Bridging the divide between technology and solutions
I’m new to blogging, and when I was asked to write a short blog post in 500 words or less that would describe how we work effectively with our partners, I thought it would be an impossible task. And it was!
You see, condensing over 20 years of knowledge and experience into a few hundred words just wasn't possible. There’s a wealth of information available on the Internet (I’m a big fan of the work of the York Group and many of their white papers are worth a read), but fundamentally, I knew I had to distil this blog down to cover these three key partner requirements:
In my previous blog posts, I've spoken about the importance of repeatability for channel partners and how the most successful suppliers align their products and services such that they complement and enhance the core business of their partners without distracting them from it. So it’s time to focus on what makes a supplier’s product “easy” to sell.
The answer lies in the cost of engagement and cost of sale. To look at the cost of sale, it’s important to define what we mean by “selling”. Selling, defines a process that begins by making potential prospects in your target market aware that they must act on a problem or pain that they are experiencing. It ends when your customer has successfully implemented a solution to this problem and is realizing the benefits of having done so. In other words, it’s not quite as simple as asking “do you want fries with that?”, but I never said it was, did I?
When is a document not a document?
So as a manufacturer of software, we strive to use technology to solve a business problem that our customers or target market are experiencing. For Equisys, these problems are always related to documents, whether that’s the capture of documents that come into the organization, using software to deliver documents to other organizations, or enabling users to share documents on screen with others to seek approval of the document.
But customers tend not to wake up in the morning and decide they want to invest in “document management software”. What may keep them awake at night are issues in the supply chain caused by late payment of invoices, or losing business to the competition because they weren’t quick enough to respond to a customer query. And this is when they tend to turn to their partner for advice or assistance.
So our IT partners excel at bridging the divide between a customer problem and technology. But suppliers must too. At Equisys, we believe it’s important to engage with customers using their language, not techno-speak. Partners, on the other hand may be happy to consume more technical information to understand what’s possible using our software. For these reasons, we feel it’s important not to talk about what’s possible using our “software”, and instead talk in terms that explain how it solves customer problems. This means that we can support partners by engaging direct with their customers – helping them fulfill demand with both minimal effort and the highest satisfaction levels.
And we do this at each step of the way during the sales process.
So, if account managers need help generating an accurate quote, there’s a tool for that. If you want to offer your customers a personalized demo direct from the supplier, no problem. If you don’t have the spare capacity to implement our solution, give us a call.
Finding the gold within
One of our UK partners, Acora, routinely supplies Zetadocs to many of their customers. In a recent meeting Acora’s MD, Paul Faulkner, explained to me that some of the tools we deliver to help implementation are like “gold” to them, because they keep the process on the straight and narrow path to realizing business value with minimal risk. By the way, if you want to see a video of Paul, along with some of our other partners and Microsoft talking about their experiences of working with Equisys, check out our Directions EMEA 2013 video.
The power of choice
But it doesn’t stop there. During 2012, Zetadocs was updated to support NAV 2013, SharePoint 2013, along with updates to Office 365, Windows 8, Windows Server 2012 and the 64-bit editions of Outlook – all within 90 days of Microsoft’s general availability date. And to follow on from this, at Directions EMEA we announced that Zetadocs Express will support NAV 2013 R2 and NAV on Azure within 90 days of release too.
But why is this important? We understand that each customer is different, and that it’s important for partners to cater for each customer’s needs in order to achieve repeatability. NAV in the Cloud or on premise? Of course. Windows 8 desktop, virtualised or Terminal Services environment? We support it.
Life should be easy as a partner and a customer of Equisys. And that’s because, as an ISV, we feel it’s important to invest lots of time and energy to help with the heavy lifting.