Unified commitment to provide
services to lower customer costs
24 Mar’13 (Complete)
The top class presenters at the 9th BREAKTHROUGH marketing conference delivered excellent guidance on Unified Communications, M-Commerce and managed services. A new 'direction to perfection' in driving a 'personal productivity services' future.
Proficiency Group organised on inspirational conference that provided expert guidance on the 'direction to perfection' in the Post-OP era. Sadly, there was a low turn-out of OP resellers who seemed to be “too busy” selling supplies to buyers, at a time when the user-market is demanding personal productivity tools and services.
We made special efforts to attract previously frequent delegates, but failed to increase the numbers in the last week. The irony was the highly relevant content, the 6 Pack action plan we feel set out an ideal plan for OP dealers to transform themselves for the paperless future. The benefit of a smaller audience was the opportunity to add a Q&A session after each presentation.
This full report covers the huge new opportunities in M-Commerce, Unified Communications, managed services, and the 6 pack in personal productivity services.
The Sting (play below)
This year we chose The Killers, ‘All these things I have done’ as our anthemic intro with relevant lyrics as follows…when there’s nowhere else to run…if you can hold on…hold on…I wanna stand up…I wanna let go…I wanna shine on…another headache…another heartache….I need direction to perfection…help me out…you get help me out. This proved an ideal teaser for the agenda that was designed to help resellers on their journey…a direction to perfection!
Peter Frost - Proficiency Group
Mobilize your paperless future.
How to M-Power the new
Personal Productivity Services agenda
Frost opened by stressing the need to adopt the subject line literally in terms of action and investment in transforming from a high cost supplier providing products that increase costs for business customers to a provider of personal productivity (PPS) services
Frost ran through his annual review of Megatrends and the state of the UK marketplace. He emphasized the decline of the OP market down 10% over the past 2 years and in long term secular decline. Meanwhile, dealers seemed to be blaming the economy when the main cause was the decline in paper, ink and filing supplies and shift towards tablet technology since 2010. Frost identified the growing opportunities in refreshments, hygiene, security and ergonomic services as areas of new focus.
The Office Depot take over of OfficeMax provides added urgency for dealers to prepare for a more competitive future. A future that demands you can sell successfully to the CFO…an area that Amazon doesn’t go.
He stressed that 2012 was the tipping point for most OP dealers. A reality check that printer paper, ink and stationery may be in terminal decline. The launch of the iPad in 2010 and the huge growth in smart-phones for business users to 'browse and buy' via mobile webstores has accelerated changes.
Lucy, the typical user-chooser is now the most powerful business buyer. Lucy wants personal productivity tools and accessories. She wants headsets, extra screen monitors, smartphone accessories, 'spinner' mobile office cases, espresso coffee brewers, tech-cleaning kits etc.
Lucy doesn't know her local office supplier. She prefers the personalised service of Amazon, Staples or Costco. OP dealers need to exploit their local service advantage and work with their stationery buyer contact to reach Lucy.
There is an urgent need to protect what business you have otherwise the phantom stealth weapon Amazon & Co will eat your lunch! Frost covered the growth of Amazon, now #1 ahead of Depot/Viking in UK business supply with $1Bn in business supplies.
Frost presented a 6 pack practical marketing action plan for you to counterattack the Amazon, Staples, Depot/Max and the massmarketers. This will include selling technology, refreshments, hygiene systems, ergonomic workspaces; security and sustainability systems.
Frost covered progressive resellers' recent success stories who are: selling to the CFO; building CRM user database; promoting personalised emarketing campaigns; have open webstores at market prices; and who benchmark progress against best practices e.g. Weeks Lerman, Innovative, Garveys, Complete and Shoplet.
Success in selling in single source systems, managed print services (MPS), facilities and refreshment supplies all involve selling via the CFO. Peter showed delegates how and listed the 6 Pack action plan to focus on: technology, refreshments, hygiene, ergonomics, security and sustainability services.
Robert Stockford – Jabra
Unified Communications for personal productivity
and enabling mobile collaboration
Robert enlightened delegates on the burgeoning wireless Unified Communications (UC) marketplace and showed how OPS resellers are well positioned to adapt and sell in these mobile collaboration systems.
He discussed the rapid growth of mobility marketplace and what resellers to do to adapt and invest in a specialist salesperson that can sell to the C-level e.g. CFO and CTO.
Catherine Burke – Banner Managed Communications
Catherine gave a very polished and insightful presentation on how BMC has driven the creative and productivity services for its growing list of major clients that have complemented the parent company’s core contract business.
Catherine guided delegates through the managed services strategy that has been instrumental in driving office2office’s largely contract stationery supply dependence to less than 65% of its sales mix
Catherine is responsible for delivering strategic value and innovative outsourced communication solutions for a diverse range of blue-chip clients such as Carphone Warehouse, JD Wetherspoon and Friends Life.
BMC Services cover creative and production services, document and print management, digital and direct marketing through to logistics. All solutions were designed to deliver sustainable cost savings, process optimisation, technology, transparency and brand management.
Under Catherine’s leadership, the business has enjoyed a consistently strong performance in terms of both turnover and profitability reaching £80m in 2012 up 14% on 2011.
Alex Tatham- Westcoast,
Delivering technology support that drives productivity
Alex gave a highly entertaining, informative and critical view of the declining state of the OP industry. He believed that wholesalers, distributors and dealers were adding costs to businesses with paper and ink, for example, at a time when they should be focused on ‘ripping costs out’ of processes and introducing productivity tools and services.
Alex, sales and marketing chief of Westcoast, the UK's leading technology wholesaler. Westcoast has added a range of OP products to its portfolio and guided delegates on how they can build s single source strategy based on its comprehensive product and services support
Westcoast is one of the UK's largest IT wholesalers supplying retail, VARs, e-tail, OP dealers with HP, Apple, Samsung, Toshiba, Sennheiser and Microsoft as strategic vendors. It is also the largest UK distributor of IT Supplies and spare parts. Westcoast’s parent company sales were £1.2Bn in 2012 inc. Westcoast £1.0Bn and XMA £200m, both up 20% on 2011.
Alex WOW’d the conference in 2011 and again here with an even more ebullient tour de force.
Simon Wallis - Spicers
Your integrated marketing solution
Simon has just launched Spicers’s new “Brilliant Partner” marketing programme, which succeeded Synergy, that he felt had attracted some negative baggage in recent years. Simon gave a clear and precise introduction to the progress he has made and his immediate plans.
Simon led Synergy, Spicers original sales and marketing programme for progressive resellers in 1995 under Bill Armstrong’s regime. He moved to competitor ISA and then VOW after some unsettling management changes and is now back home to refresh and revitalise Spicers integrated marketing plans.
The Brilliant Partner programme has strong foundations, having been in existence in different forms since the launch of Synergy in 1993 and is built upon the core values of reducing operating costs and duplication, recognising and rewarding commitment, delivering exclusive marketing, creating services that help partners grow.
Wallis, Spicers Business Development Director told us, “The exciting part is that we are hitting the ground running. I recently presented a range of initiatives at a forum attended by a representative group of Partners and there are at least 8 projects that are in progress and will be delivered to participating resellers over the coming months. The critical part of any new programme is to secure credibility and confidence and this is only achieved by delivering tangible benefits. Importantly, we have a plan in place to do just this and our intention is that there will be something for everyone.”
Wallis recruited Julian Church and James Johnstone as Systems and Marketing Business Development Managers respectively in January. Wallis adds, “We have invested in a team dedicated to the programme with specialist knowledge who understand the threats and opportunities that resellers face. We are working with a handful of partners on proactive business development plans and this is creating initiatives that will create further substance from which other partners will benefit in due course”.
Adam Stockwell - ECi
Your emarketing future from OP's #1 software provider
Adam gave an entertaining and informative account of the threats endangering the future of the independent resellers. He urged them to adopt the tools available from the software houses to match the online threat of Amazon and to add services like FM Audit MPS software; and deploy CRM tools like Acsellerate
Adam has just joined ECi Software Solutions, the global leader in OPS IT solutions as MD of its European division. Adam takes CEO Ron Books place and will bring his fresh perspective on the challenges resellers and ECi to effect CRM systems, mobile user-friendly ecommerce solutions and MPS software that enables them to compete with Amazon and Staples
Stockwell brings more than 26 years of Sales Management and Business Development experience to ECi Europe. He has experience developing strategic partnerships and building new business. He also has vast software and consulting experience, having served in senior positions at enterprise software and services companies supporting numerous industry verticals.
In his most recent role, Stockwell worked at Staples Europe where he was European Director for their Managed Print Services (MPS) and was responsible for developing Staples' strategic plan to enter the European MPS market. He was also a key member of the Staples Global Strategy team for MPS and helped define the overall strategy for Staples’ MPS business.
In the Q&A session that followed, Frost asked Adam on behalf of the UK dealers when could they expect to receive a true Customer Relationship Management tool to build a user database and effect emarketing promotions from the rep based on more intelligent gap analysis; when would its webstore solution be upgraded in user friendliness and be optimized for mobile users. Adam was aware of the needs and would be addressing these priorities.
Concluding comments shortly