Software user conferences always highlight new product offerings, but they don’t talk often about our channel in big-picture terms. The 2017 NCC Conference was different because the event, held March 29-April 1 in Daytona Beach, featured an executive panel discussion titled “Changing Times: How to Stay Relevant.” Moderated by RSPA (Retail Solutions Providers Association) President Kelly Funk, panelists included Mark Fraker of BlueStar, David Gosman of HP, Jim Stewart of Advanced Data Systems, and yours truly representing Vantiv.
To help you receive an “inside look” at the discussion, I took notes while on stage and captured information as our panel answered questions. Here we go:
What experiences have you had employing a diverse staff of mixed generations? What are some tips or key things to remember when employing and working with millennials?
- Don’t view millennials or any generation broadly. There are lazy millennials and hard-working millennials just like there are lazy baby boomers and hard-working boomers.
- Treat each employee as an individual no matter what their age. Understand they have a different perspective, but treat them like individuals.
- Hold a “reverse job fair” inside your organization that allows each employee to see and understand the jobs of their fellow co-workers. They will have more respect for the other person and their role, and you’ll see the lines between job functions disappear.
- Schedule social events outside the office so your team can learn what they have in common with each other. Without this, they could only see each other as being from different generations.
- Hire for DNA that fits your culture, not just for knowledge or skills.
Should every reseller market? Why is it important for resellers to engage in marketing?
- According to Vantiv’s POS Channel KPI Study, 65% of resellers were under a 5% growth rate in 2016, so it’s not like merchants are knocking down resellers’ doors to buy their products. You have to market in order to “lower the fruit” for your frontline salespeople.
- Reseller quote: “Underperforming resellers spend nearly all their resources on the ‘supply side’ of the business (e.g. deploying equipment). Growing resellers invest in the ‘demand side’ of the business. Ensure your marketing automation system is as meticulous as your installations.”
- Embrace the marketing services and programs offered by your vendor and distributor partners.
- Make sure information about your company and its offerings are clear and easy to understand. Ask 10 people who don’t know our industry to evaluate your website and marketing materials and let you know what’s not clear, what’s not appealing, what catches their attention, etc.
- Create short videos that clearly explain what you do.
- Buy and read the book “The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing.” (Shortcut: If you want to read my summary of the book’s best quotes and concepts, email me at Jim.Roddy@vantiv.com. Then you can buy the book to get the full story.)
- If you’re not first in your market, create a new category and then “market the living hell out of the fact that you’re number one in that category.” If you think you provide the best restaurant IT service in your local area or your niche market, say so. “The perception of power is power.”
- You may have the best product or service in the world, but if you don’t promote it, it will fall flat on its face.
What changes have occurred in the selling process over the past few years, and what actions should resellers take because of those changes?
- In the past, resellers sold only cash registers and had to compete against other cash register brands. Then all-in-one POS systems came along and made things a little more complex. Today you have cash registers, all-in-ones, tablets, mPOS, cloud, banks offering POS, integrated systems, non-integrated systems, ISOs, rental agreements, SaaS, and more. What you’re selling is far more complex than it’s ever been.
- Merchants want more analytics and they have higher expectations. They will call you out if you don’t understand what you’re talking about.
- Instead of just selling hardware, consider the POS as the hub and your role is to sell them the spokes they need.
- Sell yourself as a service company and be high-touch with your customers. Make sure your follow-up contacts with your merchants are informational and educational, not just promotional.
- Don’t only be reactive to merchant requests; use RMM (remote monitoring and management) tools to be proactive. Promise your merchant customers, “We will figure this out and give you what you need before you need me to come fix it.”
- The SaaS (Solutions-as-a-Service) model is growing in popularity because customers want the product and support immediately.
- The people in this room are no longer “product reps” or “dealers.” You need to become a Total Solutions Provider and a trusted advisor/consultant to your merchant customers. You have to get the technologies to work together.
The 2017 NCC Conference was held at the beautiful Shores Resort and Spa in Daytona Beach, FL, March 29-April 1. A provider of software solutions to the hospitality and retail industry, NCC was founded in 1986 and has been a longtime strategic partner of Vantiv Integrated Payments. For more information on NCC, visit www.nccusa.com.