Document imaging technology is more popular than ever. That doesn’t mean, however, that it’s a no-brainer for end users to purchase it. There are plenty of free document imaging tools out there that they might be perfectly content with because they are unaware of what level other tools and resources can take their business to.
In many cases, it’s going to be your sales skills that are going to convince a business to invest in serious document imaging technologies. Following are some helpful strategies to help you build those skills:
Don’t sell the technology; sell a solution: Scanning itself is not a document imaging solution. In fact, most offices already have some sort of free scanning software that came with the MFP. It’s what an organization does with images created by scanning that provides the payback. This can include capturing data, applying automated workflows, sharing images for collaboration, and enforcing records management and information governance policies in a document repository. In many cases, process improvements in these areas can provide an ROI in less than two years, which is often a slam dunk for an end user when considering an IT purchase. Don’t talk to your customers about the great technology you have to offer—explain to them how it will save them time, money, and improve their business.
Find a niche: Finding a niche on which to focus your document imaging sales is a big advantage. It enables you to become an expert in the document processes related to a specific area. It also gives you a clearly defined group of customers to market to, as well as third-party software products that your document imaging software can be integrated with. Finally, it helps you learn to talk the talk of your target customers and present yourself as an insider in their industry. Popular niches for document imaging value-added resellers (VARs) include horizontal applications like accounts payable and human resources and vertical markets like financial services, insurance, government, and really any other vertical where paper plays an important part.
Offer end-to-end services: Be a one-stop shop for all your customers’ hardware, software, configuration, service, and maintenance needs. This will not only enable you to increase your revenue and margins by increasing the number of components you are responsible for—it will also help keep potential competitors out. Even if you don’t offer a certain type of integration or conversion service yourself, find a partner that does and handle the interface with your customer. Customers like knowing there is only one throat to choke if something goes wrong.
Offer hybrid on-premise/cloud solutions: According to a recent survey from BetterCloud, by 2020, 62% of organizations say they will be running 100% of their information technology in the cloud. That means that in a few short years, it’s more likely than not that your customers will want a cloud-based document imaging solution. The problem is that today the majority of your customers might not be ready to cut the cord and put their mission-critical documents in the cloud. That’s okay, because most forward-thinking ISVs now offer feature-rich browser-based versions of their on-premise software designed to make migration to their cloud offerings that much easier down the road. This type of solution will make your customers comfortable that working with you will be more than a short-term solution.
Embrace multi-channel input: According to Harvey Spencer Associates’ most recent figures, input from document scanners made up just over 50% of the files being processed by document capture software in 2014. The other half was coming from a combination of sources, including MFPs, faxes, e-mails, and mobile devices. And that other half continues to grow. As a document imaging VAR, it’s your job to understand your customers’ paper-driven processes, but you also have to understand that, in many cases, paper-driven can be, and is being, replaced by something else. Embracing this something else as another on-ramp to your capture and workflow implementation will enable you to continue to own your customers’ processes and, in turn, your customers.
Following these sales strategies should prove useful in helping you continue to succeed in the document imaging market as it evolves, matures, and grows. Remember: it’s important that you evolve, mature, and grow your business and sales strategies right along with it.
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