Print solutions provider Fuji Xerox will introduce a training programme to help “minimise roadblocks” in the sales process.
The company is set to offer Streamline training sessions to New Zealand partners beginning in April. The programme is already being used in Europe and the US.
“As vendors, we sometimes step away from the basics, and you can’t,” says Anthony Toope, the company’s ANZ marketing and channel operations manager. “To some extent we need to keep the process of selling simple. Basic sales training and supporting our resllers is what we want to get back to and where we see where we can add value. That’s what our resellers are asking for.”
The company has been using the web and social media to help support its 80 “targeted resellers” sell and market in New Zealand. The company established an ANZ-focused blog in December, and a user group on LinkedIn. The efforts are to mitigate the kind of pressure that volume consumer hardware markets have long experienced.
“Customers have a lot more flexibility, they’re saving money, and a lot of that is translating in to the business market,” says Toope.
Still, Toope says Fuji Xerox is seeing up to 40 percent growth in its top-end, business segments in ANZ.
“For resellers focused on those areas, there’s opportunity,” he says. “In terms of taking products to market, if they’re knowleadgable on that they can sell added value to the end-user customer, expanding to a broad offering, whether it’s print managemnet services or other value add services.”
The two-day Streamline programme includes sessions and corresponding software tools, form comparing a customer’s current print costs with potential savings from the vendor’s products to help form a proposal, to training in print service management. Resellers will be charged for the session, but Fuji Xerox will refund part of that expense through a co-operative advertising campaign.
Support key to reseller
Alistair Thomas, general manager of Auckland-based Cardys Business, Ltd, has seen vendor support crucial in his sector of print and copier solutions, which has been feeling the squeeze of commoditisation.
“The last couple of years have been difficult, but the vendor support has been there,” he says. “There are a lot of dealers that haven’t survived.”
Thomas, who spoke to Reseller News from a technical training session in Sydney on FujiXerox’s new Phaser 7800 printer, says his company has dropped vendors that failed to provide adequate support over the company’s 25 years.
“Either their products didn’t fit into the segments we were selling into, or basically because there just was no support, in some cases,” he says.
The brands that they still work with, including Kyocera Mita and Canon, are the ones that fit their business model and that provide necessary marketing, price strucutres and other help to compete in a high-pressure market.
“Every customer situation is different and you have to analyse each to get to what the end user is after,” Thomas says. “We’re not selling boxes, we’re selling solutions and we have to always present new opportunities to our customers, whether that’s a new solution, product, different type of SKUs, and pricing structures on hardware or on the services.”
Product, support coordination
Fuji Xerox will be introducing the Phaser 7800 --a high-end colour printer--along with two other models in March. Toope says the company plans to hold a customer-reseller “blind date” event at a special venue, and will offer a white paper to help resellers introduce the product to customers.
Toope says that the company is providing lead generation in New Zealand through an external source, and has encouraged the use of LinkedIn as a way for reseller partners to do a kind of “DIY lead generation.
Resellers in New Zealand and Australia have generated leads through LinkedIn research, according to Toope.