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Would You Give Your Software Management To A Copier Rep?

2 Oct, 2006 By: Howard Meltzer imageSource

Would You Give Your Software Management To A Copier Rep?

Once again we find our industry embroiled in a new category
of products billed as Document Management Solutions.  This time we are being
asked to direct our substantial sales and marketing muscle toward linking
someone’s document management software to our imaging systems.  Combined, these
hybrid functions are designed to offer more efficient creation, management,
reproduction and storage/retrieval of user information.

Yes, it is a viable and growing market that will improve
business productivity.  Yes, it does involve imaging devices.  But no, it does
not fit seamlessly into our core business model.  Here are a few reasons why:

1.   Our industry is based on a 30 day selling cycle.  From
overall management of    the business to prospecting, closing deals and
compensating sales personnel, the clock is reset on the first day of every
month. Document management selling simply does not fit this model.

2.   By definition, a prospective user is being asked to
fundamentally change their culture and the way they conduct their business. 
Such a radical modification to a company’s operations typically involves
prospecting at a higher level within that organization and then evolves
through a committee based process before a final decision can be made.  This
takes substantial selling time and nurturing by the sales representative.

3.   Prospecting to higher levels within a company, longer
sales cycles and more complex nurturing to close the sale   
means that to be successful, a sales representative must dramatically increase
the number of prospects in her/his funnel in order to be successful.

4.   Complexity of both the document management software
and its applications within a user environment require substantial and
consistent training and support from the vendor.  To date, this has been a very
uneven but critical element in the equation.  The occasional web seminar and a
technical support website won’t suffice. 

Sales support must include substantial onsite training of
the selling staff on prospecting, applications, needs analysis, system functions
and sales aids like case studies and testimonials.  Technical support must
include in depth training for each application and function backed by both
hotline and onsite troubleshooting.

Case in Point

Docuteam in Georgia is one of Sharp’s leading dealers. 
Early on, Docuteam made a major commitment to partner with ProPoint Management
to develop and implement a successful document management program.  Together,
they developed a selling skills training program designed specifically to fill
the funnel with higher level qualified prospects, then selected a team of sales
reps to spearhead this program while maintaining  consistent performance within
their 30 day selling cycle plan.

Fundamentally, the sales reps became specialists that knew
how to dig deeper into a qualified prospect’s business needs, which would allow
them to uncover legitimate applications that could be addressed with their fully
supported document management system. Docuteam then invested in the
infrastructure to professionally support the sales representatives with fully
integrated pre and post sales support teams in a ratio of one support rep to
eight sales reps, and manage them in the same ratio. The final element was the
selling proposition.  Instead of selling their software package as part of the
equipment lease agreement, they sell the use of their software based on a cost
per scanned page basis that includes double backup redundancy of the data.  The
result is up front payment for the equipment as part of the lease plus an
ongoing cash flow based on the scanned data and a click charge for copies, faxes
and prints.

Getting to the Core of Document Management

Although Docuteam and ProPoint invested in and built an
extremely strong selling, support and marketing program, their example
represents a successful and very profitable formula that can be emulated by any
dealer that enters the document management market.  Conversely, to look at this
market as just another product category that can be setup and managed as part of
the ongoing copier program is to invite frustration.  Yes, it represents an
opportunity but only if structured and managed aggressively as a unique

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