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Technology Scavenger Hunt at ITEX '08

14 Apr, 2008 By: Carla Nasse imageSource

Technology Scavenger Hunt at ITEX '08

Why do/did people really go to ITEX, anyway? Is it the education sessions? Is
it the expo floor? Is it to meet with their manufacturers? All of these are good
reasons to go.  But what’s the real reason people go to ITEX?  It’s the
scavenger hunt!  Attendees come to the conference with a list of things to find.
The items on the list should result in an improved bottom line with a good ROI.
Just to keep the contest interesting, nobody has the same list.  The dealership
that best completes their list is the winner. And what prizes are awarded?  More
money and an improved bottom line! 

Each year, the ITEX people has made it very easy to find the vendors that
dealers need to talk to about products and services. Before coming to the
conference, you can input the types of resources you want to investigate.  A
list of vendors is always generated and ready to print. You can be armed with
your personalized technology scavenger list.  Once you are pre-registered for
the sessions, you’re ready (as were many at this year’s recent show) to start
the hunt.

Thursday morning, the educational sessions started.  The expo hall opened at
9:30AM.  The hunt had started.  In Aisle 800, attendees and vendors alike were
buzzing with the news that CompTIA’s PDI+ (Print & Document Imaging)
certification exam has now been launched.  Anxiously anticipated by many, the
document imaging industry now has a certification from the IT industry.  CompTIA
(Computing Technology Industry Association) is a vendor neutral association
comprised of manufacturers, resellers, distributors and others involved in the
information technology industry.  Attendees have heard about the PDI+
certification from their OEMs.  Now it was time to figure out just how this is
really going to help their bottom line. 

At the CompTIA booth, there was a chart showing four certifications and what
each one is about.  The first is the new PDI+ Certification, Network+, then A+
and finally CDIA+.  Who should have what and how is each going to help the
bottom line?

PDI+ (Print and Document Imaging) validates the skills and knowledge
of an office equipment repair technician that’s been in the field 6 – 12
months.  New techs that are PDI+ trained and certified have a shorter learning
curve.  The shorter the learning curve, the sooner they are more productive. 
The more productive they are, the more money the dealership makes.  IT people
know and trust CompTIA.   When the techs at the dealership are PDI+ certified,
this can be used as a marketing tool by posting on the website, mentioning
certification in all proposals, and including it in the sales talk track.  Use
PDI+ Certifications as a closing tool and as an advantage to distinguish
yourself from the competition.  If a driver has PDI+, he has the skills to
connect the equipment when it’s delivered.  The customer is up and running
quickly so it increases customer satisfaction.  Having to coordinate the
dealership’s network specialist with the delivery doesn’t always work out well. 
If the driver can do the initial networking, it is a value that’s again a
distinguisher and advantage over the competition.  If the sales people sell on
value and not price, the margins are better, improving the bottom line.

Network+ is for the next level of technicians.  When selling to the
SMB market, many of the small businesses don’t have an IT department.  They
contract out for their networking needs.  With a Network+ technician and maybe
an MCSE on board, the dealership can be expanded to include networking
services.  It’s a logical progression for the industry and captures more of the
customer’s business.  Revenues are looking up.

A+ is the most widely held CompTIA certification at this point.  There
are over 700,000 A+ certified people.  The reason this is so prevalent is
because it validate the knowledge of computer hardware and operating systems. 
It’s the first certification that most people earn.  This sets the foundation
for a fundamental knowledge that other IT certifications are based upon. 

CDIA+ (Certified Document Imaging Architech) is the certification that
most people in the document imaging industry are familiar with.  Most
manufacturers have been requiring their field sales people to get this
certification for the last 8 or 9 years.  It’s the only one of the IT
certifications that is focused for sales.  This certification validates the
knowledge required to design and implement a document management system.  IT
people are pleasantly surprised by an office equipment sales person that has
actually taken the time to understand their business.  At the dealer level, CDIA+
certified people are still the exception to the rule.  A CDIA+ certified sales
rep has a distinct advantage over most reps.  A CDIA+ certified sales person has
a level of knowledge about the entire document management process, not just the
front end imaging process.  They may be able to capture additional business
while working with the prospect’s IT people by uncovering more opportunities. 
They don’t have to stop the sales cycle to wait for the dealership’s IT
specialist.  If the sales cycle is shorter, the margins and close rate are
usually higher.

This scavenger hunt was going great.  An online training company for IT
certifications was just two booths away from CompTIA.  Now, it should have been
on to the next item on your list – a secondary manufacturer.

Once back home after the ITEX conference, the ideas need to be put in place
for the dealership to really win the biggest prize sought (making more money). 
It’s time to develop a training schedule for sales and service.  Launch a
contest to create the competitive atmosphere that will get people moving on
their training.  When the certifications have been earned, update your website
with the certifications.  Ensure that the sales people know how to include the
benefits into their talk track.  Explain to the outside network vendor you have
used in the past that his services are no longer required, keeping that money
in-house.  As your  sales reps are now selling solutions instead of just
hardware, plan on how to use the additional revenue.

Carla Nasse is a former Senior Marketing Manager & Regional Sales Manager in
the document imaging industry & now Director of Corporate Sales for Specialized
Solutions, an IT training company. She is one of the original Cornerstone
Advisory Committee members for CompTIA in developing the PDI+ certification. At
800.942.1660 X 286/

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