A Strategic Sales Shift Grows DataBank’s Success3 Sep, 2013
The Internet has changed buyer behavior. How have you adapted your selling strategies to take advantage?
DataBank is one of the largest imaging and information management resellers in the United States, and they’ve experienced significant growth over the last ten years due to a strategic shift in the way they sell. Chuck Bauer, Chief Executive Officer, explained, “The day of the glad-handed sales person has passed. Today, customers demand someone in front of them with in depth knowledge. Customers have already done their research on the web, which gives them a foundation. Now they need you, the reseller, to help them understand how products can boost the money-making power of their businesses.”
DataBank has shifted from offering generic products and services to a strategy that puts knowledgeable sales people in front of prospects discussing business goals and organizational challenges and the ways DataBank can provide business process automation (BPA). The company then presents the customer with multi-pronged solutions that take advantage of several technologies and services designed to solve a wide variety of business problems.
DataBank was founded in 1991, and has grown to thirteen production centers strategically located throughout the United States. As a BPA and document management solutions business, they deliver services, technologies, tools and methods to capture, manage, store, preserve and deliver end-to-end process automation and information solutions for their clients. Their mission is to build long-lasting, successful client relationships by creating effective solutions to their clients’ challenging business needs. Their service centers touch more than 4,000,000 images daily or about one billion images annually.
The company maintains PCI-DSS and SOC Type II certifications as well as industry affiliations with AHIMA, AIIM, ARMA, IAPP, and NACAC. The company’s hardware partners are Fujitsu, Canon and Kodak, and software partners include Digitech Systems, Hyland and Microsoft SharePoint. DataBank has more than 3,000 customers across the United States in many industries, including Verizon, Honda, and Boston College as well as numerous state and local government entities.
Sales Strategies You Can Use
Success in today’s fast-moving marketplace requires flexibility and ingenuity in your offerings and sales strategies. Bauer offered five pieces of advice for other information management business owners.
1. Strengthen your product knowledge
“You can’t sell what you don’t understand,” explained Bauer. To support salespeople who have deep industry knowledge but who may not have strong technical expertise, DataBank uses a team selling approach. They partner a salesperson (called a solutions consultant) with a technical expert (software or workflow analyst) for most sales opportunities. The technical expert can speak about the suitability of specific product features and requirements for the prospect’s environment, while the salesperson focuses on the business needs and offers specific market expertise.
2. Get core vertical expertise
Core industry expertise is helping DataBank realize growth in critical industries like government, energy, healthcare and education. This focus on specific industries (and business functions like AP/AR) helps DataBank salespeople demonstrate a thorough understanding of their prospect’s business, competitors and challenges, which improves trust and credibility. Ultimately, this knowledge moves the conversation from your offerings to your prospect’s challenges. They match product and industry knowledge to design a solution that offers real competitive advantage and strong financial returns to the customer.
3. Focus on solving the customer’s problem, no matter what it takes
Although commodification of products is evident in parts of the information management sector (like capture), Bauer notes “there are still some substantial differences from vendor to vendor.” DataBank offers a broad range of hardware and software options, so they can tailor a package best suited to their customer’s specific needs. Information management and BPA is about presenting the right data to the right decision maker at the right time. “Your customers want to decide and then move on. As a reseller, your challenge is to make this process as simple and effective as you can,” said Bauer. Meeting this challenge may require a bundle of various hardware and software tools, and you should to be prepared to outsource more complex processes when needed.
4. Be prepared to offer on-premise or cloud solutions
DataBank became a reseller of cloud ECM services in 2004 through their relationship with Digitech Systems, and they resell the company’s on-premise software, PaperVision Enterprise, as well. The cloud service ImageSilo, which the company rebrands, is one of the “fastest growing segments of our business,” explained Bauer. Customers such as Stanley Black & Decker are making a strategic shift to take advantage of the lower cost of cloud services while maintaining secure access to and storage of sensitive information. Others like United Natural Foods prefer to store their data on their own corporate network. The combination of PaperVision Enterprise and ImageSilo allows DataBank to flexibly offer customers the right solution for their unique needs. “If all you have is a hammer,” laughed Bauer “everything looks like a nail. You have to offer your customers options, because they are trying to solve mission critical yet changing business problems.”
5. Choose the Right Business Partners
Although it can be difficult to support solutions for every possible business challenge, resellers can cover about 90% with core tool sets. To do so, however, requires relationships with multiple hardware and software vendors. Bauer identified his top three concerns when vetting new partners. First, consider the match between your culture and ethics and theirs. Top of the list for DataBank are partners who also keep a laser-focus on customer service. Second, make sure their products are relevant to customer problems. “Sometimes there is a mismatch between features the manufacturer thinks are cool and what is necessary to solve real business challenges. Your customers rely on you to know the difference,” explained Bauer. Third, you must be able to count on your partners to act responsibly with your customers—especially when problems arise.
Want to grow your business? A strategic sales adjustment from selling technology to IT to solving business problems with executive buyers may be the right answer for you. To prepare your organization for this change, strengthen your product knowledge, get core vertical expertise, focus on solving the customer’s challenges, offer both on-premise and cloud options, and choose the right business partners. After implementing these five strategic shifts, DataBank realized millions of dollars in new business and they continue to enjoy a healthy average annual growth rate! What will you accomplish?
About Digitech Systems, Inc.
Digitech Systems, Inc. enables businesses of any size to more effectively and securely manage, retrieve and store corporate information of any kind using either PaperVision Enterprise content management (ECM) software or the world’s most trusted cloud ECM service, ImageSilo. By significantly reducing the cost, Digitech Systems has moved ECM from a luxury convenience to an essential element for every well-managed business. Digitech Systems continues to raise the standard of excellence in the ECM sector, as evidenced by the numerous awards they have received including the InfoWorld 100, CRN’s Emerging Tech Dynamos and multiple Nucleus Research ROI Awards. In addition, Buyer’s Lab recognized PaperVision® Capture as the Outstanding Enterprise Capture Product for 2012. To learn more about the company’s software and services that deliver any document, anywhere, anytime, visit www.digitechsystems.com.
At a Glance Key Facts: DataBank
• Founded 1991
• 15 locations, administrative headquarters in Pennsylvania
• 465 employees
• 3,000 customers
• Specializes in imaging and information services
• Scans 1 billion images annually
• Key executives: Chuck Bauer, CEO; Sandy Brunner, CFO; Chad Van Norman, CIO