According to Jessica Collins, a Virginia Commonwealth University Professor who spoke at the recent Copier Dealers Association (CDA) first ever Marketing Summit hosted by Cobb Technologies in Virginia last month, 76% of marketers think marketing has changed more in the past two years than in the past 50! Though I haven’t been in the game for quite that long, I do have a few decades of experience under my belt and can confidently say the pace of change in the marketing arena has been on steroids over the past few years! This is largely due to technological advancements which have completely altered the way buyers behave—and yes—that includes you and your prospects and customers, Ms. or Mr. Office Equipment Dealer!
What The 70% Moment of Truth Means to Office Technology Providers
To this point, the CDA brought in entrepreneur, speaker, and author of the book, “They Ask You Answer,” Marcus Sheridan, to kick off this inaugural Marketing Summit. This is the third time I’ve seen Marcus speak, and he is compelling when he makes his case that because of the 70% “moment of truth” (buyers are 70% through the buying process before they make contact with your sales reps) our businesses need to evolve. He purports that we must advance from our traditional sales model to one that meets our prospects where they begin their buyer journey, which is online. While there, we must be answering the questions they are typing into the Google search bar. If we show up when they do this, and provide helpful answers, we establish trust and have a better shot at earning their business.
Office Technology Businesses Need Sales & Marketing Alignment
The next morning, myself and our head of sales, Lindsay Bohon, lead a discussion around the importance of sales and marketing alignment. Especially considering Marcus Sheridan’s stance on the value of creating meaningful content for our prospects and customers online, sales and marketing alignment has become paramount to the success of any business. In fact, some forward-thinking companies are creating Revenue Teams and eliminating the barrier between the two functions altogether. But for office technology providers who are new to this concept, we hoped to give them some smaller actionable recommendations they could take back and implement right away. Even some of the more simple suggestions we offered up received good feedback from those in attendance. In fact a few left with plans for marketing to begin attending all sales meetings upon returning back to their offices. Closer communication between the two functions helps marketing understand the customer’s needs better and provides a feedback loop between the sales and marketing teams. It’s really so simple, right?
The Importance of Search Engine Optimization for Office Equipment Dealers
Our friends at Clover presented about the lessons they’ve learned from their travels to the many dealerships over the years. One of the interesting things they showed was a Matt Cutts video that explained how Search Engine Optimization (SEO) works at a high level. SEO is important to ensure your online content is easily found by your prospects and customers. As Aaron Dyck from Clover’s Amplify Services Group stated, produce optimized content to “become or remain essential to your customers’ business”.
Cross Selling Your Current Office Technology Customers
Darrell Amy with Convergo presented a model for growing a dealership based on both growing net new business and cross selling current customers, “The Revenue Growth Engine.” He showed how at the core of this growth is the ability for a dealer to communicate a clear message about what they do and the value they deliver. “If you confuse the marketplace, you will lose,” Amy stated. He shared how both marketing and sales can play important roles in acquiring new customers, and not to be complacent about the time and energy you put into cross selling your current customers.
Inbound Marketing Best Practices for Office Technology Providers
A representative from Hubspot, Margot Mazur, shared 10 Best Practices of Inbound Marketing. One of my favorite points she made was the importance of video marketing today. Video allows you to create connections with your audience in a way that other forms do not. She encouraged us to use video in blog posts, nurturing videos, social media videos, video ads (If you want to see ads do well, put a video in them!), video for SEO (Google loves video!), lead gen content, and delight videos. To save time, she suggested creating one long video and “chopping it up” into bite sized segments for use across your marketing strategy.
Margot underscored that you don’t need a big budget for video or fancy equipment. You don’t even need to hire an agency. She suggested starting simply with a smart phone, which can actually produce good quality video content these days.
Best Practices for Marketing in the Office Imaging Channel
Dealer best practice sharing was surely the best part of the event from a dealer perspective. While I won’t give away the secret sauce out of respect to the CDA and their investment in this event, I will say that I was truly impressed with the level of talent, the honesty, and willingness of the dealers to admit their failures and challenges, but also share their wins and tips.
No doubt, marketing has changed in the last few years – and at a pace that makes one’s head spin. But this swift evolution has highlighted the importance of continuing education for all of us—from marketing and sales to leadership. I’m so impressed that organizations like the BPCA and the CDA are demonstrating their commitment to understanding these changes and evolving their businesses accordingly.
Learn more about inbound marketing and sales and marketing alighment by checking out these resources for further reading!
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