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Monday, January 12, 2015

Equipment Quota's: This Far. No Further!

"We've made too many compromises already; too many retreats.
They invade our space and we fall back. 

They assimilate entire worlds and we fall back. 
Not again. 
The line must be drawn here! This far, no further!"

Captain Picard's, "White Whale" speech refers to a relentless invading force moving forward, overtaking more and more.  Equipment quotas are like this - they never decrease, they are automatic, ubiquitous, and numerically exponential.

This was the way of the past - mass production distributed costs across a huge number of like identical products supported through mass marketing -
"you can order any color you like, as long as it's black..." Hank Ford.
The machine quota-driven, customer service experience is being recognized as an oxymoron by the very people you're trying to sell:  the prospect.

The End of Device quotas are Near
  1. Product will be ordered custom 1:1- the end of commodity devices
  2. Production costs will approach zero - 3D manufacturing
  3. Time to market will be measured in hours
  4. All equipment-based transactions will be direct - a myriad strong channel consisting of, specialized providers will service on an ad-hoc basis.
You can start now.  The biggest battle goes on between your ears and in your heart.  If you search yourself, you know real customer service has nothing to do with your 30 equipment forecast.
"When you sell hammers, everybody is a nail."
The day is coming, some owners have already crossed the Rubicon, refusing to play the OEM quota game. Some manufacturers no longer enforce equipment quotas and more will follow or get left on the wrong side of history.

Our niche will be transformed forever; your customer's world is changing too.  Do you have the eyes to see, or are you a modern-day Ahab?

Click to email me.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Five To Do's for a Successful Year

It is the first week of the year and you're going to hear a lot about business plans, forecasts, funnel management, and quotas.  Thousands of time-saving, productivity enhancing, sales coaching, articles flow through the digital rivers of the internet - nauseating in its volume.

I ask you, how are you, personally, forging ahead in the new year?   Will you be part of another's plan or will you set the agenda?

My advice is simple - nod your head to whatever your manager says, tuck the dogma away, get alone and do the following five things:

1.  Download and print the chart below

The chart was developed to illuminate intent between clients and vendors. It works on a personal basis as well.

2.  Find your personal position on the chart

Trust yourself enough to be completely honest.  There is NO WRONG position. Think about the past year; did you add value beyond delivery and price?

3.  Find your employer's position

Step back and consider your organization's sales over the past 12 months. Did you see lots of devices delivered yet a handful of software implementations?  Are your equipment quota's higher than services?  Do you lead with the latest and greatest or solve real business problems?  Do you often hear your manager say, "That price is not competitive, bury the profit in the service, bundle installation into the lease..."?

4.  Where do your best client implementations fall on the chart?

Now consider your client base.  Did you sell machines or provide answers? Were most of your deals price-driven?  Did they begin and end with a purchasing agent?

5.  Look at the gaps and imagine moving into a more desirable position in 2015.  What will it take?

Although there is no wrong position, if for example, your prospect is looking for a 'Specialized' relationship and your company only provides 'Transactional' services, your relationship is not sustainable.

By the same token, if your personal position is in 'Specialized' but your employer falls comfortably in the 'Transactional' column, you may have some issues to work out.

If your clients are all in 'Transactional' yet you want to get to the 'Specialized' area, what can you do to elevate the conversation?

This is a simple beginning to personal success - we can get deep on both the provider and client-side of the spectrum.  The devil is in how your customers perceive your offering relevant to how they think of themselves; do you two match?

I'd love to discuss with you how to best use this tool.  It's been effective for providers and end-users alike.

For now, hang your chart in your cube, office, or dashboard.  Embed it into your pre-call planning or (god forbid) your pitchbook - heck, make it your wallpaper.

But make sure to take a pic and email it to me.  The most interesting one will get a Starbucks card on me.


Reach out to me: and enjoy this sweet jam:

Saturday, January 3, 2015

2015: Beyond Managed Print Services

I was having a great discussion about paper, printers, sales people and the always changing business environment with my sister over the holidays. She's always goaded me about "The Death of The Copier" - like most, she believes I hate copiers, printers, and paper.  I don't.

Of course, she's been with the same paper company for 27 years, as with most conversations along these lines, she defends ink on paper like her lively hood depended on it - I guess, in a way, it does.

We talked about how reductions in her industry have led to less people yet more productivity.  The parallels between the premium paper and copier industry is logically, familiar.

My sister will be fine selling high-end paper to large printers who use billion dollar machines and an Indigo or two.  Still, we talked about the decreasing level of value her sales team provides for customers - again, familiar territory.

And so it is with our niche - as copiers became a commodity, more advanced talk tracks refrained from mentioning first copy out speeds, scan-once print-many, or manufacturers - ushering in the the death of the copier and the birth of EDM/DOC MAN.

Some say managed print services has been commoditized.  I disagree.  I believe the definition has been dumbed down to the lowest common denominator - toner delivery.

It was inevitable. EVERYBODY ELSE SELLS MPS.

This is why I say, in 2015, give up selling managed print services.  Instead, talk about giving your client more hours by squeezing the amount of paper in your their workflow.  Incorporate paper flow into your basic assessments its simple, just ask.

In 2015, think about these types of value props:
  • "At ABC Company, I helped them find a better way to process payables..."
  • "At XYZ Company, we helped IT complete two initiatives..."
  • "I've helped my customers see more of their children's soccer matches..."
You can still make quota and move away from being thought of as pushing commodities.  When you start feeling the pressure of commoditization, think how difficult it would be to get up each morning and sell paper.

If what I'm saying makes a bit of sense, but you're not quite sure how to execute in the trenches, reach out to me and let's see get some business going.

Contact Me

Greg Walters, Incorporated