was recommended, but the ‘burglar’ was able to re-enter the house a second time. How? The daughter had left a window open on the second floor.” What does the premise of the television program have to do with the office technology industry? Plenty, says Jannelli, if one thinks of the home as a business’ network and the daughter’s second floor window as an MFP linked to that network. “That’s why security systems are so important,” he says. “Everyone should be concerned about it. When you attach an MFP to a network, you want to make sure it is secure — that the ‘window has a lock’ and that it is ‘plugged into the security system.’” Unfortunately, it appears, many people still do not recognize that a business’ confidential information can be vulner10 | w w w . o f f i c e t e c h n o l o g y m a g . c o m | S e p t e m b e r 2 0 0 6
able at the point of the MFP. “IT personnel care about security and worry about it every day with all of their network end points,” says Bill DeStefanis, director of product management for eCopy Inc. (www.ecopy.com), which offers various security capabilities in its scanning solutions. “However, our experience is, they often overlook the MFP devices dealers are selling, not thinking of them as an avenue to a potential security breach.” Trevor Akervik, a sales manager at Marco (www.mar conet.com), a Sharp, Konica Minolta and Hewlett-Packard authorized dealership based in St. Cloud, Minn., offers a similar observation. “When we go in and talk to IT people, for sure they are securing their computers and networks,” he says. “But when you start talking about security on output devices, sometimes you get funny looks.” Of course, despite any comments regarding the endusers who remain unaware that unsecured MFPs can pose a risk, many others are very aware of the risks and have taken action. Manufacturers and dealers have helped them do so for several years with such features as secure printing, requiring a password to retrieve printed documents from an output device. However, perhaps the primary catalyst leading to today’s emphasis on security within the office technology industry was the arrival of the data security kit, first introduced by Sharp in 2001. Such kits are designed to protect data on the hard drive and in the RAM and ROM of an MFP through encryption and data overwrite. The
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legislation) and the Sardemand for the kits, now “When talking to banes-Oxley Act (corporate offered by several MFP customers ... we note that accounting and finance legOEMs, has steadily in70 to 75 percent of all islation). In each case, tocreased. “The number of day’s MFP security features Sharp Data Security Kits we used machines are sold can assist end-users to now sell in a month, we overseas. We suggest that assure compliance with such were selling on a fiscal basis customers take into regulatory legislation. OEM when the kit was first introconsideration what’s going representatives emphasize, duced,” says Jannelli. “I to happen to their MFP when they trade it in.” however, that MFP security would say, from a unit ratio, — Eric Casteel features can only assist endprobably 15 to 20 percent of Marco users in complying with our MFPs are sold with one HIPAA, etc. “No vendor can of our Data Security Kits.” make somebody compliant,” says Jannelli. “We can only help Why is this level of security necessary? Akervik shares a story that leads one to consider the possible risks. “After them to be in compliance with the legislation.” Today, helping customers avoid the risk of document and Sharp introduced its security kit solution to us, we decided to do a test on one of our customer’s MFPs to see how vulner- data security breaches at an MFP — in regulated industries able it was,” he says. “With the approval of the customer, we and otherwise — extends well beyond password protection used some data recovery software to retrieve information off or even the implementation of a data security kit. A look at the hard drive of the MFP. We found that we were able to pull the line-up from Kyocera Mita America, for example, illustrates the growing scope of security-related technology. On off and print some of the customer’s financial statements.” Eric Casteel, another sales manager at Marco, further the network security side, the offerings range from a secure emphasizes the need for a clean hard drive. “When talking network interface card, controlling unauthorized device to customers about security, we note that 70 to 75 percent of default changes as well as keeping anyone from accessing all used machines are sold overseas,” he says. “We suggest information stored on the card, to the use of IPv6 Protocol, a that customers take into consideration what’s going to new Internet protocol providing greater privacy and security. On the physical security side, beyond its data security happen to their MFP when they trade it in.” Sharp’s Jannelli echoes the comment. “Consider all of kits, the OEM’s offerings range from a USB host interface, these MFPs that are coming off lease,” he says. “Essentially, allowing documents to be printed in a secure and portable you have a hard drive on each one leaving the premises. manner, to the KX Driver Security Watermark, allowing What’s on that hard drive? Something as simple as an over- users to distinguish original documents from copies, to help combat unauthorized distribution of documents. write can mitigate that risk.” Perhaps the most talked-about recent advancement in Are people with malicious intent actually retrieving data from hard drives of used equipment or through hacking MFP security is the release of PDF encryption. “In the past, into MFPs that are in use? Or, are they somehow stealing you would scan a document at the MFP and wherever it data from within MFPs by some other means causing com- ended up as a PDF, the recipient would just click to open panies harm? “I’ve never heard of it actually happening,” it,” says Cassidy. “We’ve introduced an option that allows says Bill Cassidy, associate director of product marketing us to put PDF encryption right at the scanning level, either for Kyocera Mita America Inc. (www.kyoceramita.com) 40 bit or 128 bit, so that the recipient will need a password “But, for a lot of companies, the possibility that it could to open the PDF. Both encryption and compression are built into the kit.” happen is too great a risk.” In a typical scenario, says Cassidy, you would send the Of course, in many cases, avoiding or eliminating any risk of document and data security breaches — malicious or not encrypted PDF to a recipient via e-mail. “With a second e— is mandated by the federal government. By now, all mail or communication you would give the recipient the dealers are familiar with such regulatory legislation as the password,” he explains. “So, you are not only encrypting the Health Insurance Portability and Assurance Act (HIPAA), the document, but by having two separate communications, you Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (financial services industry are adding two levels of security.” 12 | w w w . o f f i c e t e c h n o l o g y m a g . c o m | S e p t e m b e r 2 0 0 6
Kyocera Mita America is scanned file,” he explains. “With the MX series, not alone in offering the new “However, if you encrypt it we have introduced ... feature. “With the MX series, — perhaps it’s the compenencrypted PDF. So, the we have introduced a numsation plan that you didn’t ber of standard features, mean to send to all emuser has the ability, right including encrypted PDF,” ployees — it now requires a from the MFP, to create says Sharp’s Jannelli. “So, the password to open it. We’ve a scan and the file user has the ability, right used this benefit as a seculeaves the MFP already from the MFP, to create a rity value-add.” encrypted, as a standard feature.” scan and the file leaves the Akervik cites another — Vince Jannelli, Sharp MFP already encrypted, as a solution offered by Marco Document Solutions Company of America standard feature.” that he says provides a parBeyond the primary purticularly unique level of pose of providing a specific recipient or group of recipients a document security — AirZip FileSECURE, from AirZip Inc. secure document, Casteel notes an additional benefit of PDF (www.airzip.com), available to Sharp dealers. Marco encryption. “I’ve seen situations where someone scans some- recently installed the solution in a financial institution. thing and inadvertently hits the global address book and a “The tools allow the banking facility to send its loan docuPDF goes to all employees who are then able to read the ments, which contain private and sensitive information,
w w w . o f f i c e t e c h n o l o g y m a g . c o m | S e p t e m b e r 2 0 0 6 | 13
can help build credibility. from Minnesota to Florida,” “We came up with a “Every product line that he explains, noting that the solution so that if a person they are carrying has very files are encrypted. “The is working on his PC and good capabilities relative sender gives the recipient to security,” he says.“So, just rights, such as ‘you can only sends a document to the to position themselves as read this,’ ‘you can’t print printer at the end of the knowledgeable thoughtthis’ or ‘you have this for hall, it will be held until he leaders when speaking to IT two hours and then it will places his finger in the professionals, I would advise disappear from your inbox.’ finger print reader attached to the printer.” reps to talk about security.” In addition, the recipient Gary Bradt Similarly, Cassidy notes has to have a password to silex technology america Inc. that emphasizing security open the file. So, if it goes to solutions helps to set sales the wrong person, that reps and their dealerships apart from the competition. “If person can’t do anything with it. In fact, the recipient can’t you can help a customer secure their environment, secure even see it.” What other document and device security solutions a document and secure a scan, then you’ve basically done might dealers and their customers want to consider? One for that customer something that, perhaps, no one else is possibility may be a solution offered by silex technology doing,” he says. “You want to build customers for life, since america Inc. (www.silexamerica.com). For the past year, there is a finite number of them out there. By providing the company has offered SecurePrint, described by the them something that is a value-add and something they company as “a biometric-based network printing solution cannot live without in the workplace, that’s huge.” How should reps pursue opportunities in security soluto deliver the highest security for printing sensitive documents.” The solution allows the user to send a document to tions? What are the key strategies? Among the ideas a printer where the job is held until he (or she) places his shared by the individuals interviewed for this article: Start with the obvious prospects. As noted, any industry finger on the fingerprint reader at the printer. that is regulated by legislation related to document and Gary Bradt, vice president of silex’s Biometrics Division, describes how many users are accustomed to using pin data security is a prime candidate for MFP security solucodes to retrieve print jobs, but often post those codes near tions. “There are really three industries where we see the the print device in case they are forgotten, precluding the most interest — financial, medical and education,” says benefit of the security feature. “We got to thinking about Casteel. “That doesn’t mean that security is going to be the this and asked ourselves, ‘What would be a better way to deciding factor, but these industries are the primary ones ensure that the right document gets to the right person — that we see showing interest.” Emphasize ease of implementation. Sales reps need to and only to the right person?” he explains. “We came up with a solution so that if a person is working on his PC and assure prospects that security implemented at the MFP sends a document to the printer at the end of the hall, it will device “plugs automatically” into whatever system is in be held until he places his finger in our fingerprint reader place, advises DeStefanis. “IT professionals don’t want to hear that they have to do something different,” he says. attached to the printer.” Bradt says the solution, available to dealers, has been “They will say, ‘I already built a security infrastructure. I well received in a number of industries where a high-level only want office equipment products that will leverage our of document security is important. “We’re finding that security environment. I don’t want to create a new one.’” Associate MFPs with networks and PCs. Jannelli suggests people are actually using this as a selling tool to get themselves into accounts that they were not in before — to reminding prospects about today’s concerns regarding broaden their scope,” he says. “This has become a won- digital documents, such as intellectual property theft and even identity theft. “Because information is now digitized derful tool for them.” Others would agree that document and device security in and more accessible, there is a need to invest in IT security,” general is fast becoming an important selling tool that all he explains. “You can essentially say to the customer, ‘You sales reps should utilize. DeStefanis notes that doing so have firewalls, you have passwords, you have people log in to 14 | w w w . o f f i c e t e c h n o l o g y m a g . c o m | S e p t e m b e r 2 0 0 6
“Security can get very complex ... Sales reps should demystify their security solutions ... saying, ‘We have it and it works the way other security systems work, with which you are familiar.’ I would keep it simple.” — Bill DeStefanis eCopy Inc. get particular information. So, when adding an MFP to the network, you will want to make sure you are not opening a hole in that which you’ve already invested to close.’” Keep it simple. “Security can get very complex when you get down to the bits and bytes,” says DeStefanis. “However, generally speaking, it is a well-known technology. It is used on the desktop every day. Sales reps should demystify their security solutions by basically saying, ‘We have it and it works the way other security systems work, with which you are familiar.’ I would keep it simple.” Incorporate security into the solution sales process. As the industry continues to make its transition to solution sales and away from box sales, make security a part of the value proposition, says Akervik. “At Marco, we take a consultative approach to sales using a comprehensive evaluative process we call I-Link,” he says. “We go into an organization and try to understand their applications, who they communicate with, what their risks are and the types of information they have. We then put together a comprehensive analysis — and document security is one of the four components in that analysis.” Making security a part of Marco’s analysis only makes sense, says Akervik. “The MFP is evolving so much and there are so many things happening at the device that people are becoming aware that this is a communications device, not just a copier or printer anymore,” he says. “They are saying, ‘If we are communicating from it, then we need to be able to protect our data and documents at that device.’” Brent Hoskins, executive director of the Business Technology Association and editor of Office Technology, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. w w w . o f f i c e t e c h n o l o g y m a g . c o m | S e p t e m b e r 2 0 0 6 | 15
Mentoring Sales Reps It is time to spend more time in the field by: Jim Strauss, Motive8s Inc.
mong all the different approaches to people development, the one that stands out as the most successful is mentoring. Mentoring is not coaching. Coaching is when you work with the team. Mentoring is when you work with an individual. There is no doubt that the most successful people in the office technology industry were mentored by individuals who saw potential in them. It could have been the person’s father who started the family business years ago or a sales manager who saw potential in the young salesperson. In each case, special attention was given to the individual, showing him (or her) the way to success and how to make decisions in order to one day take the mentor’s place. Ultimately, isn’t this why people are mentored? So that the master can be replaced by the apprentice? When working with outside salespeople, field time is a great form of mentoring. It is so important when developing people. Recently, a young sales manager told me that he took my advice and began holding monthly individual meetings with each of his team members. He told me that his people are very receptive to the meetings. Why? Because they look forward to the one-on-one attention. In his past, as a sales rep, the manager said he looked forward to similar meetings with his own manager for the same reason — individualized attention. 16 | w w w . o f f i c e t e c h n o l o g y m a g . c o m | S e p t e m b e r 2 0 0 6
For many sales managers, it seems that there are so many people to serve and so little time to serve them. We tend to manage things more from the group perspective than from the individual perspective. Sure, sometimes this is the most efficient way to manage, but on occasion (strategically) it is important to give attention to the individual — to mentor instead of to coach. Our people have to be successful in the field. Let’s face it, this is where the rubber meets the road. One of the things that makes selling office technology solutions such a challenge is that it requires mastering multiple steps of the sales cycle. Salespeople in this industry do not just close or prospect, they have to complete all aspects of the sales cycle. They have to understand and have some form of territory management strategy. They have to master prospecting, qualifying, closing, customer retention and more. Each one of these steps has to be learned and mastered in order to be successful. It is important that sales managers truly appreciate how well their people perform in each of the sales cycle steps. If you feel that this can be done from the desk, you are misguided. The only way to do this is to observe your people in the field. It is also important to appreciate the dynamics of the marketplace and make sure that your people who have mastered the steps of the sales process are adapting to the marketplace.
Excuses, Excuses gets out to the rep. If you go to work ... as Why donâ€™t we spend a good amount Sound familiar? If so, perhaps in a â€œfireman,â€? waiting for of time in the field with our people? your case weeks often turn into the fire bell to ring or There are several reasons: months until one day you find you â€œI donâ€™t plan well.â€? Letâ€™s face it, poor have time for a full day with a rep (if he chasing one thing after planning is a big reason we do not is still with you). Only then do you disanother, it is difficult to spend time in the field with our people; cover that the rep is struggling at a find yourself in the field with all the things that come at us each skill that he should have mastered long with your people. day, we can keep pretty busy. Unfortuago. If you had planned full days with nately, this reactive behavior perpetuthis rep and your other reps, taken ates more problems! If you go to your work each day as a care of the other fires early or late in the day or better yet, â€œfireman,â€? waiting for the fire bell to ring or chasing one delegated them to others on your staff, you would have thing after another, it is difficult to find yourself in the field eventually developed self-reliant, effective salespeople and with your people. life would be a lot easier. Too many times I have seen this scenario: The sales â€œIâ€™m afraid of failure.â€? Sometimes I wonder if sales manmanager is inundated in the morning with all kinds of agers and sales executives avoid working in the field with pressing issues and tells the rep that he will join him in the their salespeople because of fear â€” a fear that their salesfield later in the afternoon. However, as the morning keeps people will see them fail. That is, the rep will see the producing more and more fires, the sales manager never manager fail at doing what the salesperson is expected to
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only your salespeople’s success, but to do, such as set up appointments, deAs a leader of a your success. monstrate products or even close deals. sales team it is the I believe that owners and principals At one time, the manager was very good manager’s job to of an organization need to ride in the at selling. Now he is a little rusty field with the sales team as well. Debecause he does not get out into the produce consistent, pending on the size of the organization, field as often or is not as comfortable sustainable results. The I would not recommend that the top with the product information or simply best way to accomplish people spend every day in the field, but I does not want to take the chance at this is through people. do believe that they are wise to get out trying to close a deal and fail in front often enough to make a difference in the of the rep. As a sales manager you are not expected to know all the development of the team. “I’m too busy.” Maybe you have good intentions and you answers or to close every deal you get involved with, but you are expected to show leadership and courage. It takes are a fairly good planner but month after month, you spend courage to get out with your people and to fail in front of more time in the office than in the field, because you simply them. Let’s face it, this is a reality in the field — you win are too busy with other responsibilities. For one week, take some and you lose some. The individual who keeps going the time to record your tasks and time. Track the activities out and banging away at things is very often the one who that you are doing during the day and see how these tasks ultimately wins the game. The sooner you get over the fear rank — and see if you can delegate some of these duties to of making a fool of yourself or failing in front of your people, others in your organization. The ranking is the key. If you prioritize your activities the better. If you think about it, once you get into the habit of working in the field with your people every week, you will with the development of your people at the top, making sure bring your selling skills right back where you need them to that you are involved more with critical activities as much be and you will have fun doing it. Trust me, the field can be as possible during the day and less and less on things that are of low consequence, you will find yourself in the field a lot more fun than the office. “I’ve paid my dues.” I am sure that some sales managers more. This may require real discipline to prioritize. Take see themselves above field work and say to themselves, “I’ve action on the things that matter most to your success. paid my dues.” They do not feel that they need to cold call or Why Schedule Field Time? set appointments or close deals with their people. Let’s get past the reasons we fail to get out into the field As a leader of a sales team it is the manager’s job to for full ride days with our people. Instead, let’s discuss why produce consistent, sustainable results. The best way to accomplish this is through people. The 20/80 Rule still exist we should schedule field time and what we gain from it. Observe and improve sales skills. Observing your people in in most sales organizations (where 20 percent of the sales team produces 80 percent of the team results). If the 20/80 the field is key to seeing how they can improve. I have heard Rule exists in your office you either need further develop- sales managers say, “If I could just bring the bottom-half of ment with the reps who are in the 80 percent group or they my team up 10 percent, it would allow me to hit my goals.” I need to make a trip to the front door for the last time. Of like that kind of thinking. If you work on minor improvecourse, chances are you are not going to terminate the ments every day, you will ultimately see major improvemajority of reps in the 80 percent group. Further develop- ments. The place to do this is in the field! Going out in the field with your salespeople and just ment is the answer. As a professional trainer and a manager of sales teams for observing them is where you will find their weaknesses. many years, I know it is important to have classroom For example, if you observe that a salesperson presents training, but there is nothing like field training. Your “dues” great proposals but never asks for the order, work on may have been paid as a salesperson in years past, but if you closing with that individual. This will help to move the are a leader of a sales team today, the dues you paid as a bottom half of your team up a percentage or two. I once traveled in the field with a young sales rep about salesperson really do not apply. More importantly, working with your salespeople (all of your salespeople, not just those one year after he had started on one of my teams. Keep in in the 80 percent group) is part of the job and is key to not mind, I had traveled in the field with this person many 18 | w w w . o f f i c e t e c h n o l o g y m a g . c o m | S e p t e m b e r 2 0 0 6
It does make a difference; try it for three times in the months prior to this day. With all the things months and see what kind of improveHowever, I had spent a lot of time with that we use to measure ments you create. I recommend that the him in short spurts, instead of putting a sales organization, sales manager create a calendar with in a full day with him. (I know that a lot the names of the reps he plans to travel of managers do this, thinking that this measuring how much with over the next 30 days. The manager is the best way to be productive or effitime a sales manager should then provide the calendar to his cient with the team.) That particular spends with his team team and his boss. By doing this, the day I surprised the sales rep with a full is imperative. manager is accountable for the time he day in the field and it became a real said he would spend in the field. eye-opener for me. He did not have a This is a simple, yet effective tool. By creating the calplan for the day. What do you do when you have no plan? endar the manager mentally commits to follow through You cold call. It had been a while since I had cold called with the rep. with the plan. And, by providing it to both the reps and the When I had traveled in the field with him in the past, the boss, there is built-in accountability. It is now critical that short days were spent on “more important things than cold the manager sticks to this plan and does not fail to work calling.” They were spent on appointments and closing with a salesperson when he said he would (he certainly opportunities. To my surprise, this guy was horrible at cold would not treat his customers this way; why should he treat calling. In fact, his cold call was one a rookie with less than a his reps worse than his best customers?). The manager’s month or two would use. He said things that I hate hearing manager should also inspect this plan (the calendar) to during cold calls, like: “I am new to this territory and just wanted to introduce myself.” Horrible! I could not believe that he cold called this way after being in the industry more than a year. I thought to myself, “If he has been doing this all along, he is lucky to get any appointments at all.” The reality of the situation was this: Because I had not spent full days in the field with the rep, I was blind to how effective he was at all aspects of the sales process. I had trained him many months prior on effective cold calling, but because I had not inspected his work all along the way and made sure that he mastered each step I was just kidding myself thinking he had this step down. I came to the conclusion that I needed to work a lot closer with him and the others on my sales team to see what was really going on with their skills development. Learn market dynamics. Your marketplace is dynamic and always changing. It is smart to be aware of these changes. With the introduction of new competitors, new strategies from current competitors and attacks on your customer base from all sorts of sources, including the Web, it is important to be in tune to these dynamics. The place to get the latest news on this is out in the field. When you spend time with your reps in the field, working with your clients and prospects, you are in a position to appreciate the latest threat to or opportunity for your company. Hold sales managers accountable. With all the things that we use to measure a sales organization, measuring how much time a sales manager spends with his team is imperative. w w w . o f f i c e t e c h n o l o g y m a g . c o m | S e p t e m b e r 2 0 0 6 | 19
you to take time out to spend time in see if the manager actually did spend When you have the the field with them means a lot to the time with the reps — for the enfull respect of your them. Show them that they are importire scheduled time. If the manager people and you are tant to you by sacrificing time to spend planned to be with the rep for a full with them. Help them succeed and see day, did that happen? in touch with the what kind of loyalty you build. The fact When managers are not doing what marketplace helping is, if you can keep people three years they say they will do, they destroy any them succeed, you they usually stay five. If you can keep form of credibility in their leadership build loyalty. them five years they stay ten and more. and actually create mistrust with their In most cases the best people in the people. That sounds extreme but it is not. Sit down with a group of salespeople who have a boss marketplace are the veterans to the business. If you have a who tells them every month that he will spend more time in group of people with five years or more under their belts, the field but does not; they will tell you they do not trust you have a significant advantage. Build tenure through their boss — that he has an integrity issue. They can trust loyalty. Build loyalty by caring for your people and showing him for certain things, but when it comes to truly helping you care by working with them in the field. Enjoy your job. Too often we feel that we have to manage them in the field, they cannot count on him. Show leadership. As the leader of a sales team, on occa- our business from behind the desk. Working at your desk sion the sales manager has to prove that the things he with your phone and computer is efficient, but you can do it expects his people to do can be done. This does not need to away from the desk, too. With all the mobile technology be done every day, but if you want to hold the respect of available today — cell phones, laptops, PDAs with Blackyour team members, you have to get out and experience berry technology, etc. — we are able to be right on top of things just about anywhere. what they experience in today’s marketplace. There is a real dark side to working in your office all day There is no down-side to this. When I think of respected leaders, the one that always comes to mind is General — it is not fun! I challenge you to begin spending more and George Patton, the American general who served during more time in the field. It does sometimes create longer days World War II. He was a leader who was respected by his and sometimes you do get behind on paperwork, but you men. Sure, he put in office hours, but he was not afraid to always catch up. If you find yourself spending more time indoors than outshow his men that he was their leader in battle by actually showing up on the battlefield. He had very high expectations doors, begin to make the shift. Set a schedule a month in of his troops and demanded a lot from them, but at the same advance with the name of your reps on each day; give your time he was also willing to risk his own life. This type of people as many full days as you can. Full days are somewhat leadership means a lot to your people. When they see you go controversial for some, but I think it makes all the difference through the same things they have to go through day in and in the world if you spend an entire day with an individual; day out, they have more appreciation for the direction and both of you will get so much out of it. You have a great opportunity to understand where your sales reps need help. the advice you give them. Build loyalty. Earlier I mentioned respect. When you By pursuing that opportunity, you will build loyalty, increase have the full respect of your people and you are in touch retention and earn respect. It is time to begin mentoring with the marketplace helping them succeed, you build your people in the field for success. Industry veteran Jim Strauss loyalty. I read somewhere that the number one reason a is president of Motive8s Inc., person leaves a job is based on the relationship he has with a company that serves his boss. If it is a good relationship, he stays, even under the office technology industry stressful situations. Very often the reason people stay with with training, mentoring and an organization longer than the industry norm is because coaching of sales and service of loyalty — not to the company but to the person who professionals. He can be reached at cares about the individual. Working in the field takes time email@example.com — time that some of you may think you cannot sacrifice. or (515) 210-2136. Visit www.motive8s.com. Your people understand that you have a lot to do, and for 20 | w w w . o f f i c e t e c h n o l o g y m a g . c o m | S e p t e m b e r 2 0 0 6
New Name, New Direction Baltimore’s CENTRIC positioned for the future by: Dustin Phillips
when you change a name. ou wake up every Then, there is the time, morning for 33 years, energy and additional finput on your suit and ancial commitment retie and go to work for a quired after the change to company called Copy World. brand and create an idenEvery publication you read tity for the new name. and every speaker you hear “It’s true there is a huge says the word “copy” is a financial impact when you thing of the past and it defichange a business name,” nitely sends the wrong messays Bastinelli. “For me, it sage if you have that word in was the fear of the unknown your name. But your busiimpact. We had a very posiness is successful, you are tive identity in Greater Balwell known in the industry The CENTRIC management team (left to right): Jeff Webster, timore and strong vendor and, in spite of the name, operations manager; Frank Curreri, sales manager; Shawn relationships. Since most you are as far along the tech- Moran, sales manager; Loralea Sanderson, vice president of nology curve as any dealer finance; Rick Bastinelli, president; Jerry Baroncelli, director of customers have had bad experiences with public in the country. service and distribution; and Neil Feller, sales manager. companies in our industry, I This was Rick Bastinelli’s situation. He spent the first 17 years of his career in Pennsyl- didn’t want anyone to think Copy World had been sold and vania working for a dealership named Copy World, before changed hands.” After conducting local market research with customers he purchased a Baltimore, Md., dealership in 1990 also and prospects as well as the employees, the decision named Copy World. Over the next 16 years, Bastinelli spent several million dollars to tell his story to the Baltimore mar- was made to change the name on February 1, 2006, to CENTRIC. The name also came with a tagline attached, so ketplace and ultimately brand the name Copy World. “Even though we were very successful as Copy World, I officially, it is CENTRIC, Business Systems for Document never really liked the name because even back then I knew Management. “During the focus group research, it was determined that the industry would be more than copies and copiers,” says Bastinelli. “As the industry evolved into digital technology, the name Copy World was low tech and connoted copy color, connectivity and solutions, I became convinced we center or budget products,” says Bastinelli. “These descripneeded a name that was indicative of the products and tions didn’t represent the company, so if I had any reluctance about changing the name prior to this exercise, I services we were and would be providing.” Changing a business name is not easy even though many didn’t afterwards.” If the decision to change a company’s name is one of the firms throughout the United States are doing it without much resistance from the market. There are financial com- most difficult a business owner will ever have to make, mitments and perceptions that have to be considered deciding on what the new name will be is probably tougher. w w w . o f f i c e t e c h n o l o g y m a g . c o m | S e p t e m b e r 2 0 0 6 | 21
knew that this was a new name and a “We wanted a name that was short, “We considered new direction, but had the same ownercatchy, easy to recall, easy to pronounce every angle ... We’re ship and the same people they had and had relevance in the industry,” using a heavy radio grown to trust over the years. explains Bastinelli, who was also look“We considered every angle we could ing for something that was unique to the schedule, business use to educate both the customers and industry and to his marketplace. “CENpublications and the rest of the marketplace,” says TRIC means ‘around the center.’ In the billboards to promote Bastinelli. “We’re using a heavy radio office technology industry multifuncthe CENTRIC name.” schedule, business publications and billtional devices and the other hardware boards to promote the CENTRIC name. and software products we represent are the central communication device and the center of office Plus, we’ve created a consistent look and theme for our new activity. Plus, our employees are ‘centered’ on providing our solutions-based Web site, our letterhead, envelopes, business cards, building signage, truck design, equipment labels, procustomers with outstanding customer service and support.” Bastinelli estimated the change will cost somewhere in posals, PowerPoint presentations and corporate brochures.” The early returns on both the name and the new directhe neighborhood of a half million dollars when you include everything from building signage to stationery to sales col- tion appear to be very positive according to CENTRIC customers. “If a business is looking to trust someone locally for lateral to advertising. “A name change is a great opportunity for a marketing cost-effective document imaging solutions, they should event, but on the other hand, people in general don’t like contact CENTRIC today,” says Scott Vogel, vice president of change and they definitely don’t like surprises in the busi- operations at Shepherd Electric Supply Company. “In the ness environment,” says Bastinelli. “Therefore, you basically course of a year, they’ve saved us thousands so that tells me have one chance at doing it right. You need to have all your they’re selling office solutions, not just copiers.” Sam Tawiah, director of information technology for ‘ducks in a row,’ visit the major accounts prior to any public announcement, send written notification to customers Avcard, says, “I can get a good night’s sleep knowing that if and key vendors, have business cards and letterhead ready, anything goes wrong, I can call CENTRIC to come out and update your message on hold and just about everything take care of whatever the problem is for us.” Although Bastinelli would not trade the first 33 years and you can imagine.” While the new name is a very obvious change, it is also the the success he enjoyed for anything, he is excited about the new direction of the company that has Bastinelli excited about future of CENTRIC and believes the opportunities within the future. With two complementary manufacturers, a suite of the office technology industry have never been better. “We have people with the expertise along with a full document management software products and the quality of professional services people he has been able to attract in range of document management products and services to spite of the name Copy World, he strongly believes that go deeper and wider into our customers’ business,” says CENTRIC is as well positioned as any office technology firm in Bastinelli. “As we continue to grow we are committed to hiring the right people and having the right products to the United States to be a one-stop office solutions provider. “The timing was perfect for transitioning the company provide our customers with a level of support that hasn’t into a total solutions provider, which is why we developed been available in our industry until now.” Still, because of his past success, it would have been very the tagline ‘Business Systems for Document Management’ and created the logo to represent motion and action at the easy for Bastinelli to wake-up for a 34th year, put on his center,” says Bastinelli. “We want our customers and pros- suit and tie and go to work for Copy World. But successful pects to know that we still provide the finest and most reli- people understand the world transforms and change, if able business equipment, but it’s now a means to an end, done properly, is acceptable. CENTRIC, from the beginwhich is helping business people better manage all their ning, has approached the name change methodically and with the customers as a focal point. And the name documents and reduce the costs while doing it.” While positioning the company for the future was the CENTRIC will be around for a long time. Dustin Phillips is a freelance writer reason behind the change, the primary objective of the based in Newport Beach, Calif. name change process was to make sure the marketplace 22 | w w w . o f f i c e t e c h n o l o g y m a g . c o m | S e p t e m b e r 2 0 0 6
EDUCATION CALENDAR BUSINESS TECHNOLOGY ASSOCIATION • September 2006
EDUCATION CALENDAR September 20-22 Office Document Solutions & Hardware Conferences
Quincy, MA Hosted by market research firm InfoTrends, these two back-to-back conferences will provide three power-packed days of education sessions that will serve to piece together the relationship between hardware, software and services. BTA and Office Technology magazine are among the sponsors. For more information, visit www.officedocumenttechnology.com.
BTA ProFinance San Francisco, CA Analyze current business practices and evaluate strengths and weaknesses. Participants will explore important issues surrounding profitability benchmarks, asset management, expense controls and employee productivity. They will leave with a clear set of benchmarks and proven strategies for successful implementation with a target goal of 14 percent operating income. This course is sure to help you take control of and improve the financial performance of your company.
Ann Barr Selling Supplies Seminar Bethel, CT Resellers of imaging supplies are encouraged to attend this interactive, full-day seminar, hosted by BASE Wright-Moore. Learn how to write attention-getting opening statements, sell against discount warehouses, find additional business in existing accounts and much more. Limited to the first 20 who register. To register, contact Ann Barr at firstname.lastname@example.org or (757) 463-0924. BTA members may use their $150 discount coupon for this class.
20-21 BTA Southeast “Fall Colors” Conference
Waynesville, NC Come see the gorgeous fall colors in the beautiful mountains of western North Carolina. The conference begins with an opening reception Friday, Oct. 20. On Saturday morning, Oct. 21, education sessions will include “A Successful, Proven Plan for Sales Success,” by Jim Kahrs, president of Prosperity Plus Management Consulting Inc., and “Recruiting & Staffing,” by Jim Strauss, president of Motive 8s Inc. There will also be a presentation on BTA’s various member benefits. A dinner will be held Saturday evening. For details or to register, visit www.btasoutheast.org or call (800) 234-8996. For a full list of upcoming BTA and other educational seminars or to register for BTA seminars visit www.bta.org or call (800) 843-5059. www.of ficetechnologymag.com | September 2006 | 23
MEMBERSHIP APPLICATION PART 1 – COMPANY INFORMATION Company Name: Street Address:
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Join online at www.bta.org
Sept. 06 OT
COURTS & CAPITOLS
Looking to the Future Do you have a succession plan for your dealership? by: Robert C. Goldberg, General Counsel for the Business Technology Association
he end of a beautiful summer gives rise to thoughts of an endless vacation — in other words, retirement. On a less pleasant, but nonetheless important note, small business owners need to ponder the consequences to their companies of illness, accidents and, finally, death. Who would step into the void? Is this person sufficiently experienced and trained to be successful immediately? What impact would this change have on other employees, customers and revenues? If no planning is done, lawyers and the government will control the process. However, careful and timely planning can create a smooth and profitable transition. When discussing a plan for a business’ succession, one must first consider whether this is to be a family or corporate process. Each has unique problems and opportunities. Where transition is not within a family, various scenarios can apply and some can even be combined to solve distinctive situations. One possibility is the management buy-out. This is an excellent way to keep the business independent and ensure that it will continue operating. Most commonly these plans are achieved with buy-sell agreements and stock options. Similarly, employees can take over the reins through Employee Stock Option Ownership Plans. Another solution is to sell to an outsider. Whereas, it is certainly true that someone outside of the business or family may change it, sometimes a buyer like a competitor or owner of a related business will offer the highest price. The process of selling “outside” requires professional guidance including an accurate valuation of the business. Finally, one can liquidate. This is not exactly a succession plan, as the business would then cease to exist. At times, however, it may turn out to be the most lucrative or more likely the only alternative. When families are involved, most of the complexities of family dynamics come into play. Ninety percent of the 21 million U.S. businesses are family-owned, and one-third of the Fortune 500 are either family-owned or family-operated.
Yet, only 30 percent of family-run companies succeed into the second generation, and only 15 percent to the third generation. The reason for this situation, according to many experts, is inadequate planning. One key to successfully preparing a family business succession is early preparation. Long before retirement, the most compelling issues should be resolved. Some experts recommend a three- to five-year lead time while others believe 10 to 15 years is optimal for planning. One approach that has been useful is the implementation of a family retreat designed to open a dialogue where all members can express their opinions. This should occur away from the office at a “neutral” site. Ultimately, the owner will have decisions to make. He may want his first-born to take over the business, but this child may not be the most capable. Leaving him (or her) a task at which he will probably fail is not in anyone’s best interest. The owner needs to get over the idea that everyone gets an equal share. Ownership and management are not the same. It may be more fair to the successor chosen to run the business to have a larger share of business ownership than family members not active in the business. Or it may be best to transfer both ownership and management over to a successor and make other financial arrangements to benefit the other children. Whoever one chooses, train him well. When possible a successor should spend the first few years after graduation working at a different company. Let him come with the skills and even new ideas. Then, the owner can begin to groom the chosen successor with the understanding that he must prove himself up to the task. It remains the owner’s decision until he steps down, hopefully to enjoy many years of that “endless vacation.” Robert C. Goldberg is general counsel for the Business Technology Association. He can be reached at email@example.com. w w w . o f f i c e t e c h n o l o g y m a g . c o m | S e p t e m b e r 2 0 0 6 | 25
Promoting Your Dealership You need to reach a large number of prospects by: Jim Kahrs, Prosperity Plus Management Consulting Inc.
ver the last few years there have been some big changes to the way we communicate. With the use of PDAs, Blackberries, laptop computers and cell phones we have the ability to stay in touch like never before. However, one aspect of the business that has not changed is the need to promote your dealership properly if you want to expand. I’ve heard people say that during the 1980s many dealers succeeded because they “were in the boat when the tide came in.” While there may be some truth to this statement there was one key concept that was used by successful dealers back then that is still proving fruitful for successful dealers today. Those dealers are promoting their dealerships on a broad scale. In the Hubbard Management System, developed by acclaimed author and administrator L. Ron Hubbard, there is a policy letter titled “Gross Income Senior Datum.” I think we all know what gross income is; it is the money that comes into the dealership from all sources. The term “senior datum” refers to the fact that this piece of data is more important than almost anything else that pertains to gross income. So, what could be so important? In this policy letter Hubbard states that the gross income of an organization is determined by the size, not the quality, of your mailing list and the number of letters and mailings to that list. For a frame of reference, this policy was written in 1968. In today’s business world the term “mailing list” has been replaced by database and letters and mailings have been expanded to include e-mail, fax and the like. However, the basic concept of this policy is as true today as it was then. To truly increase the gross income of your dealership you must first accumulate a large list of prospects to contact. In keeping with the first part of this policy it is important to understand that the size of your database — that is the number of prospects you have identified — is critical. It is much better to have a decent database with 10,000 names than a really awesome database with 1,000 names. Too often dealers get hung up on the quality of the names they add to the database and thus do not promote their dealership to enough 26 | w w w . o f f i c e t e c h n o l o g y m a g . c o m | S e p t e m b e r 2 0 0 6
prospects. This does not mean that you should add “garbage” names to your database. There are plenty of companies that sell prospect lists. These companies allow you to choose prospects by industry codes like SIC or Yellow Pages heading, number of employees and annual revenue. In addition, you can choose prospects geographically based on state, county, ZIP code, telephone area code and more. So, with all of these options it is quite easy for a dealership to have a large prospect database and have it filled with good, quality names. The second part of this policy goes on to say that gross income is determined by the number of letters and mailings to the database. Unfortunately, I have seen too many dealerships that have a large database but do not send anything out to it consistently. The “number of letters and mailings” to the database is almost non-existent. Yet they will tell me with great excitement about the 20,000 names they have accumulated. I often ask dealers how many companies they think their sales reps contact in a month assuming that multiple calls or visits to the same company only count as one. The most common answers range from 100 to 500. Based on dealers I’ve visited I would agree with their estimates. So, if your sales reps can only contact a few hundred companies a month you need to have a plan for getting your name out to your market. You cannot think small and still have a rapidly growing business. Here’s an example. Every morning you walk into your favorite coffee shop and very often you pass the same people. As creatures of habit we stop at the same places at the same time each day. How many of these people have you actually stopped to talk to — actually taking the time to introduce yourself and your business to them? If the answer is “very few” then this is a daily walking demonstration of the database that has lots of names but not a lot of contact. In a figurative sense you have a coffee shop full of contacts but no real communication going out to them. As a result, most of them probably do not even know who you are or what you sell. The chances of one of those people becoming a customer of yours are slim. Now, what would happen if each morning you made a point
open the decision maker’s e-mail messages of telling a handful of these people what If you limit your reach but in many cases does open and throw you do and handed each a business card? via promotion you are away postal mail promotion. There are two Do you think you could turn some of them also limiting your factors that contribute to success with eor their friends into customers? mail. First, you need to accumulate a list of In order to really grow your dealership potential gross income. e-mail addresses. I’ve done many informal you need to take this same viewpoint I have not met a dealer surveys of business cards collected by when dealing with your prospect datayet who wants to limit dealer sales reps and determined that base. There needs to be regular communihis or her gross income. better than 90 percent of the cards colcation with everyone in your database. lected have e-mail addresses on them. If Ideally, each prospect would receive something from your dealership at least every other month. They you are collecting cards you need to get these addresses into may not get a personal greeting like the people in the coffee your database. The second challenge is getting your message shop but they should get a communication that tells them through the SPAM filters that most e-mail systems now use. Methods for doing this vary based on the system used for crewho you are and what you do. In the 20 years I’ve been in this business I’ve heard many ating and sending e-mail messages. Regardless of the possible people say that when doing mailings and promotion you pitfalls of e-mail promotion I strongly recommend this method should never send out more than your telemarketing or sales because of its successful track record among dealers who have team can follow up. I can tell you from firsthand experience worked with my company. Finally, there is fax promotion, which requires a word of that this is totally false. Though it is important to follow up promo pieces that are sent out and doing so increases your caution. The FCC has enacted a law prohibiting companies sales it is a big mistake to limit your reach to only those you from sending unsolicited promotional faxes. If you are going can follow up. To truly be successful you must reach far more to send faxes to prospects you must have their permission than the 100 to 500 companies your sales reps touch in an first. In order to be covered you should get approval in writing before sending promotional faxes to prospects. If you send average month. Now that we have covered the basic process and reasons for unsolicited faxes the recipient has the right to sue you in civil promoting your dealership let’s look at the ways to accomplish court for $500 per fax received. However, you can fax to any this in the 21st century. Common methods for reaching large customer who has purchased something from you within the numbers of prospects include direct mail, e-mail, fax, Internet last 18 months, but there should be a toll-free number banner ads, print ads, TV, radio, billboards and more. I will included so that the recipient can ask to be removed from the list. (Check whether your state has a regulation that is more cover the first three I’ve listed. Direct mail is probably the most widely used method of restrictive than the federal provision.) Fax promotion can be communication with prospects. While working with clients in very successful. If you follow the guidelines of the law you can the office technology industry we have had great success with turn this into a very strong part of your promotion campaign. As the old saying goes, “As much as things change, they stay postcards. In order for your message to get through it has to be read. When sending promotional mail in an envelope your the same.” Though there have been a lot of technological first challenge is to simply get the prospect to open the enve- changes that affect how promotion can be sent, the reasons for lope and read the message. A well-done postcard uses an doing it remain the same. With all of this said, the moral of the attention grabbing message on the front that pulls in the story is communicate to as many prospects as possible as often prospect’s attention. It then directs them to read the full as possible. If you limit your reach via promotion you are also message on the back, which leads them to call you. The other limiting your potential gross income. I have not met a dealer yet major benefit to a postcard mailing is the cost. It usually costs who wants to limit his or her gross income. So, get a large list of much less to produce a very good quality postcard than a prospects and start communicating with them regularly. Jim Kahrs is the founder and president of decent quality envelope mailer. Postage rates are also lower Prosperity Plus Management Consulting Inc. for postcards allowing you to hit more prospects. PPMC works with office technology companies E-mail is probably the most effective promotion method I’ve seen used at dealerships in terms of response rates. Unlike the in building revenue and profitability. Kahrs can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or standard post office mail, e-mail is usually not screened by (631) 382-7762. Visit www.prosperityplus.com. anyone in the office. The receptionist or secretary does not w w w . o f f i c e t e c h n o l o g y m a g . c o m | S e p t e m b e r 2 0 0 6 | 27
Close-up: Panasonic OEM revamps its overall training curriculum by: Steve Mullin, Panasonic Digital Document Company
Editor’s Note: Throughout 2006, Office Technology has been inviting the copier/MFP OEMs that sell through the dealer channel to submit articles regarding their dealer support initiatives and/or training programs. The intent is to provide the authorized dealers of each of the OEMs — and the channel in general — a better understanding of some of the current initiatives and programs. Following is the eighth of these OEM submissions, from Steve Mullin of Panasonic Digital Document Company.
nyone who assumes operational command of a company arrives at his new post with a mandate. What Panasonic Corp. of North America gave me was not just a mandate for change, it was a mandate to reinvent the model by which we do business, a mandate to redefine Panasonic Digital Document Company’s (PDDC) position in our industry, a mandate to energize our corporate culture. One of the first things I discovered in taking over the PDDC presidency a little more than a year ago was a debilitating degree of channel clash hampering the development of a coherent sales strategy. Our multi-channel initiatives were stepping on each other and diluting our resources. Our sales and service trainers were trying to serve two masters — an inhouse sales department and an independent dealer network — and it was not working. Frankly, we were struggling to support multiple sales channels when we are really much better at engineering, manufacturing and wholesaling than we are at entrepreneurial retail sales. It was obvious that in order to not just compete, but to compete and win in one of the most aggressive B2B markets in America, we needed to present a strong, effective, unified persona to our customers. That was a key goal and one I decided to achieve by selling off elements of our direct sales division to our best existing dealers and working with the newly expanded dealer network to increase Panasonic mindshare at the individual rep level. Essentially, we made a conscious, irrevocable decision to focus all our efforts on strengthening our dealer network — on making sure they knew how to go to market with Panasonic. 28 | w w w . o f f i c e t e c h n o l o g y m a g . c o m | S e p t e m b e r 2 0 0 6
Like most of us, reps will always take the path of least resistance. That’s a statement of reality, not a criticism. There is nothing wrong with putting most of your effort into trying to sell those products that are easiest to sell, to concentrate most heavily on those things you feel most comfortable in presenting to a conference room full of executives. A rep’s job is to sell. His (or her) success, his employer’s success and our success as a vendor, are impacted, negatively or positively, by how many orders he does or does not write. It is our job as a manufacturer to give him what he needs to make PDDC equipment easier to sell than our competitors’ gear. We have been excelling on the hardware — what you could call the “muscle” side of the equation. The products are constantly winning awards and outliving industry-standard depreciation schedules. Prior to our recent restructuring, however, we were falling down on the other side — the knowledge-base side. We were not giving the sales reps enough mindshare to make them think of Panasonic first and foremost. I knew that for our products to become as competitive commercially as they are technologically, we would have to make the steps the sales rep works through to close a deal instinctive. We would have to give the reps enough Panasonic mindshare to smoothly explain attributes, demonstrate features and answer customers’ questions without ever having to utter that most deadly of selling clichés — “I’ll get back to you on that one.” Since creating that level of mindshare comes down to training, we have spent a good part of the past year totally revamping and enhancing our overall training curriculum. Among other things, we created a full range of situational training modules. Under our own name, we go out and recruit sales reps for our dealers. We do Web site postings, we have outside agencies pre-screen candidates and we make sure the individuals we select develop at least a basic understanding of the Panasonic mindset before we pass them on to dealers who might be interested in hiring them. Once hired by a dealer, they will take a series of classes at
one of our three national training centers This is then acted out to see what might Once sales reps have ... or, depending on the particular class, at happen and how effective it is. Once sales “graduated,” one of one of the on-site training sessions we perireps have successfully “graduated,” one of our field salespeople odically conduct at dealership locations. our field salespeople makes a few calls with Some of the classes are traditional semithem to help them incorporate what they makes a few calls nars on topics such as how the product is have learned. with them to help them used, outstanding features and how to sell In addition to initial training on new incorporate what they them and answer questions about comparproducts, features and sales techniques we have learned. isons with competitors. Some explore the focus heavily on refresher courses — whole PDDC product line; others focus on another area in which we had been historione product, like the C3 color MFP. cally weak. This is crucial because training people once and Good as these elements are, they are not enough. Many new letting them walk away without any follow-up can result in the sales reps come straight from college without any formal sales initial training becoming “lost” in a very short time. experience. They are intelligent, motivated, energetic and reliBuilding up to the launch date, we used our beta site dealerable, but they have absolutely no idea how to sell. So, we added ships’ reps and even some of our beta-test end-users to preview another dimension to our training program, generic Spin-type and help us refine our training programs. Simultaneously with sales-training techniques. the launch we began on-site training at our dealers’ locations. Topics include cold calling, structuring a presentation and After two days of intensive training, we cooperated with each closing a deal. Techniques include role playing, working through dealer in hosting an open house for all their customers to expemultiple sales scenarios and instantly coming up with credible rience both the product and the expertise of the reps demonanswers to “surprise” questions. A typical homework assignment strating the C3’s many unique technologies and advanced involves the trainer specifying a negative situation that might operating features. arise and having the trainee develop an action plan to counter it. Based on feedback at our Regional Partner Strategy meetings
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and industry “chatter,” the C3 launch has revenue pull-through and training and we We now have more been perceived as an excellent demonstraare all after the same mindshare. people on the front tion of how proper planning and pre-introOur broadband view of what constitutes lines of sales-rep duction training can empower sales reps manufacturer-supplied training — which to truly hit the ground running when a starts with helping dealers recruit, hire and support and we make new product goes on sale. educate new reps — has completely sure they understand From the same sources we also know changed our culture. how important they that office products dealers are beginning We now have more people on the front are in driving revenue. to see Panasonic in a different, clearer lines of sales-rep support and we make light. They are beginning to see us as a sure they understand how important they manufacturer that seriously listens and responds to their are in driving revenue. We now put more emphasis on working needs, that wants to share a dialogue, that is dedicated to with dealers to gauge the effectiveness of our training program building a long-term business relationship with them. They where it matters most — in the percentage of a rep’s Panasonic are beginning to understand that we want to actually, proac- sales relative to competitor sales. tively, partner with them, as opposed to simply provide them PDDC also has one other thing — a presiwith product. dent who never forgets that if our dealers are To one degree or another, every manufacturer faces the not successful, we cannot be successful. same challenges with dealers and every dealer faces the same Steven Mullin is president kinds of challenges with other manufacturers as he does with of Panasonic Digital Document Company. Panasonic. We all know there is a direct correlation between Visit www.us.panasonic.com.
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