In doing research for a presentation I’m doing for a Copier Dealer Association's service manager’s meeting, I discovered a statistic that should make all of us pay attention: 36 is the average age of a network administrator according to a recent New York Times article. Yes, that’s the average age. That means there are many in their early thirties and late twenties.
What does this mean to your dealership? Even though the people sitting in the c-suite may be baby boomers coddling their 401K’s as they sail into retirement, the youngsters they have hired to manage their information technology are digital natives.
Even if these younger network administrators are not making the final decision related to print devices (and many of them are!) they are definitely influencers. Not playing the game by their rules could be costing you tens of thousands of dollars each month on lost sales. Based on this reality, here are a few implications for your dealership.
In sales we’ve always know that we have a very brief window of time to make a first impression. That’s why smart sales reps dress well and practice their elevator pitches. However, the same first impression goes for your online presence. If you have a website that looks out of date (meaning that your website is more than 2 or 3 years old) you’re immediately suspect. If your website doesn’t include helpful information and content the buyer will likely hit the back button and move on. If they visit from a mobile device and your site is hard to read on mobile, they are on to the next website. (However, if you’re website isn’t mobile friendly the chances of them seeing it are very slim since Google only serves up mobile-responsive sites when people search from their smartphones.)
According to Google, 93% of B2B tech buyers reference online search. During the sales process your prospects will Google your company, your sales rep, and/or the general products you sell. If you don’t come up in Google search, you don’t exist. Sales guru Keenan says it well: “Digital obscurity is a death sentence in today’s world.” You need to invest in Search Engine Optimization to get your dealership ranked in Google for key search terms.
When a network administrator hits your website they have one core question: do these guys know what they are doing. I call this the IT smell test. Whether or not your dealership is venturing into Managed Network Services, you need to look like you know what you’re doing when it comes to networking. This includes rich content and helpful information. It also includes simple things like including logos of your tech partners like Microsoft, Cisco, or Datto next to your printer and copier brand logos.
Great customer service is the key differentiator for every independent copier dealership. As we create marketing strategies for our current and future clients (Request an Inbound Marketing Assessment Here) we always hear about how the dealer has live people answering the phone and fast response times. That’s fantastic--if you like using the phone. The Millennial generation only uses the phone as a last resort. They much prefer to text. So, that great customer service you’ve been providing may not feel so great to a network administrator. You should consider investigating LiveChat for your website and mobile apps like EesyQ that allow customers to interact with your techs through a mobile app.
When dealer principles ask me about the benefits of social I explain that there are lots of sales and client communication benefits. However, when you boil it all down, the choice to get involved in social is based on one simple question: “Do you want to be seen as a technology leader in your marketplace?” If so, then you need to be communicating on the latest channels. When the network administrator hits your Twitter feed (yes, these people like Twitter) and sees the last update from two weeks ago (or six months ago) it hurts your credibility.
Look at your online presence through the eyes of a network administrator. As you internal IT person what they think about the website. Even better, ask some of your under 35 clients what they think.
You can no longer afford look at your web presence as something you upgrade every 5 years. If you haven’t updated your website in the last 24 months, it’s time for a refresh. Once the site is live, you need to allocate monthly budget to make sure your website is ranked in Google, up-to-date with relevant information, and integrated with social. Since this requires multiple disciplines, a Managed Marketing Services partner like Convergo Marketing with experience in the channel is a great way to execute a consistent online strategy that will build credibility with younger network administrators.
Article by Darrell Amy