Five Reasons Office Technology Dealers Can Profit From BPI Mania
Business process improvement or BPI, is hot – in the press, in boardrooms, on the websites of your competitors. BPI is powerful – it drives productivity and transforms businesses. BPI is an opportunity – for you and every dealer or reseller of office technology.
BPI is a methodology for maximizing operational effectiveness. Said more simply, it’s a way of helping a company get things done more efficiently. Less time. Lower costs. Significant bottom-line impact. These are the results of BPI, and companies everywhere – including your customers – want in.
“Yeah, but what’s that got to do with me?” asks the skeptical office technology dealer.
Let’s think about “business processes” a little more closely: billing, invoicing, performing any financial transaction; preparing pitch-books and proposals; writing work orders; updating progress reports; managing case files. In fact, just about every business process relies on documents, and therefore just about every business process relies on a company’s document and data infrastructure.
And therefore every business process relies on you, Mr. Skeptical.
If your customers are thinking about improving their operational effectiveness, if they’re interested in talking about BPI, then you’ve got a big fat sales opportunity. An opportunity to sell powerful, network-enabled MFPs. An opportunity to sell content management systems and document management software. An opportunity to provide your customers with the most efficient, most up-to-date ways to print, scan, route, share, archive and access documents.
Now I’ve got your attention.
BPI is the motherlode of document solutions selling opportunities. In the very best scenarios, it’s an invitation for you to talk to your customers about every document-related process in every department. But you’ll need to prepare. You’ll need to come at it methodically, crafting your sales approach as the solutions provider you now are, not the speeds-and-feeds guy you used to be.
Here are five aspects of document-and-data infrastructure that will matter to your BPI-focused customers – or, for that matter, any customer interested in improving its bottom-line profitability.
1: People Working with People
You’re in the technology business. The name of your dealership probably includes a word like “systems” or “machines” or “equipment” — or it did 20 years ago. A few years back, my company changed its name to include the word “solutions,” an indication of the changing mindset of our industry. Whereas once we sold technology for technology’s sake, today we find ways to help companies with technology. Same thing, different approach. No doubt you’ve heard this before.
Well, here’s another name for that mindset: Business Process Improvement.
Your customer doesn’t wake up every morning thinking about the latest document imaging technology. She wakes up thinking about how to help her people work together more efficiently. She wants collaboration to be easier. She wants workflow to be smoother. She’s concerned about people working with people, departments working with departments, how to work better with her customers, vendors, partners,and suppliers. She might not even know she’s looking for BPI. But you do.
2: Can’t Systems Just Get Along?
Across our industry, there are a dozen or more world-class companies producing some extraordinary document imaging devices. For document management software, there are hundreds of ECM and CMS packages available, most of which can be customized in many ways. Now do the math. Companies have thousands of hardware-software combinations, and all too often those devices and those ECM and CMS packages … just … don’t … seem … to … work … well … together.
Compatibility is a common problem. Seamless integration across the entire document infrastructure is a rarity. Who loses? Process efficiency, that’s who.
You’ve got an opportunity to provide your customers with a fully integrated document solution, hardware and software that is actually designed to work together. How many of your customers would be interested in that? I thought so, Mr. Starting-To-Like-This-BPI-Thing.
Documents exist in two forms: paper and digital. Over their lifecycles, most documents spend time as each: paper agreements to be signed, paper forms to be filled out, paper drafts to be marked up; digital files to be accessed, shared, and stored. The MFP is the point of transformation. It’s where digital files are printed and where paper documents are digitized, aka, scanned. In document-intensive companies such as banks, hospitals and law firms, high-volume printing and scanning is a constant part of day-to-day workflow.
Ask the administrative assistants at a mortgage lender about the printing and scanning processes that make up their day. Then ask if reducing time spent on those processes by 20 or 30 percent would make a difference. Congratulations! You just provided some BPI consulting … and you probably just sold a few high-volume MFPs.
4: Documents Here, There, Everywhere
Different customers. Different hot buttons. For some companies, it’s about the hardware, such as an 80-ppm, 220-ipm, fully customizable, network-enabled, Wi-Fi and NFC standard, 7,650-sheet powerhouse. For other companies, it’s about the software — the ECM, the CMS the DMS. (FYI, all those acronyms refer to basically the same thing.)
BPI doesn’t discriminate. BPI loves all customers. As an office technology dealer or reseller you probably make your margins selling hardware. But that doesn’t mean that hardware is always the way in. Some companies operate primarily in the world of digital documents, and the sales conversation may naturally focus on the way documents are shared, routed, stored and accessed. Of course, printing and scanning will also be required, so be ready with your fully integrated, total document solution.
5: The View From C-Level
Sometimes, if you’ve worked your relationships right, if that first sales call went exactly as planned … sometimes, you’ll get a meeting with the CTO or the COO of a larger company. A big opportunity. A six-figure opportunity. A true BPI opportunity.
Executives at this level don’t think about individual processes; about how a purchase order is routed for approval. They think about processes holistically, about operations generally, and they are extremely aware of the big-picture operational issues that are discussed every week in the corner conference room. Are employees putting in too much overtime? Are transactions being completed on time? Are regulatory documentation requirements being met? And what about document and data security? Are we vulnerable?
If you’re fortunate enough to get this kind of selling opportunity, do not – I repeat, do not — start with the devices. The meeting will be over faster than you can say “true 1,200 dpi.” Speak about business issues on an executive level. Determine the scope of the issues (department-wide? company-wide?), then present technology solutions on a similar scale. Fleets of printers and MFPs. Enterprise content management systems, housed not on high-maintenance servers but in the zero-maintenance cloud. Software that seamlessly connects all of it. Some manufacturers can even provide you with help from experts in specific issues and industries.
BPI is Opportunity
To the skeptical dealer, BPI is a trendy way to serve up “efficiency,” an ongoing goal of every business. To the motivated dealer, BPI is an opportunity – to develop deeper selling relationships with high-level customers; to sell more powerful devices and more of them; to become immersed in the way your customers run their businesses; to build revenue streams that last years.
That’s the opportunity you have right now, today. Because you’re already a BPI consultant. You just didn’t know it.
Danielle Wolowitz, KYOCERA Document Solutions America
This article originally appeared in the December 2017 issue of The Imaging Channel
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