Move All of your Business Transactions Online in Less Than One Year
20 October 2016 | IT Admin
I have two longer term customers that pay me via a monthly check. Other than that, all my customers do business with me via my website www.mpstoolbox.com.
My business is 100% service. Here are three things that made this possible.
1. Rethink and redesign your offerings.
My business is marketing and software development. My industry is project based. It’s time and materials. In the past, every time a client would ask “how much does it cost to build an e-commerce website, or run a campaign?" It required a quote to be generated. That meant delay and wasted hours on my end building the quote and this delay often caused the sale momentum to wane. I knew I needed to rework the sales process. How does it work today? After each sales call and demonstration, we send out a digital quote via email to each prospect. I can immediately tell if the customer opened the email and reviews the quote. If they have, then we have a good prospect. If not, then we have more work to do. Our pricing is standardized: we charge $3000 to build a fully integrated ecommerce website. By standardizing the process, I could be leaving money on the table. That said, my pricing is transparent, but that is consistent with the way most products are bought and sold online today. An automated billing process also makes recurring billing far easier. If you were trying to bill a customer, $300/month for example, your internal costs of creating and sending out invoices then receiving cheques and posting them to your accounting system would mean much of your revenue would be taken up in administration costs.
2. Encourage your sales people to quote customers online through your website.
If your sales model requires sales people to visit customers for every sale, your business model is in danger. I am not saying you do not need sales people (far from it)! They are more valuable than ever. What I am saying is that the mechanics of selling need to go through your website. Giving the customer a physical quote can still work, but it’s not necessary. Drive the customer to your website. Do you sell technology? Customers are probably more likely to buy technology from a company that uses technology. I even built an online quoting tool to make it easy for salespeople to use.
Here is Quote Manager and why it is important for dealers.
Here is a short tutorial on how to use Quote Manager.
3. Think like a millennial.
You are probably thinking that’s hard to do, right? Well your customers are getting younger. I’m 47 and not getting younger, but my team is. I’ve noticed that, more and more, my customers, specifically the decision makers at the company, were getting younger. I started to feel like a father to some of these buyers the [harsh] reality is that people don’t want to listen to or buy from their Dad. So I hired younger people to talk to clients. But I also changed the way they sell things. The generation below mine is making a lot of decisions; they are independent. Make sure your website, which this younger audience will most certainly expect to interact with, is engaging. Make sure it allows your customers to get what they need themselves, without a visit from Dad, or a sales rep that acts like a Dad with the way they engage technology.
Curious about my process? Don’t ask me, talk to Caleb!
About the Author
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.