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View from the channel

Chris Mooney, Sales Director, ABC, West Midlands branch

Q: What are your customers most interested in?

A: The four letter acronym we all love to hate – GDPR! It has certainly been one of the factors for the upturn in demand at ABC. The security of devices, the data passing through them as well as the eventual destination of that data has become a huge discussion point in businesses of all sizes. Being more than just a copier company, we’re well equipped to have educated discussions around these hot topics. It’s also been fundamental to our recent partnership with HP and our accreditation as a Develop, Ineo SECURE UK reseller. Security in all its guises has elevated the discussion beyond the copier. One in three of our hardware sales these days have some form of secure print management or document management bolted onto it, and it’s that which forms the key part of the sales, not the hardware.

Q: Do clients have the same understanding of industry terms, such as BYOD, MPS or MDS, as we do?

A: That varies across businesses based on their size and structure. I tend to find the larger the number of employees or active users, the greater the awareness amongst key decision-makers and stakeholders. MPS just happens to be the default term for a copier contract today, and it’s commonly understood amongst the IT teams, but as we know there are various flavours of MPS – so there is still always a lot of apprehension in terms of understanding what you get.

Q: Where are you seeing most traction at the moment, are there any verticals that are particularly strong?

A: It’s impossible to highlight one area and say it’s performing better than others. The security/GDPR discussion certainly seems to flag alarm bells in businesses that hold a lot of information about their clients. The legal and financial sectors for example, appear to have taken a step toward securing data and workflow to a greater extent than others. Most dedicated IT departments and CEOs are pushing their respective boundaries of knowledge to ensure they are taking precautions.

Q: When selling MFPs, what are the most popular software solutions you provide and why?

A: We tend to bolt on some print management solution (depending on the environment) to most MFDs that we deploy today. Papercut with its simplicity and versatility tends to work in most situations. It covers the security release angle and ‘follow me” requirement but it’s also cost-effective and well supported by our team. There are numerous document management solutions also being sold as part of our solution deployments. It’s a bigger field and it can vary in terms of the workflow requirement, but it’s refreshing to see many of the hardware OEMs are bundling simple solutions as part of the equipment today.

Q: Where do you get information on the latest products and solutions, and do you feel that the OEMs are doing enough to educate their channel partners?

A: There is a lot on offer from the OEMs, in terms of training and collaterals to help build the knowledge base. We also have a strong marketing team that drives out information to prospects and clients, updating them directly. As a sales team we’re pretty fortunate to have strong support so we’re always up to date and armed. It’s also handy that our business is more tech focused, so you tend to find that internal knowledge of IT is starting at a much higher level and we’re able to be a little more sophisticated in the offering.

Q: Is your patch particularly competitive – is it national or local competition that you face?

A: We do deployments nationally, but I operate out of Birmingham. There really isn’t much of a need to stray too far from our local office as there is lots of opportunity. Yes it is highly competitive but our guys in Manchester and Nottingham, tell us the same thing too. I work on building relationships, trust and knowledge. If you understand a business well enough and have dedicated the time to build the opportunity, you’ll always have a chance.

Q: How do you spend your week – time on phone, face to face meetings with customers etc.?

A: I prefer face to face meetings, although it’s typically a combination of both. I typically expect to be seeing a prospect or client circa 15 times a week – my meetings can start at 7am and end at 7pm, I will always try to ft in with the client’s schedule. I also make the most of my time when I’m stuck in traffic

I love my job and enjoy sales and building relationships, you have to be thick skinned at times and avoid dwelling on lost opportunities, but I find the more effort I put in, the more success and luck I have along the journey.

Q: What would make your job easier?

A: A time pause button. I’d like to be able to freeze time occasionally so I can get everything done. A helicopter to fly over the M6 would be nice too!

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