Carl Little, VP of Dealer Sales, InkCycle, Inc.Email: clittle at inkcycle dot com
This will be my last post today, but I wanted to share with you the information I learned from Melissa Whitaker at Melissa Whitaker International. She began her presentation by asking if we know what the biggest current challenge is in aftermarket sales. Her answer: Having the right people. And she's right. But when we find the right people, how do we keep them interested and engaged in this crazy business we're in?
She said to constantly challenge your people with quotas and targets. This keeps them engaged. And since half of the revenue most of businesses will be earning through 2014 will be in MPS, we have to keep that in mind aftermarket sales reps are going to be hurt by this shift. They may need to be retrained to sell MPS because their jobs might be eliminated if they don't learn to ask the right questions to address the opportunities with their clients. Now that's motivation to learn!
It's important to leverage the relationships of your supply sales reps, because they know their transactional clients and might be able to move them to MPS over the phone. Of course, you want to pay them for their MPS contract much the same way as selling supplies - so you won't lose your good sales people.
The diversification of your product offerings opens different doors within the same company. Consider adding more items to your portfolio to help transactional sales reps supplement income they may have lost to MPS sales reps. File cabinets, fire proof safes, projectors, bulbs, thermal printer supplies, forms, paper, etc. can be the door opener to transferring clients to Managed Print, and also a way in the door to earn new clients.
And don't forget to be different in the marketplace! You have to create promotions and programs that are creative. It can be a product of the month, putting candy in your orders, giving away Starbucks cards, having special pricing or rebates - the possibilities are endless.
The bottom line is the people who regularly communicate with your customers are having to move from the sale rep role to the sales consultant role. They have to be taught to ask questions, and to learn that they need more training. Invest in training them so they will be more loyal and love their job. They will make you more money - and more money for themselves. And your customers will be happier too, but they will be able to provide them a true solution!