This guest blog was contributed by Tawnya Stone | 6/3/13
In today’s converging world, we are all increasingly using technology in our workflow. Gartner Inc. recently projected that by 2020, 30 billion devices will be online 100 percent of the time and another 200 billion will connect intermittently. This increased use of technology allows users to easily access information anywhere electronically. Dealers have the opportunity to provide this accessibility to their customers. Many of us have looked toward document management solutions (DMS) to resolve our technology needs and increase our efficiency in the workplace.
DMS has a lot to offer, but everyone has their own individual needs. Like most sales, it is important to customize your approach with each customer. But how do we effectively communicate the value of DMS to our customers and focus our approach?
Talk to a decision-maker
When thinking of DMS, some might gravitate toward thinking of talking to an IT contact. But with DMS, try targeting C-level executives. Focus on someone who has a business problem to solve and a budget to implement a solution. Those who are higher up in the company understand the business needs and have identified issues they want to change.
One tip to finding a point of contact is to begin with business managers. They may already be working on issues and attempting to find solutions. Ultimately, you want to talk with a key mover in the company to implement DMS, but a business manager may be a way to get your foot in the door.
Validate customer frustrations and identify needs
Confirming your customers’ frustrations shows them you understand their stress. Strike up a conversation by focusing on an acute issue a customer is experiencing. By doing this, you can address a potential solution more quickly than you could if you tried to capture the big picture first. This can result in the customer feeling a more immediate sense of confidence in your offerings.
As businesses evolve, it is critical to know your customers’ pain points. Ask your customers about their desired business results and identify their needs. Questions could include, “How do you currently back up and recover your information in case of disaster?” or “Is searching for a document easy and logistical?”
Educate the customer
Every customer is going to have a different definition of DMS. Start with the basics before diving into the specifics. Too much information upfront is going to be overwhelming and drive them away. The more customers understand about the benefits of DMS, the more likely they are to implement it into their business.
Try taking the approach of educating the customer by elaborating on what they already know. As an active listener, you can show customers you are truly interested in helping them advance their business. It is important to build a strong foundation of core knowledge before talking about features.
Show customers how your solution meets their needs
Go back to customers’ needs assessments to look at the issues the customers wanted to improve and explain how DMS can provide a solution to fit their needs and improve their environment. Focus on the features that are most important to their business problems. Present the benefits in a way that is easy for customers to understand. Simplifying the message will help customers imagine how these benefits would apply to their own work environment.
Customers want to know how they are going to directly benefit from DMS. Illustrate this for them by comparing their current environment with what it would look like if they implemented DMS.
As an expert in DMS, it is your responsibility to be customers’ guide and help them become knowledgeable about it. This will ultimately help drive out the fear of change.
Keep your customer involved and engaged
DMS offers another way for you keep the dialogue going between you and your customers. This will help you build credibility and increase the level of trust your customers have with you. The more you keep customers involved in the process, the more successful the implementation, as you will help them better understand how to maximize the potential of DMS within their own business.
One way to engage customers might be to hold frequent workshops where you provide ongoing education. Workshops offer customers a venue for asking questions and acquiring feedback. Events such as these also allow customers to network with peers and discuss similar frustrations and solutions.
The process of implementing DMS can take time, but the value is worth it. Customers are committed to their company; you need to show them you are too. These strategic areas of focus can help keep your approach simple and effective with customers.
Tawnya Stone is Director of Strategic Technology at GreatAmerica Financial Services Corp. (http://www.greatamerica.com). She is responsible for working with GreatAmerica vendors and dealers to find opportunities to improve their operational effectiveness. She is also instrumental in architecting the company’s technology integrations and other software solutions. GreatAmerica is a member of Technology United (http://www.technologyunited.com).
Tawnya Stone is Vice President, Enterprise Strategic Technology, at GreatAmerica Financial Services Corp.