Monday, November 6, 2017

Yes, paper-less offices are real. "And they're Spectacular."


In an episode of Seinfeld, Jerry's gorgeous new girlfriend's lovely breasts become the subject of conjecture; are they real or implants. Elaine thinks they're fake so Jerry decides not to see her again. Elaine changes her mind after tripping and falling into the ample bosom. 

Again, the "paper-less office will never exist" debate is grabbing headlines and copy.  Good stuff, if not factually spun.

I've been face to face with organizations who significantly reduced the number of copiers, printers and reams of paper utilized.  
  • A major retail company went from 100 or so devices to 10
  • Health network(s) go from huge file rooms to no filing cabinets at all
  • Manufactures shift away from paper based job-jackets to digital files
These companies didn't feel compelled to save the trees or Chewbaccas.  Prospects tell me they squeeze paper out of the process because "paper slows everything."

Contrary to real-world observations, a slew of headlines expressing paper "alive and well" permeate our environment.

It makes sense for an OEM or industry insider to orient a paperless philosophy around their multifunction device or slab of software, yet they are, at best, missing the point or worse, promoting a lie. 

Your prospects are moving to digital workflows not because a copier allows the transition, they are making the journey because paper is an inefficient medium for transporting data.  No client is going to express it that way - they'll say things like, "... we want to process more accounts receivables, quicker" or "our current way of processing service calls is cumbersome, negatively affecting our customer satisfaction and losing us customers."

Tell me how a copier is going to help your customer retain clients.

Before the copier sellers get all riled up, people are still buying/leasing copiers.  The 'down the street' copier sales person can still make a living -  but the clock has been ticking - you won't be selling to manufacturers or distribution companies much longer because as you read this, EVERYBODY is looking at eliminating redundant, paper-based, manual processes.
Ask yourself, better yet, ask your prospects:

"Are you printing and copying more now days?" 

Don't rely on your vendors or management, ownership or industry 'studies' sponsored by manufacturers.

They are not telling you the truth.  "They" want you to work the down the street business, even as it reduces.  Your ownership MUST manage to OEM quotas - for discounts/margin, marketing funds, and supporting bloated service departments. 

Our industry is contracting, NOT GROWING. How many dealers have been scooped up?  From Ikon, to Global Imaging to today's resellers circling the wagons(or is it the drain?), the number of providers fades just as fast as monthly clicks in a Kofax/DocuWare solution.

THAT IS THE PROBLEM.  It's a mirage, a trap to believe YOUR, specific increase in placed devices  represents "recovery" or growth.  Look at total images generated - they are buying but not using devices.

So What?

This is why recognizing the signs is important: If you're in the industry of putting marks on paper, this will not last.

  1. MpS is working - print is being managed out of business
  2. People are organically printing less - yup.
  3. Paper is too slow - yup, yup.
What to do:
  1. Learn as much as you can about sales, business and technology.
  2. See your future beyond the printer/copier; think managed services, internet of everything, remote workers.
  3. Question everything the established, industry players tell you; your dealership, OEMs, software firms, paper companies, toner manufacturers, consultants and industry data analysts are motivated to keep you believing a falsehood.
  4. Look to getting into 'managed services' sales.  More advanced resellers consider output devices just another IT asset and fold MpS into managed IT services; there aren't too many of these people.  Still, the next temporary, upward curve is managed IT.
  5. Figure out how to manage your manager.
  6. Stop thinking you're not good enough to talk with the C-Suite; if you stop selling and start solving, they will listen to you.
  7. Take the company logo off your LI profile, stop bragging about your latest technology show or sales accomplishment - nobody(opportunities & clients) gives a shit.
  8. Build your personal brand - NOT YOUR EMPLOYER'S. If your employer isn't paying for your account, why should they benefit? 
  9. Do the cold calls, make the dials.  Its basic, but valuable beyond all the hype.
  10. Speaking of basics, stop telling, start asking and then shut the hell up.
People have asked, "Greg, why did you stop writing?".  I answer, "...because there is nothing new to talk about.  Everything I've said in the past has come forward and the industry is dumb."  The dumbest thing I hear today is, "Print is relevant, again."  

Paperless offices are real, and they are spectacular.


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