By: Chad Crawford on January 28th, 2020
Calling All Office Technology Providers: Could IT Be the Key to Differentiation, Business Growth & Attracting New Talent?
Opportunity is everywhere in the imaging industry. If you think about how it has evolved over the last few decades, and the resulting new product and service lines that have emerged, it’s really pretty remarkable. Through all of this change, office technology providers have built and maintained very strong relationships within their customer bases, earning trust and loyalty along the way. They have also become expert sellers and know how to train and develop their sales talent.
But even with bountiful opportunity, there will always be obstacles. In fact, just about every Dealer survey you’ll come across seems to reveal three consistent challenges:
- Differentiation through products, solutions and services
- Growth and profitability
- Attracting and retaining top sales and technical talent
So how can Dealers overcome these obstacles to drive growth? Expanding into IT services is one way Dealers can answer these challenges. Today we’ll explore how adding an IT offering can help you overcome these challenges and grow your business for the future.
How Adding an IT Offering Can Help Dealers Differentiate
In the competitive landscape of the imaging channel, a Dealer may regularly compete with an incumbent vendor, five plus other independent Dealers and a few manufacturers for a single net-new account; all this competition for the same or similar product, no less. From the customer’s perspective, all multifunction printers (MFPs) perform similar functions; they will print, make copies, and scan to email. So, how can you differentiate yourself outside of price? You first have to change the conversation.
With the products and solutions you offer becoming more connected to the customer’s network than ever before, your sales and service teams are already having high-level IT conversations and interfacing with the customer’s network. This presents an opportunity for office technology providers to sell and service all of their customer’s business technology needs, from hardware and software, to their network and its security.
By doing so, Dealers can elevate their offerings far above and beyond that of the traditional office equipment Dealer or managed print provider and position themselves as a total solution provider that can manage the entire office technology environment. This gives the customer a single, trusted partner to manage their technology roadmap and makes it challenging for a competitor to take away any portion of the business.
Seizing IT Opportunities Can Drive Growth and Profitability
The IT industry is booming. With the risk and costs of security breaches rising every day, consumers are educated and more ready than ever to invest in a reliable, secure, all-inclusive office technology solution. According to an article by The Imaging Channel, 1.5 trillion dollars was spent on IT in the United States in 2018. Additionally, CompTIA reports that the IT Market is growing between 5-7% each year.
We’ve established the market for IT is huge, but consider further how much of that market sits right within your customer base. Your customers are relying on someone to manage their network. It might as well be you!
As for the rest of the market, those you don’t yet have business relationships with, that’s where you have an opportunity for net new business. You have the chance to attract those who aren’t in the market for a printer, but are in the market for IT hardware or services. This presents an opportunity to gain a foothold in competitive accounts, making it that much easier to justify the move over to your complete offering when the time is right.
IT Can Attract and Retain Cutting Edge Workforce Talent
According to a study by SeriusDecisions, between 73-78% of Sales talent will leave an organization because they fear their company will not be able to meet their market’s demands. The next generation of sales and technical talent has grown up with technology. They understand the importance it plays in a business and want to be a part of a company where the solutions they sell and service are in high demand.
To put it simply, making IT a critical part of your offering will position you as a Cutting Edge, Technology Company in the eyes of the candidates you need to attract and retain in order to continue growing your business.
If you are thinking about making the leap into Managed IT, there are several things to keep in mind:
1. Secure support from the top down.
Ownership and C-level need to be fully committed to developing a plan and providing the resources and support to execute the plan.
2. Understand the commitment.
Making the leap into Managed IT will require a significant investment of time, resources and most importantly, patience. Managed IT has a slightly different business model, a much longer sales process and will require specialized expertise that may not exist within your business today.
3. Decide whether you will build, buy or outsource.
A key decision to make is whether you plan to build out your IT offering from scratch, acquire an existing MSP and integrate them in to your company, or outsource with a Master MSP. There are pros and cons to each approach so it’s important to do your homework and determine what makes the most sense for your business.
Does Your Company Have a Growth Opportunity with Managed IT Services?
Dealers who have successfully made this transition will likely tell you it wasn’t easy, but the ones who went all in and stuck with the plan will tell you it was well worth it. Transitioning to Managed IT can seem like a radical change from your core business today, but keep in mind, you’ve done this before.
The products and solutions you’ve sold have evolved over the years from adding machines, typewriters and word processors to multi-functional devices that are connected to the cloud and loaded with software. Regardless of all the change, your purpose has always been, and will always be, to serve your customers. Adding an IT offering is just another opportunity to prove you understand your customers and are willing to adapt your offerings to once again, help move their business forward.
Our GreatAmerica IT Company for Office Technology Dealers
Collabrance, our “Master MSP,” was created to help progressive Office Equipment Dealers who are eager to grow their business faster with Managed IT Services.
Interested in exploring how Collabrance can get you started down the Managed IT path? Click the button below!
Register for our upcoming Sales Simplicity Seminar and unlock the key to selling Managed IT Services
GreatAmerica and Collabrance have partnered with CharTec to help Solution Providers effectively and profitably sell Managed IT Services. During our Sales Simplicity Seminar, you'll learn how to have business conversations instead of technical conversations, and discover the best way to position your company as a true business advisor and IT consultant.
Learn more about this exclusive sales training and reserve your seat for our March 2020 session below!
Chad Crawford is a Vendor Relationship Manager at GreatAmerica in the Office Equipment Group. Chad supports office technology providers through financing solutions and value-add business services to help dealers differentiate themselves, close more sales and build recurring revenue streams. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his wife and 2 dogs or working on various home renovation and woodworking projects.