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It May Be Too Late To Learn, But It’s Not Too Late To Hire

27 September 2017 | NORM MCCONKEY

 

 

 

If you own a B2B technology dealership, do you know how to turn a screwdriver and fix an A3 MFP, or replace a faulty motherboard in a laptop? Do you know how to file and manage your own corporate tax returns, and employee 401Ks? Can you install a data collection agent on a customers' network? If you cannot, how do you manage? I assume you hire a specialist, right? Of course you cannot be an expert in everything. So then why the heck, if you know almost nothing about digital workflow automation and e-commerce, do you insist on making decisions about it at your company?

 

ecommerce for small business

  

B2B business sales process

 

What I’m about to say may sound harsh, but it’s born of over 200 customer interactions in the past 12 months. Most owners/principals of B2B companies are between the ages of 55 and 70 years old. This demographic does not typically understand how the two younger generations in the workforce are interacting with technology. How do I know this?

 

companies B2B digital transformation

 

It’s really that simple: if you understood the importance, you’d already be acting on it. Sales processes have fundamentally changed.

 

  1. You do not meet with people to sell products.
  2. Customers will interact with you on their time when they want to.
  3. If you insist on making the sales process flow through a person, they will seek an alternative source.

 

A Digital Workflow Specialist should be your next hire. Their mandate: digitize your customer interactions. Here are some examples: 

 

 CRM B2B

Customer/prospect communications: Congratulations. You are now CRM-Centric. All of your customer and prospect interactions are logged and tracked within a CRM. Sales people either get used to this system or they retire.

 

ecommerce for small business

Transactions are now done via your website. There are still big deals that will require face-to-face interactions, but toner ordering, service calls, sub $3000 hardware transactions are now pushed online. Reordering of big-ticket items is 100% online.

 

B2B online sales

Can we sell this product online? All new product decisions should be viewed with an idea to sell them online. Expanding beyond printers and into laptops, displays, cloud storage and other products that are all sellable online.

 

How will you pay for this position? How will you pay for the added costs of the technology they will force you to invest in? In the short term, the money should come from a reduction in outside sales staff. This change in direction will cost at least one existing salesperson to lose their job. This approach will force you into the direction of knowing that to succeed in a new direction you need to reduce expenses in another area. Plan for a 24-month investment where this new direction will start to pay for itself.

This project is urgent. This hire is urgent. You need a voice at the management table that is responsive to the needs of your customers. Do you do your own accounting? Service calls? Legal contracts? You may have expertise in one area, but not all.

Why then, if you do not understand how digital workflow works, do you insist on standing in the way of your company’s progress?

 

 

 

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About the Author

Norm McConkey

Norm McConkey has been involved in the print, imaging, and software/tech business since 1993. Holding executive level positions in a number of emerging technology firms, he founded PrintFleet in 2003, and Tangent MTW in 2009. A founding member of the MPSA, an award winning author and presenter, Norm has spoken at various industry events around the world including the Lyra Imaging Symposium, Photizo confernece, ITEX Tradeshow, Regional BTA conferences, Remax Europe, and World Expo. He has been contracted to consult and build go to market and sales training programs with several OEM manufacturers such as Canon USA, and HP, and distributors such as Parts Now and Supplies Network, as well Resellers including Office Depot. Norm’s current project, MPSToolbox (www.mpstoolbox.com), is a software platform which helps technology dealers develop and maintain e-commerce websites.

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