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Industry Insight from DocuWare

15 Oct, 2008 By: Editorial Staff imageSource

Industry Insight from DocuWare

Thomas Schneck, President of DocuWare AG, sits down with imageSource
Editor, Sand Sinclair, to provide insight into selecting  a good document
management solution that will result in an increasing and lasting ROI for

iS: Selecting a doc
management solution is quite challenging. What concerns do dealers have?

Thomas Schneck: Most dealers have had some solution selling
experiences in the past; unfortunately, for many dealers this experience has not
been good. The reasons for these unfulfilled expectations are various, ranging
from product to supplier to internal organizational issues. So, if a copier
dealer is taking on a new document management solution, they want to avoid
similar problems.

Therefore, they look for a vendor who provides them with a proven success
model. This entails a product which has wide acceptance in all company sizes and
industries, a go-to-market strategy which shows them how to find customers
quickly, and a training program which quickly brings their solution specialists
up to speed.

Another key concern for many dealers is that they get the necessary support
from the solution vendor. They are looking for a supplier who provides them with
intense on-site and centralized support for all their pre- and after sales
activities, from prospecting to the actual installation.

iS: The key benefits to dealers who go from box selling to solutions are?

TS: We see a multitude of benefits, but let me start with the most
important one: Profitability.

We see that solution selling is a great way for any office automation dealer
to escape the ever-increasing margin pressures related to selling hardware. Due
to the further commoditization of MFPs, margin erosion will only increase for
the foreseeable future. Selling solutions allows a dealer to present their
hardware offerings in a totally different light. Instead of selling functions
and features of a box, they present a true value proposition to the customer.
This allows the dealer to ask for a fair price for the hardware as well as for
the software.

Furthermore, selling solutions is the ideal platform for generating
professional services revenues. Due to the strategic value of a solution, a
customer understands more easily the necessity to pay for pre-sales consulting,
implementation and training.

In addition, solution selling is a great way to increase customer loyalty. As
document management solutions in most cases are mission-critical applications,
it is much more unlikely that a vendor is replaced compared to a hardware-only

Let me also present one additional aspect which is sometimes overlooked: By
taking on solutions, a dealership becomes a much more attractive workplace for
ambitious professionals on the technical as well as the sales side as it
provides a career path to the future.

iS: What is DocuWare's transition formula for organizations?

TS: Our transition process is based on three components: a fair
compensation model for the solution specialist and the general sale force, the
in-house use of the solution, and the execution of a 90-day launch program.

The compensation is very important to make sure that the general sales force
and the specialists are motivated to work together.  We provide a compensation
model which can be adapted to the individual market places.

The installation of the document management solution for key areas of the
dealership such as accounting or sales is critical. We believe that only once
the whole organization experiences the power of the solution for themselves is
it able to reach its full sales potential. On top of it, the technical
specialist gains hands-on experience when installing the system which is
invaluable for the first customer implementations.

The 90-day launch program defines specific sales and marketing
activities and goals broken down by each week. Before the launch program starts,
dealerships typically host a kick-off meeting for the sales team. During this
meeting, the roles of the general sales force and the specialist are defined.
The main goal of the launch program itself is to develop the solution-selling
skill set of the sales specialist. A DocuWare representative coaches the sales
specialist through the typical steps of a document solution sale process. This
sales process has been developed over the years and is based on best practices
from our dealers worldwide. The main components are prospect qualification,
business process analysis, ROI calculations and closing techniques.

iS: How long before dealers see a real ROI?        

TS: Quite often we see dealers achieving a quick ROI with a few quick
sales. However, we typically see that a lasting ROI can be achieved after the
first 12 months. What is interesting is that the dealer size does not
necessarily determine the success probability. It ultimately comes down to how
strict and serious the ownership and management is in implementing and executing
the solution selling strategy.

iS: Do you need special IT people to oversee your solution?

TS: Our model is based on two different specialists: a sales and a
technical specialist. The sales specialist should be proficient with MS Office
and should be familiar with IT issues such as the role of an ERP or CRM system
but does not have to have a formal IT education. 

The technical specialist who is responsible for the actual installation and
ongoing support can be typically recruited from the technical services team. In
most cases, they already have a good IT background due to the connectivity
possibilities of a MFP.

iS: Where is DocuWare headed today? Any forecast?

TS: We are enjoying very good success with our over 400 channel
partners worldwide, with new and expansion sales growing at about 20 percent. We
expect to continue on this growth path for the foreseeable future.

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