“Will adding a software solution to this sale, slow it down or overcomplicate it?”
Does this sound familiar? I’ve heard this question a lot. A channel (large equipment manufacturer) sales force is so focused on selling hardware, the software solutions are frequently seen as a nuisance.
You can’t blame the sales team; the hardware could be as much as a $500K sale and you’re trying to convince him to spend sales cycles on a web to print solution that is $1K/month subscription. The commission on the web to print solution is probably too low to measure!
The impact of this spreads across the industry. The printer can sense a lack of focus on the software solutions – maybe he takes this as “it must not be very important.” The sales force doesn’t invest time in learning the software solutions because 90%+ of their commission comes from hardware.
Does the investment in hardware grow businesses? Not by itself.
Yes, it’s a requirement to have the capacity and the quality to manufacture your product but capacity and quality can be bought by all your competitors and MORE importantly your competition is NOT other printers – its alternative methods of communication and promotion other than print.
I can geek out with the best of them about new equipment, I had my time in that space dreaming about faster throughput, heavier stocks, larger sheets sizes, etc… Its time to collectively change our geek preferences to learning about how the web and software and everything about the digital economy is changing the way people communicate.
Are the new breed of pure online printer providers winning because they have different hardware than you? Nope. They don’t even call themselves printers – read any press release by VistaPrint, they never use the word printing! “a leading online provider of professional marketing products and services to micro businesses.”
Growth in this industry is about moving our focus upstream (away from the equipment) and onto ways of making the print procurement process brilliantly easy for customers as well as understanding who our real competition is.